Names in the Game

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The Players Championship

Tons of names come out for this tournament every year at TPC Sawgrass.

by Brian LichtermanPublished: May, 2012

If there were a fifth major on the PGA Tour, it would be the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. KJ Choi will defend his title May 10-13 against the top players in the world. Just about everybody on tour agrees that it’s bigger than the week-in, week-out tournaments but just short of a major. A full field, plenty of tricky golf shots and massive crowds make this tournament one of the tour’s finest.

The signature hole, the par-3 17th, might be the most well-known green in any golf tournament. It might not be the best, most popular or best designed hole, but just about every golf fan knows the island green of the 17th at Sawgrass. Some call it gimmicky; some call it a true test of shot making – either way it’s fun to watch.

Recent champions of the event include names such as Tiger Woods (2001), Davis Love III (2003), Adam Scott (2004), Phil Mickelson (2007) and Sergio Garcia (2008).

This tournament regularly draws a full field and 2012 will not be an exception. Tiger is committed to play in this year’s tournament, and although his last two trips to TPC Sawgrass were short-lived due to injury, he’s determined to get back on track after a poor showing at the Masters. Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Kyle Stanley, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, Mickelson, Scott and Choi all committed to the Players Championship early in April. Mahan turns 30 a week after the Players and is tied with Dustin Johnson for PGA Tour wins for players in their 20s.

The par-72 course reaches out to 7,215 yards, and nearly every hole demands accuracy. In addition to the par-3 17th, hole Nos. 16 and 18 make the finish at TPC Sawgrass an epic one. The short par-5 16th entices players to attack the green in two and drop in an eagle or birdie. After navigating the island green on 17, watch for errant tee shots on the finishing hole, the 447-yard par-4 that flirts with water up the left side - a treacherous finish.


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