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Overhanging Oak on Stadium Course’s 6th Hole Removed - Tree that affected tee shots since TPC Sawgrass opened succumbs to age, disease

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (October 30, 2014) – One of the more strategic trees on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is no longer in play.

The overhanging Live Oak to the right of the No. 6 tee box, which has impacted tee shots over the years, recently developed a large crack in its trunk due to old age and disease and became a safety concern due to the weight of its overhanging limb, thus necessitating removal of the tree today.

“The Live Oak on the sixth hole was one of the more recognizable trees on the golf course and influenced the tee shots of amateurs and professionals alike from the time the golf course opened in October of 1980,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “Unfortunately, over time it became more fragile and susceptible to disease. Just recently, a significant fissure developed in its trunk, making it a safety concern. There simply was no way to save it, as much as we would have liked to.”

When golf course architect Pete Dye originally designed the Stadium Course, he used the Live Oak as a focal point of playing the tee shot on No. 6. While it was rarely hit during competitive rounds of THE PLAYERS (Ernie Els did during the opening round in 2010, leading to a double-bogey), the tree certainly influenced the trajectory of the tee shot. And more than a few professionals hit it during practice rounds, particularly after the tournament tees were moved further back from the original design.

Due to the severity of its overhang, the tree wasn’t exactly beloved by PGA TOUR players who participated in THE PLAYERS Championship after it moved to TPC Sawgrass in 1982. In fact, over the past two decades, two-time champion Davis Love III’s standing question to Finchem upon his arrival for THE PLAYERS has been: “Has the tree on No. 6 been removed yet?”

“It’s been one of the major topics of discussion during practice rounds,” Love explained. “I’ve always said something to Tim about it: ‘You know you moved the tee back so it [the tree] actually plays lower than before.’ It’s a scary shot. You play with a high ball hitter and wonder how he’s going to get under it. It was border line whether it was fair for guys who launch it high. You don’t want someone hitting a trick shot off the tee.

“The hole does play better from further back,” he added. “But that was one tree I’m sure many players will not be sorry to see go.”

Love and many of his fellow professionals finally have gotten their wish. Now, all that will remain of the oak are commemorative pieces that will be crafted from its trunk and displayed at TPC Sawgrass, serving as a reminder of its longstanding reputation among golfers.

Source: PGA TOUR

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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