PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLA. (AP) - One spectator wore fake deer antlers. Another yelled about eating venison. And a group of guys shouted, “Stay off the spray, Vijay.”
Hecklers were few and far between at TPC Sawgrass _ possibly because it was a well-behaved golf crowd, possibly because it was Singh’s home course and possibly because few care enough to make a public outcry.
“He doesn’t deserve that,” playing partner Robert Garrigus said. “I don’t know how many majors he’s won. I don’t know how many tournaments he’s won. He’s won a lot of money out here. He deserves our respect as players even if he’s suing the PGA Tour or not. It’s a delicate situation right now. Unfortunately, it had to happen. But it is what it is. …
“I only heard a couple of idiots out there today. They were getting a little saucy. There were a couple of guys being stupid, but other than that, it was fine.”
The lawsuit and its timing raised eyebrows. The Players Championship is the tour’s flagship event and is played on the course Singh has honed his game on for the past decade.
But there was little reaction from the Stadium Course gallery. 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.”
Garrigus noticed the antlers and sarcastically called them “pretty special.” Nonetheless, he couldn’t avoid joking about the lawsuit.
“I kind of made fun of it today on the first tee just to loosen things up a little bit, which I do very well,” Garrigus said. “I was like, `Well, you’re in the spotlight right now, aren’t you big guy?’ He’s like, `Yeah, for the wrong reasons.’ It was fun.”
They laughed, and Garrigus let it go for the rest of the round.
“I didn’t get into it,” he said. “I don’t know the details; I don’t know what he’s suing for and all that stuff. He’s obviously earned the respect until everything goes through. That’s what I’m saying about that.”
Singh even played the famed and often raucous island-green at No. 17 without much fanfare. There was a “you (stink)” comment on the 18th, followed a few minutes later by someone shouting, “We got your back, Vijay.”