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, it’s sufficient to say Beman succeeded.
The course, now engulfed in history, tests every aspect of a player’s 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 10: Phil Mickelson, 3rd round in 2007. “Phil the Thrill” as he is so eloquently known put his tee sliced his tee shot into the treacherous bunker to the left side of the fairway. 171 yards from the pin, the path was simple; go sideways. But Phil Mickelson doesn’t abide by simple paths. With a seven iron in hand, Phil saw an opening high between the palm trees. Hitting a fade, his ball cleared the greenside bunker and got within 30 feet of the pin. A remarkable escape act. He would go on to win the tournament by two shots.
Hole 11: Justin Leonard, 4th round in 1998. Starting the day five shots back on overnight leader Lee Janzen in the 25th edition of The PLAYERS Championship, Justin Leonard proved relentless in his pursuit of the leading pack. After laying up, Justin Leonard was presented with another birdie opportunity after his iron shot got within 10 feet of the hole. The 1997 Open champion, filled with confidence, coolly slotted his left to right putt home and would power through the remaining holes for a two-stroke victory.
Hole 12: Tiger Woods, 4th round in 2000. A final round completed on Monday because of thunderstorms and heavy rain, Tiger Woods and Hal Sutton remained neck and neck throughout the course of the tournament. On 12, Tiger was the first to crack. Entering the tournament fresh from an easy win at the Bay Hill Invitational, his third win of the year and his 10th in 16 starts, Hal Sutton was given little chance. On the green in 2, his putt went way right, leaving Woods with an uphill task to make par. Fortunately for Sutton, his second putt was short. A three-putt bogey proved costly as Sutton would win by one shot, 17 years after his first victory at Ponte Vedra.
Hole 13: Rickie Fowler, 4th round in 2015. Taking on one of the toughest stretches there is in the game of golf, Rickie Fowler’s hopes of claiming the 2015 PLAYERS Championship seemed long dead and buried sitting six shots back with six to play. On 13, everything changed. On a green which has yielded more three-putts than any other at TPC Sawgrass, Fowler’s tee shot saw him within 12 ½ feet. Reading the putt to perfection, he holed for birdie to kick off one of the most dramatic run-ins in PLAYERS Championship history and claim the unlikeliest of titles.
Hole 14: Larry Mize, 4th round in 1986. Arguably the most difficult hole on-course, Larry Mize had the 1986 PLAYERS Championship at his mercy before the 14th hole changed his fortunes. Four clear at the turn, Mize’s fortunes began to change on 14 when an approach shot found the bunker to the right of the green. A bogey followed and Mize’s self-combustion which saw him bogey four of the last five holes saw him succumb to eventual winner John Mahaffey by one shot.
Hole 15: Calvin Peete, 4th round in 1985. On his way to becoming the oldest player to win The PLAYERS Championship with a three-shot victory over D.A. Weibring, Calvin Peete produced brilliance on the final day in 1985. On the 15th hole, Peete showed all his grittiness. With the hole just being one of two fairways he missed all day, his tee shot found the fairway bunker. A magnificent recovery shot from the bunker allowed him to scramble to make par – and ultimately helped him along the way to his biggest career win.
Hole 16: Davis Love III, 4th round in 2003. The most gettable hole on the course, the majority of players play it safe and lay up. Not Davis Love III. After a wayward tee shot which saw his ball head way left and into the woods, the smart option was to go sideways and into the fairway. With 197 yards to the pin, the now Hall of Fame golfer hit a sensational iron shot to within 10 feet of the hole. He would go on to eagle the par-5 523-yard hole, and end up winning the tournament by an incredible six shots.
Hole 17: Fred Couples, 1st round in 1999. Without doubt, the course’s most famous hole, The Island Green, and arguably one of the world’s most recognizable, Fred Couples showcased the best and worst that 17 has to offer. With an apparent 100,000 balls going missing per year at TPC Sawgrass’s famous site, few eyebrows were raised when fan favorite splashed his tee shot into the water. He re-teed, and playing his third, pulled off the most remarkable of pars. He would finish in fourth three days later.
Hole 18: Craig Perks, 4th round in 2002. Getting hot at the right moments in golf are priceless. In 2002, Craig Perks entered The PLAYERS Championship as an unknown. Heading to the final three holes, Craig Perks was one shot off the lead. Over the closing holes, he produced the best golf of his life. A loose tee shot found the woods on 18. After punching out onto the fairway, his third shot then missed the green. Facing the prospect of a playoff, Perks majestically chipped in to save par and give him the unlikeliest of victories. The win would be his only PGA TOUR victory. “Unbelievable” is what Tiger Woods famously said after the hole-out.
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!