Furman Bisher, the venerable columnist from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, roamed the pressroom Saturday afternoon and said he was counting up all the newspapers that aren't covering the Players this year. It is an astonishing list.
"It's amazing who's not here," Bisher said.
Some of the major cities whose newspapers didn't send a writer to report on the tournament include Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Chicago (both papers), Phoenix, Dallas, Columbus (Ohio), Cleveland, Cincinnati and Denver. A batch of golf writers from the United Kingdom were in attendance. Nearly all of the afore-mentioned papers sent reporters to the Masters last month.
Even the Atlanta Journal-Constitution didn't have Stan Awtrey, its regular golf writer, in attendance on the weekend at Sawgrass, Bisher said. Awtrey was on site to do advance reporting for the upcoming tour stop in Atlanta but went home earlier in the week to write those preview stories.
The biggest culprit in the lack of coverage is newspapers' shrinking budgets, sparked by declining circulation and dwindling advertising revenue.