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1-on-1 with legendary sports broadcaster Mike Tirico at THE PLAYERS

Mike Tirico has called everything from the Olympics to Monday Night Football and even professional golf. He says THE PLAYERS Championship is special in so many ways.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — I was fortunate enough to catch up with legendary sports broadcaster Mike Tirico ahead at this year's PLAYERS Championship.

Tirico had high praise for THE PLAYERS and how the First Coast community shows up to support the event and cheer on the world's top golfers at "golf's fifth major."

Here's a transcript of our conversation:

JAMES: Well this guy needs no introduction over here. Mike, off the bat I know you've called tournaments forever, all different sports, just this place here, you know, TPC Sawgrass and THE PLAYERS what makes this so special in your eyes?

MIKE: I love that the locals have adopted this as kind of the "Spring Break of Sports" for this area and the volunteering to the great crowds to the restaurants, the community, everyone's behind this event.

JAMES: A lot of guys the big-name guys going to LIV and you know of course and we even joked about it this week like what are the major storylines heading into THE PLAYERS, but for you guys as broadcasters how do you convey that there's still a lot to watch for?

MIKE: The energy the first part of the season has been off the charts and out of this world. I think we've seen so many good performances from big-name players and I think we're going to see that again here. The one difference here is you never know what could happen. This golf course doesn't favor a long hitter. It doesn't favor a short-game player. It doesn't favor an iron player. It favors a guy that can do everything.

JAMES: Do you feel like you've seen steady growth here with just like the fans coming out and the excitement for it?

MIKE: The place has really become the home of the Tour as it has evolved, changed, become more difficult. But it has also really become a great test of pressure to perform on a big stage.

JAMES: Do you, especially here specifically, do you ever just take a moment to take it all in?

MIKE: It is a golf course that is always supremely manicured and we have that once again which is nice. So people come out and it's an enjoyable time. I just love that the locals really get into the experience of being a part of THE PLAYERS. They come on a regular basis whether it's their Friday happy hour, they take the day off, they take the kids out of school, they come on the weekend, the start of the weekend. They'll be here on Sunday for the champion to be crowned. Out here on the lawn when the champion is given the trophy. It's become really a part of springtime in this part of the country.

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