The sun burned through the morning sky and brilliantly lit up the different shades of dewy greens on the course for the first round of golf at The Player’s Sawgrass. I took a deep breath in and thought to myself, “I love the smell of freshly cut grass in the morning. It smells like… GOLF!”
Since this would be my first venture to The Players Championship, or any PGA Tournament for that matter, I decided to follow another first timer to the TPC. There was a lengthy list of first-time players to the tournament, but one notable contender.
Tyler McCumber was born in Ponte Vedra Beach and grew up in Jacksonville. He recently moved to Colorado, but I would consider him to be one of the most “local” out of the list of TPC first timers. He considers himself a Jags fan so that must count for something, right?
Although this was his first time at The Players, he has played and won the PGA Tour Latinoamérica three times and won the Florida Open in 2013. This year, McCumber is attempting to follow in his father’s footsteps. His dad, Mark McCumber, won the TPC 33 years ago in 1988. Of course, this should give him some advantage with the course.
He doesn’t seem to fit the typical golf player narrative. With hobbies that include surfing, BMX trail riding and skydiving, it is safe to assume McCumber is an avid adrenaline junky. He was also rocking a mohawk and lengthy beard up until last year. Rad!
As for his first round, he bogeyed at the 11th, but had an impressive hit off the tee on the 17th hole turning a short putt into a birdie. After landing another birdie at the 5th hole, he was 1 under par and seemed to be getting some momentum. People were beginning to gather around and follow him. One could hear whispers in the crowd about his father’s legacy and “he’s still kinda a local.” McCumber would lose his stride though at the 8th hole and bogeyed the par 3. His hit off the tee went right into the beach. He managed to recover on the 9th hole with another birdie and ended the day’s round with an even par.
Even though I did get around to checking out some of the more prominent players during this round, I was more excited to watch this McCumber character play his first round for the first time at The Players. He has the chance to inherit his father’s legacy.