It felt like just another tournament when the starter introduced him as … the 2004 Players champion.
This is nothing new for The Players Championship, which treats every player equally unless they are a past champion of the event.
“The biggest disappointment of the day was the announcement on the first tee,” Scott said with a grin, “because he didn’t introduce me as the Masters champion.”
Scott was kidding, though the omission did not go unnoticed by the guys who played with him.
“As soon as he hit and he came back, I was like, ‘That was a little disappointing. I was kind of looking forward to you being announced as Masters champion,’” Steve Stricker said. “And he said, ‘That’s going to be the most disappointing thing all week.’ So yeah, I was surprised they didn’t announce him as that. He had a little chuckle out of it, too.”
REACTION TO SINGH: Aside from a spectator wearing fake deer antlers, there was little public reaction at The Players Championship to the lawsuit Vijay Singh filed against the PGA Tour.
Singh sued the governing body Wednesday for exposing him to “public humiliation and ridicule” during a 12-week investigation into his use of deer antler spray. The tour dropped its case last week.
The lawsuit and its timing raised eyebrows. The Players Championship is the Tour’s flagship event and is played on Singh’s home course.
But there was almost no reaction from the gallery while Singh played the opening round at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday. The most noticeable response came at the first tee, where Jacksonville resident Jim Kavanagh wore those felt antlers.
“He won’t talk to the press, so I thought maybe I could get a reaction out of him,” Kavanagh told reporters. “He shouldn’t be suing the PGA Tour. He should be suing WADA.”
A few holes later, a woman shouted, “We don’t care what the PGA Tour says. We support Vijay” as the golfer passed.
LOVE RETURNS: Davis Love III played for the first time since surgery on his neck in February and opened with 70.
“It was a weird feeling,” said Love, a two-time winner at Sawgrass. “I was trying not to be excited, but I was excited and nervous, and it was a good day.”
He had not played since withdrawing from the Phoenix Open after the first round.
Love said he could have played the last few weeks at Hilton Head or Quail Hollow, but not at full strength, so he wasn’t expecting any problems.
“I feel like this is a good day for me to get the nerves out of the way and just play. Maybe from here on out, it will be a little bit normal golf.”
Love wasn’t worried about his health, though he could have done without his start. He kept putting himself in spots where he had to dig the ball out of the rough, though he felt good after the shots and felt as though his strength had returned.