The PGA TOUR heads home this week to Ponte Vedra, FL for its signature event, THE PLAYERS Championship. The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is once again serving as host and the par-72, 7,189-yard Pete Dye layout has undergone some enhancements since the last time the world's best competed here.
First among the changes are the renovations to the greens, which have all been re-turfed with TifEagle Bermudagrass, promising more consistent putting surfaces.
The grass mounds that used to separate the the sixth and seventh holes have been replaced by a large lake. Aesthetically more pleasing, the water will also come into play off the tee on No.7.
The practice range has also received a facelift, now offering players realistic green complexes to aim for.
But perhaps the biggest change is a complete redesign of the par-4 12th hole. What used to be an awkward 358-yard dogleg left now is a great risk/reward test, a drivable 302-yard par-4 that should generate lots of excitement throughout the week.
And as players tee it up in hopes of claiming the championship named in their honor, Titleist is the overwhelming golf ball of choice with 98 players teeing up a Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball. That’s more than six times the nearest competitor with 16 and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist is also the top choice of players in the hybrids (31) and irons (43) categories. Vokey Design Wedges topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (172) category. Scotty Cameron putters were the top choice in the putter (54) category.
- The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass opened in the autumn of 1980. It was the first of several Tournament Players Clubs to be built and serves as home to the PGA Tour headquarters.
- THE PLAYERS has been played at The Stadium Course since 1982. From 1977 through 1981, the Tournament Players Championship (as it was known then) was played at adjacent Sawgrass Country Club.
- This year's field includes 46 of the top 50 players in the current FedExCup standings.
- Should two or more players be tied after regulation play, a three hole aggregate playoff will take place on holes 16, 17 and 18. At that point, if the players still remain tied, a sudden death playoff will take place on No. 17.
- The best scoring average (8 rounds minimum) at TPC Sawgrass belongs to Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas with 70.13 scoring average.
- The 36-hole cut has been below par just twice in the last 20 PLAYERS Championships – 2-under-par 142 in 2010 and again last year.
- To date, no player has successfully defended a PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP victory.
- The youngest player to win THE PLAYERS is Titleist Brand Ambassador Adam Scott (Pro V1), who captured his victory in 2004, at the age of 23 years, 8 months, 12 days.
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Tim Clark (Pro V1x) is one of only two players who have won their first PGA TOUR title at The PLAYERS. Clark won the event in 2010.
- The island green at the signature par-3 17th hole was the idea of Alice Dye, wife of the course’s designer, Pete Dye. In PLAYERS competition from 2003 to 2016, a total of 553 golf balls have found the water at this beguiling, 137-yard hole.
- On the PGA TOUR, a total of 25 par-3s have measured less than 150 yards in the last 14 years. With a scoring average of 3.11, No. 17 at THE PLAYERS is one of two par-3s measuring less than 150 yards with an over-par scoring average from 2003-2016 (The other was the 143-yard par-3 12th hole at Whistling Straits, which averaged 3.04).
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Morgan Hoffmann (Pro V1x) is the only player to win the AJGA Junior PLAYERS Championship and also compete in THE PLAYERS as a professional. Click here for the full story.
FORMER CHAMPIONS WEIGH IN:
- "It's a very tough examination. It's pressure. The atmosphere and the way this golf course lends itself to excitement out there is very fun to be a part of. So even though I haven't won the tournament for a long time, I've still had a lot of good feelings out on the golf course, hitting great shots on Sunday, and hearing the crowd roar for those good shots on 17 or 16 and 18. It's a fun place to play."
- Adam Scott (Pro V1), 2004 PLAYERS champion
- “It's great to be back. It's one of my favorite weeks and one of the highlights on the calendar for sure. It’s called the fifth major and that's for a reason. We've got the strongest field in golf assembled, and it's a tournament you want to win.”
- Henrik Stenson (Pro V1), 2009 PLAYERS champion
- "This is arguably the strongest field in golf, on a golf course that creates a great test, and you're going to have to hit every kind of shot around this golf course throughout the week. That's what's great about it. It kind of tests all parts of your game."
- Rickie Fowler (Pro V1), 2015 champion
PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS YEAR:
- During his PLAYERS victory in 2015, Titleist golf ball loyalist Rickie Fowler (Pro V1) played the 17th hole six times including the two playoff holes and recorded five birdies on those six attempts. He birdied No. 17 in rounds 1, 2 and 4 of regulation. He also played the final four holes in birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to force the playoff, the best finishing stretch over those holes in tournament history. In addition to his win, Fowler finished T2 in 2015.
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas (Pro V1x) is a four-time TOUR winner, including three wins this season (CIMB Classic, SBS Tournament of Champions, Sony Open in Hawaii). Thomas shot 59 (-11) in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii to become the seventh player with a sub-60 round on TOUR. Justin finished T3 at THE PLAYERS last year with rounds of 70-68-75-65.
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Adam Scott (Pro V1) has missed only one cut in his last 27 official PGA TOUR starts (2017 Shell Houston Open). The 2004 PLAYERS champion has 3 top-10 finishes in 15 appearances (1/2004, T8/2005, T6/2007) at THE PLAYERS.
- Titleist golf ball loyalist Henrik Stenson (Pro V1) is one of only two players to own a PLAYERS Championship title (2009) and a FedExCup title (2013).
Justin Thomas shared this image of Titleist golf ball loyalist Rickie Fowler just after Rickie aced No. 17 during a practice round on Wednesday.
A slow motion look at the swing that generated that hole-in-one:
Decisions, decisions! This Sunday, Titleist Brand Ambassador Zac Blair has a number of limited edition options to choose from to recognize moms this Mother's Day.
Like just about every player this week, Titleist Brand Ambassador Cameron Smith (Pro V1x) loved the conditions and improvements made to the Stadium Course.
Titleist Brand Ambassador Brad Faxon (Pro V1x) received a special gift this week from Master Putter Craftsman Scotty Cameron. Perfect for Fax's Laguna gamer.
Few players took an aggressive approach on the new par-4 12th hole on Thursday. Look for more drivers to come out on Friday.
A great swing image for players to model this weekend - Titleist Brand Ambassador Adam Scott.
Good luck to all of #TeamTitleist this weekend!