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Mother Nature

Players 2022: The weather forecast at TPC Sawgrass this week looks ... rough

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Ben Jared

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Outside of a swift, tournament-altering rainfall on Sunday at the Honda Classic, the PGA Tour has been on an epic tear in 2022 of near-perfect weather. That run of sun might come to an unfortunate end this week at the tour's flagship event.

Of course, weather forecasts, particularly in Florida, can be fickle. Thunderstorms roll in and out of the Sunshine State rather frequently, but since moving to March, the Players Championship has been able to avoid iffy weather, save for one chilly Sunday in 2019.

It could be unavoidable this week, though. On Wednesday afternoon, a few waves of rain passed through with 15 mph winds. Come nightfall, steady showers settled in.

As for when actual play gets underway, it only looks worse each day.

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Per weather.com, Thursday's opening round will almost certainly feature more thunderstorms, which will include electricity. There is an 84 percent chance of rain in the morning and winds will reach 10 to 15 mph. Friday is an almost identical forecast, if not worse:

UPDATE, THURSDAY, 5:50 a.m—Sure enough, predicted rains have caused the PGA Tour to delay tee times by one hour and announce that preferred lies will be in effect for the first round. The one-hour delay is likely optimistic as rain continues to fall Thursday morning in the Ponte Vedra Beach area.

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Not to go full Debbie Downer, but it gets even uglier Saturday, which is always one of the best fan days each year at the Players. Folks planning on coming out might want to bring a rain jacket, an umbrella, and possibly a poncho:

The rain will finally subside on Sunday, but it's going to feel a lot more like the Northeast at this time of year than the Southeast. The high is 53 degrees. So much for flying South for the winter.

Again, things could change quickly, but the outlook doesn't look great. Defending champion Justin Thomas is taking an expect-the-worst, pray-for-the-best approach.

"Last year was probably the closest that we'll ever play it to the May-type conditions," Thomas said Tuesday. "I obviously had success last year, but I personally like the golf course a lot more in May than I do in March. You run into this potential of the weather that it looks like we might have this week, but hopefully we'll get lucky."

If the forecast does hold up, things could get very dicey down the stretch, or so Thomas has heard.

"I've heard horror stories from Tiger and Freddy and some guys about having to hit 5- or 6-iron into 17 on those cold north wind days, and I haven't experienced that. I'm not saying that I would like to, I'm just saying that I haven't experienced it.

"I mean, when you get wind and cold temperatures like that, it's just a different animal, and it's really just a survival-type thing."

It's been a huge Florida swing for fans of carnage. This week, Mother Nature is planning to provide the most carnage-filled weekend of the 2022 golf season to date.