Dec. 27, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Bowl Week has officially begun for the Ohio State football team. Two Miami Air charters departed Rickenbacker this morning carrying coaches, team staff, 80 members of the team, school administrators and some families for the nearly two-hour flight to Jacksonville, Fla., site of the 2012 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl that will match the 6-6 Buckeyes against the 6-6 Florida Gators Jan. 2 at EverBank Field.
Two waves of players and more off those flights arrived at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort at approximately 11:30 a.m. and 12 noon. Throughout the afternoon, approximately 20 more players arrived after flying or driving to Jacksonville from their hometown after a brief, four-day holiday hiatus.
Sawgrass is Sweet
Ohio State’s bowl headquarters is also home to the TPC at Sawgrass, an annual PGA tour event that will be played this year May 10-13. The 13th green at Sawgrass is visible from the lobby of the hotel and not far away is the golf-world famous 17th green located in the middle of a small lake…known as the “island green.” Four Buckeyes – seniors Andrew Sweat, Chris Maxwell, Chris Roark and junior Ben
Buchanan – took a tour of the course and, of course, had their picture taken in front of the famous green.
Other players, including seniors Tyler Moeller and Spencer Smith, spent the afternoon enjoying any of the three pools – two are heated – and selection of hot tubs located around the hotel. Others walked to the small area of stores just outside of the entrance and others spent time in the players’ game room that features a basketball hoop game, at least four giant screen televisions already set up with today’s cool computer games, a foosball table, several pool tables and numerous places to lounge and relax.
The pro shop located at the hotel features a scarlet golf shirt with the course logo on the left chest and an Ohio State logo on the right sleeve that will set one back about $75 with tax.
Want to golf the TPC at Sawgrass? For those who stay on the property’s resort, tee times can be booked up to a year in advance. Otherwise, tee times can only be made 14 days in advance of the scheduled date. Seasonal rates apply. A round of golf is currently $255 per person plus tax for those staying at the resort.
The team will enjoy a Gator Bowl reception dinner Tuesday night at the Marriott, featuring all the fixins’ that would typically accompany a southern style dinner.
The Buckeyes will be on the practice field at the University of North Florida – about a 15 minute drive from the hotel – by 9:30 a.m. and will practice about two hours on Wednesday. The team will have lunch at the facility before returning to the hotel. Afternoon activities include a visit to Adventure Landing where the players will enjoy laser tag, go-carts, miniature golf and arcade games.
It was nice today. A few hours after arrival the misty morning turned into a lovely sunny day with highs into the mid-60s. In fact, temps are supposed to be in the mid-60s for the rest of the week and through game day.