Upon further review, Harman gets into TPC

May, 10, 2012
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- At about 8:50 a.m. ET on Thursday, Brian Harman was in a heated game of pingpong with his caddie, John Davenport, in the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse, when he got a call from PGA Tour officials that he had missed the 8:39 a.m. tee time.

Harman, a 25-year-old rookie and the first alternate to get into the Players Championship field, had been at the course since 7 a.m., hoping that someone might pull out. He got his wish when D.A. Points withdrew, citing a back injury.

But the tour officials didn't reach the Savannah native in time for him to make it to the first tee. By the time he got the word at 8:50 that he was in the field, Points group was down the first fairway.

"I was here and officials knew I was here," Harman said. "I've been an alternate a few times before and they usually call you or text you with the tee time. Something like this has probably never happened."

After reviewing the case, the tour gave Harman a spot in the field. He went off as a single at 12:20 pm.

"It's a very unusual situation," said Mark Russell, the tour's head rules official. "In my 31 years I have never seen a player withdraw on the first tee. It happened very quickly. We didn't have time to react. Brian had done everything that we asked him to do."

Points, who was to be the second player in his group to hit, didn't pull out until it was his turn to play. Greg Owen, who was the second alternate at the start of the day, now moves up to the first alternate spot.

It had been a tense couple of hours for Harman, who had planned to wait for a decision on the practice putting area working on 6-foot putts.

Now the very fast left-hander and former Walker Cup player will have to pace himself for the next two days playing alone.

"If he gets too fast, I'll yank him by the shirt," Davenport said playfully.

Harman is just thankful to be playing.

"I wasn't worried about it too much," he said. "I'm just glad the tour did the right thing."

Harman shot a 1-over 73 on Thursday. The tour had offered him a playing marker, but he opted to go solo. He said that he and his caddie had fun time, despite his score.

"I can't be mad with how I played," he said. "I was an alternate. I was just glad to have a chance to play."

Farrell Evans covers golf for ESPN and can be contacted at evans.espn@gmail.com.



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