PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP Preview
May 11th-14th, 2017
TPC Sawgrass, Stadium Course, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
7,189 Yards, Par 72
With 25 water hazards on TPC Sawgrass and some renovations since the last PLAYERS (apparently it’s always capitalized), we may see some new names at the top of the leaderboard. Most notably, they’ve turned the former dogleg par 4 12th into a driveable, 285-320 yard beauty (the best holes on Tour, in my humble opinion, are driveable par 4s). Water is in play only eight yards from the left edge of the putting surface. Be ready for some massive leaderboard swings on the 12th.
Like any Pete Dye course, approach shots are demanding and crucial to score. There will be few drivers off the tee, putting a premium on second shots, and players will try to limit gigantic numbers when they make a mistake. The famous island green at hole 17 makes for good television, but it’s a pitching wedge for most unless the wind is howling, and the par 5s are gettable for everyone, so look for THE PLAYERS (there it is again) to be won and lost on the par 4s.
THE PLAYERS is called the fifth major, because it boasts “the best field in golf” (Vegas has set the over/under at 4,000 times that phrase is uttered by an announcer this weekend*). There are no sponsor exemptions, no amateurs, and one of the following is required:
- Winners of PGA Tour events since last Players
2. Winner of the 2016 Olympic Golf Tournament
3. Top 125 from previous season’s FedEx Cup points list
4. Top 125 (medical)
5. Major champions from the past five years
6. Players Championship winners from the past five years
7. The Tour Championship winners from the past three years
8. World Golf Championship winners from the past three years
9. Memorial Tournament and Arnold Palmer Invitational winners since 2015
10. Top 50 from the Official World Golf Ranking
11. Senior Players champion from prior year
12. Web.com Tour money leader from prior season
13. Money leader during the Web.com Tour Finals
14. Top 10 current year FedEx Cup points leaders
15. Remaining positions and alternates filled through current year FedEx Cup standings
Basically, every household name besides Tiger and John Daly will be playing.
Want to go DJ? Don’t we all…unfortunately he’s never finished better than T28 in eight tries at THE PLAYERS (I’m starting to hate this). I’m going to stick to my guns and go Hideki Matsuyama, as he’s one of the best iron players in the world (making him one of the best Pete Dye Course players in the world). Some others to watch out for include:
Kevin Kisner, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Sergio (not again right?), Jason Day, Ryan Moore, Martin Kaymer, as well as SLEEPERS: Kyle Stanley, Wesley Bryan, Jim Herman, DA Points
Happy Mother’s Day to all the fantastic moms out there. Hope you get to enjoy what should be another fantastic Players (not doing it anymore) Championship with those you love. Be sure to bring Mom out to Hart Ranch so she can enjoy free green fees this weekend!
*I made that up, but it’ll be close.