A half-dozen of the 144 players competing in The Players this week are playing in their own backyard.
Pro golfers on tour are only home about 15 weeks a year. So does playing the Stadium Course at Sawgrass may give them a home-course advantage?
Ryan Blaum lived in Jacksonville Beach before moving to Ponte Vedra in December. During Thursday’s first round, he had plenty of friends and family on the course, cheering him on.
“Had a good crew out here following me today. A lot of support from local friends,” Blaum said. “Had the jitters a little bit longer than expected to, but I stayed calm and kind of got them on the course today.”
A friend of Blaum’s, McCarthy Crenshaw, was among those in the crowd cheering him on.
“It’s just a lot of fun. For him to be able to do this in his hometown, what a blessing,” Crenshaw said. “A lot of pressure, but he handles it with ease.”
PGA golfers who live on the First Coast
Blaum’s wife, Ashley, said it’s been a crazy week, hosting friends and family.”I’m doing loads of laundry of towels and sheets,” she said. “It’s fine. It’s crazy.”
Aside from the craziness, she said it’s exciting to show everyone what Northeast Florida has to offer.
“We feel like we are planting some roots here, so it has been great to have everybody in town, and everybody says they love the beach and they love the food,” Ashley Blaum said. “We are, like, ‘Yes, great,’ because we want to show it off. We love it here.”
If you want to cheer on Blaum, he tees off from No. 10 at 12:57 p.m. Friday.