TPC Sawgrass is steeped in history. A brainwave by former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane R. Beman, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was built in 1982 to host THE PLAYERS® Championship and become its permanent home. As the first true “Stadium Course,” it was designed to improve the overall on-site fan experience. Entering its 35th year of existence at the course, its sufficient to say Beman succeeded.
The course, now engulfed in history, tests every aspect of a players’ game. In what has become the flagship tournament of the PGA TOUR, THE PLAYERS Championship has seen it all. Here, we break down all 18 of the famous holes on TPC Sawgrass’ hallowed turf and recount famous shots on each.
Hole 1: Hal Sutton, 4th round in 1983. Beginning an incredible final round (where the lead would change a crazy 11 times!) which took place on Monday, Sutton needed to start his push early and strong, lying four shots back. Kicking off his final round with three straight birdies, the then 24-year-old sunk a 10-foot birdie from the left edge of the green on his way to becoming the youngest winner of the tournament.
Hole 2: Tom Kite, 4th round in 1989. Within touching distance of the leaders, Kite set down a marker on the second hole. After an impressive iron shot from the tee, Kite catapulted the ball to the green’s edge on the par-5, 532-yard hole with his 2-iron. Two putts later and Kite had his first birdie of his final round. A final-round 71 saw Kite to what was his biggest career win up to that point.
Hole 3: Jodie Mudd, 4th round in 1990. Though golfers are presented with routine yardage for this par-3, 177-yard hole, accuracy is crucial with bunkers and water to the left of the green. A nice tee shot left Mudd with a 10-foot birdie shot. Fortunately, playing partner Mark Calcavecchia putted first but went wide right. Using the same line, Mudd drained the birdie on his way to a final-round 69 and a winner’s check for $270,000.
Hole 4: Nick Price, 4th round in 1993. Perhaps the most famous shot of his career and one that will go down in PLAYERS folklore. On the short and demanding par-4 fourth, Price’s tee shot was wayward. Resting on the cusp of a fairway bunker and with one foot in the bunker, Price took one giant swing of faith and he reaped the dividends. Nestling within a foot of the hole, he had a tap-in for a birdie. After winning the tournament by five strokes, Price described it as “the greatest shot of my life.”
Hole 5: Jose Maria Olazabal, 2nd round in 1992. The course’s longest par-4 hole at 471 yards, Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal drove his tee shot straight into the lake left of the fairway. Dropping his ball 180 yards out from the pin, he connected with his 6-iron beautifully. Traveling past the pin, the ball began to retreat before eventually finding its way to the cup for the most improbable of birdies. Sadly, Olazabal’s weekend didn’t follow suit; a third-round 75 saw him eventually finishing ninth.
Hole 6: Lee Janzen, 2nd round in 1992. A shot shrouded in infamy, Lee Janzen’s day simply wasn’t going right for him. After getting to the green in three on this par-4, 393-yard hole, Janzen’s par putt went right, much to his dismay. Angered by his own performance, he threw his putter into the lake. Later that evening, convinced by Peter Parsons, Janzen fished it out. Just a year later, he won the U.S. Open with the same putter. His redemption was complete in 1995 when he returned to the scene of the crime to win THE PLAYERS Championship.
Hole 7: Vijay Singh, 4th round in 2001. A 12-foot birdie from Vijay Singh put him, at the time, one shot ahead of eventual winner Tiger Woods. After a layup from the tee, Singh hit a solid iron to the right of the green. With a tough lie, Singh judged the putt to perfection. Sadly, a triple-bogey 7 on 14 all but ended his chances.
Hole 8: Fred Couples, 4th round in 1984. Couples, just 24 at the time, found himself rubbing shoulders with superstars Seve Ballesteros and Tom Watson on Sunday. A solid if not spectacular final-round 71 saw Couples almost hole out from the tee on No. 8. Using his 2-iron from 237 yards, Couples got within two feet for an easy birdie. Seven more would follow including an eagle as he edged out Lee Trevino for the 1984 title.
Hole 9: Mark McCumber, 1st round in 1988. The longest hole on course, the ninth poses players with a dilemma: go for the green in two, or lay up and play it safe. For Mark McCumber, a 112-yard sand wedge suggested he went with the latter. What he produced was a small piece of history. His pitch found the cup for an eagle. To put that eagle into context, that was one of just 24 eagles on the hole from 1983 to 2008. McCumber ended the week as runner-up.
The 2017 PLAYERS® Championship
Beginning May 9, 2017, THE PLAYERS Championship is the PGA TOUR’s most anticipated tournament and coveted title. Held at TPC Sawgrass, the “Stadium Course” gives fans and unprecedented experience with on-site access you simply will not get anywhere else.
Watch the world’s best players battle it out at the purest test in golf. By choosing THE PLAYERS Club, you’ll have access to the practice and tournament rounds of your choosing on individual days or for the full week. You’ll also be granted private access to the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse, as well as private suites overlooking the 18th Green and signature 17th Tee!