The quick and dirty answer to inclement weather at TPC Sawgrass: leave it to the pros.

I generally don’t like rules, but I have one as life relates to golf.

If it’s cold, I ain’t playing.

Because I live and play in the Carolinas, it’s possible to hit the links every month of the year. January and February – and sometimes March — can be challenging, but it’s normally possible to find several days even in those months to lose a few balls.

But there are stretches in the winter when the temperature refuses to climb out of the 40s. On those days, I’d much rather read about golf than play it. I realize temps in the 40s could make for a fine golf day for folks living in the Northeast, and I get that, but I’m spoiled, so leave me alone.

I was reminded of my distaste for cold-weather golf Sunday as I sat in comfort in my overheated den and watched professional golfers play the game on an inordinately cold day in coastal Florida. Having spent a bunch of my life along the east coast of the Sunshine State, I know all too well how it feels when a cold wind whips off the Atlantic and slaps you in the face.

It feels like somebody dumped a cooler of ice cubes down your back. You shiver and look for the closest inside escape.

It was almost comical to see the extremes the players at TPC Sawgrass went to in an effort to battle the cold. They wore layer upon layer atop layer and brought out all kinds of wacky headwear. It was clear that some were desperate enough to wear more than one pair of pants at the same time.

There were hand warmers. And extra gloves. And sweaters that, for a change, were more about warmth than sponsor display.

The cold at Ponte Vedra Beach was simply another in a line of plagues that hit the course during one of the season’s spotlighted events. At more than $3 million, the winner’s purse for the Players is the year’s biggest, but you had to endure the seven gates of hell to have a shot at it. As if the course itself didn’t present enough challenges.

There was rain. A lot of rain. There was the wind. A lot of wind. Crazy wind. Somebody thought they saw Dorothy and Toto soaring across the 18th fairway. The wind made the famous 17th hole, with the island green, so difficult that players approached their tee shots with little knowledge of what might happen. It was hit-and-hope. For many, hope drowned.

The craziness pushed the tournament to a Monday finish. Just for good measure, and despite a pleasant forecast, rain poured on parts of the course as a long string of players moved into position to win the big money. No one would have been surprised if thousands of frogs suddenly emerged from one of the course ponds and began marching toward Jacksonville.

In the end, Cameron Smith took home the purse, along with my everlasting respect for surviving the sort of weekend golfers shouldn’t have to endure.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.