Location: TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Verde Beach, FL)
Dates: March 14th- 17th
First Tee Time: Thursday March 14th, at 7:40AM
History of the Event:
The original event was brought to the tour in September of 1974, originally played at the Atlanta Country Club located in Marietta, Georgia. Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural event, winning two more times in 1976 and 1978. He still holds the record for the most wins at The Players Championship. In 1982, the venue moved to TPC Sawgrass located outside of Jacksonville, Florida. One of the most infamous holes in golf is #17, which was ironically designed by mistake. The 17th hole is a 137-yard Par 3 with an island green.
Often times The Players Championship is affectionately referred to as the fifth major. The rich history of competition makes this a must play event for the world’s best golfers. Some famous winners who still below to the Tour include: Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods (two time winner), Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott. The field of golfers is set at 144; allowing for a large pool of players, however the qualifications are hard to meet.
The Players Championships returns to March for the first time since 2006. With an event purse of $12,500,000, the winner will be awarded a $2,250,000 prize. If the winner is a PGA Tour member (many but not all will be) they earn 600 FedEx Cup points. Regardless, they will receive 80 points toward their world rankings. The champion also receives a plethora of exemptions. Changing in 2018, the winner gains a five-year exemption to the PGA Tour and exemptions to the next three PGA Championships. They also earn a three-year invitation to the Masters as well as three-year exemptions to The U.S. Open and The Open Championship.
My Favorites to Win the Event
10. Tommy Fleetwood
Currently sitting at 59th in the FedEx Cup rankings and 13th in the World Golf Rankings, Fleetwood recently found success at the Arnold Palmer Invitational tying for 3rd place. His game has been improving lately, hopefully he can compete with the best at this event.
9. Xander Schauffele
Currently 1st at the top of the FedEx Cup rankings and 8th in the World Golf Rankings, Schauffele returns as a runner up to last years Players Championship. Already winning two events this year, he looks to make an impact this weekend.
8. Francesco Molinari
Rising to 20th in the FedEx Cup rankings and 7th in the World Golf Rankings, Molinari is fresh off a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. While this is only the 3rd win of his PGA Tour career, he has already achieved greatness by winning The Open Championship last year. It will be interesting to see if he can remain consistent.
7. Tiger Wood
There is little dispute that Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer of all time. At the moment he places low on the FedEx Cup at 107 but ranks at 11 on the World Golf Rankings. Woods’ last PGA Tour win comes from the 2018 Tour Championship. He is feeling healthy and is hopefully ready to return to his glory days.
6. Rickie Fowler
Fowler is 7th in the FedEx Cup rankings and 9th in the World Golf Rankings. His play has been inconsistent this year while often playing good at one tournaments and then sloppy at the next. Maybe he will surprise and conquer at The Players Championship, earning his second victory in this event.
5. Brooks Koepka
Near the top, Koepka is 8th in the FedEx Cup rankings and 3rd overall in the World Golf Rankings. Similar to Fowler, Koepka played sloppy at the AP Invitational; failing to make the cut. However, there is little doubt that Koepka will show up strong on Thursday.
4. Justin Thomas
Presently, Justin Thomas is ranked 6th in the FedEx Cup standings and 4th in the World Golf Rankings. He has already placed within the top 10 at tour events five times this year. Thomas is itching for his first win of the year. What better an event that The Players Championship.
3. Justin Rose
Rose may sit at 13th overall in FedEx Cup rankings, but he is only below one man in the World Golf Rankings. This would be an impressive event to add to his list of victories on the PGA Tour.
2. Rory McIlroy
McIloy currently sits at 11th in the FedEx Cup rankings and 6th overall in the World Golf Rankings. Winning some of the most prestigious events in golf, Rory is missing The Players Championship on his resume. The question isn’t whether he can reach the top of the leader boards, its if he can maintain it.
1. Dustin Johnson
Johnson places in 10th on the FedEx Cup rankings and 1st overall in the World Golf Rankings. His career has been up and down, and similar to the previous few golfers, a win at the Players Championship would be huge. Johnson has been on a break from tour events since his win at WGC- Mexico. Hopefully he is well rested and ready to play like he is ranked.
For more info on the tour check: www.theplayers.com
Sources: Dates, standings, and league info taken from pgatour.com
Photo source: golfandcourse.com
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