That strange, anonymous blob you saw lurking at the base of the Players Championship digital leaderboard this morning should have carried the name of Sea Island native Brian Harman.
The left-hander gained late, late entry to the field as first alternate, taking the place of last week’s forgotten man, D.A. Points, but his transition from practice ground mainstay to competitor would prove circuitous, to say the least.
Indeed, Points only confirmed his withdrawal on the first tee, having watched Carl Petterssen send a tee shot arcing into the left rough.
Harman had been on site for over an hour, but had, moments before Points’ official withdrawal, retreated to darkest recesses of the caddy tent for a game of ping-pong. Unwilling to throw the timesheet into disarray, officials curtailed their search after a brief perusal of the range.
The 25-year-old had missed his opportunity; he was out.
Minutes later, however, he was back in. Allow a carefully-worded PGA Tour statement to clarify matters:
“Alternates are asked to be on-site, inform the Committee of where they will be, and keep their mobile phone on so they can be contacted. Once a withdrawl occurs, the Rules Committee assesses the timing of the situation and determines whether it is reasonable for the player to make it to the tee for the original time, or if a new starting time should be assigned.”
Mark Russell (Yes, that Mark Russell. Atoning for the sins of last week, perhaps?), director of rules and competition, concluded that Harman “did nothing wrong” and assigned him a tee-time in the five-minute window preceding the afternoon draw.
Playing on his own – imagine the frustration! – Harman would negotiate Sawgrass in a relatively respectable 73 strokes.