Aside from The Players not having Tiger Woods who is winding down his career other top players like Jon Rahm and Bruce Koepka were also not there. This was the 50th iteration of the championship, the fourth year after the move to March from May and the 1982 move to the TPC Stadium Course home of the iconic 17th par-3 island green settled its significance in the minds of fans. However, since LIV Golf dropped a bomb in the form of immense signing bonuses to lure the likes of Rahm and Koepka The Players does not have the player-power it formerly had. Since the best worldwide aren’t there The Players is out of the running to be considered a major championship and some think of it as simply an early season version of the Tour Championship.

Scottie Scheffler, the back-to-back Players champion, right now is the premier ball striker in golf. Though his swing, also known as the Scheffler Shuffle, at times looks like he is stomping snakes, and he ditched his Logan Olson blade for a TaylorMade Spider Tour X, his secret may be something different. It has been reported the world’s number one golfer often uses a practice club with molded trainer grip (two for $16 on Amazon) rather than a regular round grip. Yep, just like the ones put on newbie’s clubs. If true, all the Internet-linked coaching and expensive visits to Las Vegas to commune with Butch Harmon may be things of the past. To hit it like Scottie, touring pros just need to practice with a grip-minder grip.

The National Golf Foundation reports there were the fewest number of golf course closings in 2023 for 19 years. As measured in 18-hole-equivalents, 89.8 courses were “repurposed” or approximately 0.5% of the 15, 961 total in the U.S. Closings outdistance openings for the 17th consecutive year, but they said the pace is slowing. On a positive note, 23.1 18HEQ opened, the most since 2020, and rounds played hit the 528 million mark, up 3% from 2022 and 20% since 2019.

Photo: Caddie Hall of

Twenty-five years ago Mike Keiser opened a links-style course on the remote Pacific coast 250 miles from Portland in the town of Bandon and financed it himself knowing that no bank would ever loan him the money. Bandon Dunes did more than twice the projected rounds in its first year and has never looked back. Keiser has moved forward as well with four more courses at Bandon plus Cabot Links in Nova Scotia, Sand Valley in Wisconsin, and the Dunes Club in Michigan. The Richardson Award is presented annually by the Golf Writers Association of America “to recognize an individual who has consistently made an outstanding contribution to golf.” Past winners include Bing Crosby, Bob Jones, Walter Hagen, Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, Kathy Whitworth, Peggy Kirk Bell, Nancy Lopez, Karsten Solheim, Dottie Pepper and Tim Finchem.

According to the PGA Tour, last week TPC Sawgrass was blessed with 129 cameras to cover the action: 67 for NBC, 58 for PGA TOUR LIVE and four specialty cameras. I could make a snarky comment that it’s all the better to show more advertising, but I won’t.

Ed Travis

Ed is a national award-winning golf journalist and has carried on a lifelong love affair with the game. His work covering the business of golf, equipment, golf personalities and travel is prominently featured in numerous print and electronic publications. He has competed in tournament golf both as an amateur and senior professional and though his competitive days are behind him, Ed still plays regularly and carries a handicap of 4. He lives on a water hazard in suburban Orlando. His email address is