PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Hello, friends, and happy Saturday night from the hottest spot in town (the media center at TPC Sawgrass)! The only thing keeping me from saying I’m super excited for the final round of the Players is the fact that we lose an hour of sleep tonight. Aside from that, morale is high. I ran into some friends at the course today, had a delicious iced latte and used science (read: Scheffler’s vest-wearing pattern) to predict a solid round from the World No. 2 on Saturday.
My first observation at TPC Sawgrass today was just how many players have their families on the road with them this week. I’ve seen wives and kids in the crowd as well as hanging out by the scoring tent. The Finaus, Baddeleys, Days and Todds were just a few of the families I saw bouncing around the course and clubhouse today. I haven’t seen this many Tour children on the course since December when I attended the PNC Championship in Orlando, where each pro teed it up with their kid (or parent).
I’d like to take a moment to celebrate Tom Hoge. And not because he broke the course record after booking a flight home from TPC Sawgrass.
I’m sure firing a 62 at TPC Sawgrass will impress some of my readers, but what I really care about is the fact that Hoge stood up for what really matters this week: the player-dining situation.
Too healthy! I can relate. I headed into the media center earlier this week desperate for a snack. I was in the mood for some chips or a baked good, but all I was met with were salads and raw vegetables. The letdown I felt was that of someone who missed a putt to win a golf tournament. So, Tom Hoge, thank you for doing exactly what Proverbs 31:8 called you to do: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” As someone whose voice may not be heard on this front, your words mean more than you know.
Step aside, Nelly and Jessica Korda! Totally kidding. There’s room for lots of cool golf-sibling duos out here, so I’m happy to highlight the Lee siblings today.
Not only is Minjee a two-time major champion, but the Lee siblings are both in the top 50 in the world. I’m not sure what was in the water in the Lee’s childhood home, but it pumped out two total stars.
Talk about talent. All my siblings and I do is Tweet about golf, make fun of each other and bicker over the television remote.
James Hahn in the crowd
I was walking around the course today looking at the action inside the ropes when in reality, I was missing out on some of the action outside of the ropes. As I approached the 16th green, I took a seat by a bunker and looked behind me. And right there was noted PGA-Tour stan James Hahn!
At first, I thought it might’ve been a James Hahn doppelgänger, but a quick Instagram cross-reference allowed me to match Hahn’s sponsors with the sponsors on the spectator’s shirt (shout out to Michelob Ultra and E-Z-GO vehicles for helping me figure this out). Seeing pros watch the golf out on the course after missing the cut is truly one of my favorite parts of the sport. They’re fans of the game just like the rest of us! Also, it was an absolutely perfect afternoon in Ponte Vedra, so I can’t think of a day better spent than out at TPC Sawgrass, playing or not.
Scottie Scheffler’s coffee routine
I am truly the last person who should be judging the coffee routines of others, but for the sake of the Rogers Report, I’ll do it. My coffee origin story began in March 2020 when I was living at home during the pandemic and found myself in need of a new vice. I was working from my childhood attic, getting outside to walk around a cold and gloomy East Providence, Rhode Island for maybe 40 minutes a day and sleeping on an air mattress in my sister’s room. Times were tough, folks. I have acid reflux and asthma, so anything including alcohol or smoking was pretty out of the question. I landed on coffee instead.
Have you ever tried to wean yourself on to coffee? It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I started with, like, a quarter of a cup, and would only increase my dosage once the god-awful side effects including the shakes and a racing heart subsided. It took until July, but I’ve been a proud iced coffee gal ever since! Anyway, Scottie Scheffler is a coffee drinker, but only when he’s at home in Texas. Very interesting!
I guess he just must not be dependent on it? Otherwise, he’d have a headache by the 12th hole every time he teed it up. I can’t help but wonder if this will change as he enters his late 20s or has kids. I personally drink it for the taste, and I look forward to having it as a little treat every morning! I guess he’s able to look forward to winning on the PGA Tour, so he doesn’t need coffee as the sole motivator for getting out of bed each morning like some of us do.
JT’s interesting autograph session
There’s nothing I adore more during a golf tournament than hanging out by the clubhouse. Ninety-nine percent of the action happens out on the course, but if you stick around by where the players and caddies chat post-round, you’re sure to see some good stuff. Exhibit A: Justin Thomas signing a fan’s forehead. Had I been out following the final group, I would’ve missed this spectacular moment.
Not only did JT sign this fan’s forehead, but he also signed another kid’s forehead and drew a mustache on him. All in Sharpie! I’m sure his parents were thrilled. If I were him, I’m trying to keep it on until school on Monday. As excited as the fans were, I think JT’s father, Mike, got more of a kick out of it than anyone else. He took photos of the whole thing.
Aaron Rai’s ace
Aaron Rai’s cool factor has increased exponentially over the last year and a half. People (read: myself) were quick to judge when they learned he keeps headcovers on his irons, but his reasoning behind it was perfect.
In September 2021, Rai explained that he “grew up in very much a working-class family, and golf has always been a very expensive game. I started from the age of 4 years old, and my dad used to pay for the equipment, pay for my memberships, my entry fees. And it wasn’t money that we really had, to be honest, but he’d always buy me the best clubs … I’ve pretty much had iron covers on all of my sets ever since just to appreciate the value of what I have.”
How respectful is that? And then Rai followed Tiger’s pro-am group at Riviera last month just to get a chance to see him play close-up. This all leads us up to today, when Rai made an ace on No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass!
Justin Thomas wasn’t the only one with some interesting autograph requests today. Rai ended up signing a Croc for a fan.