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Devil Ball Golf

Strange things are always afoot at the 17th at Sawgrass

Jay Busbee
Devil Ball Golf

Every time we return to Sawgrass, I feel obligated to post that video above, the shot of a seagull swiping Steve Lowry's ball back in 1998. It's one of the many bizarre elements of golf's most famous hole ... or, at least, the one most likely to show up in motivational office posters. While we wait for the day's results to arrive, let's look back at a few other strange elements of the Island Green:

• There's a dude buried at the 17th. Well, not really buried, more like "spread." Longtime caddy Brad "The Russian" Krosnoff requested that his ashes be scattered in the waters around the 17th, and after his passing in 2003, friends complied.

• More than 120,000 golf balls hit the drink around the 17th every year. And who fishes 'em out? Divers, who re-sell them for up to a buck apiece and can earn six figures for the salvage effort.

[Slideshow: See images of first-round action at TPC Sawgrass]

• Several replicas of the hole exist. One's out in Texas, part of the infamous Tour-18 course, the wax museum of golf. A few years back, a scaled-down replica of the hole — a 30-yard pitch onto a tiny green — toured New York City.

• Of course, you can always play the real deal yourself and give #17 a go for only about three bills, depending on the season. As we've said for several years, though, Sawgrass is leaving money on the table with that arrangement. Why not pick one day a month — heck, one a year — and open the 17th up to anybody with a stick and fifty bucks? You get five shots at the green, and then adios till next year.

We'll keep you up to date on how the legit players handle 17 and the rest of the course throughout the weekend.

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