The distinct challenges that THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass presents for THE PLAYERS Championship are all-conquering; every error seems to be punished tenfold. Since its inception in 1974, THE PLAYERS Championship has been the flagship tournament on the PGA Tour’s calendar. The perks; 600 FedExCup points, equal to the four major championships, a similar amount of Official World Golf Ranking points to the majors and a five-year exemption on the PGA TOUR. A prize fund of $10.5 million for 2016 - the highest prize fund of any tournament in golf - was further endorsed by the sheer level of competition in the field. To categorize such a prize, the $1.89 million winner’s fund usurps that of Arnold Palmer’s entire career earnings.
For PGA TOUR players, this is an event that is ear-marked from the beginning of the season. Over the last twenty years or so, the event has grown both in stature and as a spectator experience. THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass tests every aspect of a players’ game. The hole, often referred to as the “Island Green” is the course’s signature hole, and one of the most iconic and recognizable holes in the world.
The “Fifth Major” as it is so often referred to, is the PGA TOUR’s major. It brings the best of the best out, but also presents a course which can crucify you in a heartbeat (see; Bob Tway’s third round 12 on 17 in 2005). Patience really is a virtue here.
“It’s one of the toughest courses we play all year,” said 2015 champion Rickie Fowler. “Probably the toughest field that we play all year. So, I mean, whoever is winning is taking care of business, beating the best players at the time and conquering one of the toughest courses that we play.”
From its inauguration in 1974, THE PLAYERS has seen it all. From Greg Norman’s wizardry in 1994, where he shot a course record 264, to Steve Lowery finding dry land on 17th in 1998, only for a seagull to take it upon himself to dunk it into the lake, the history of this prestigious event is illustrious.
Each Friday for the next 42 weeks, QuintEvents, in association with THE PLAYERS, will recount the story of each of the previous 42 winners. Beginning with Jack Nicklaus’ maiden victory at the Atlanta Country Club right up to Jason Day's triumph in 2016, we'll tell their tales of success leading us all the way up to 2017’s event!
Davis Love III, 1992
Perhaps unknown to the masses at the time, Davis Love III rose to golfing prominence and the consciousness of fans around the world with a final-round 67 to finish 15-under-par and win THE PLAYERS Championship in 1992.
Heading into THE PLAYERS, Fred Couples was the man to beat. In the four weeks leading up to TPC Sawgrass, Couples had won twice and finished second twice, once in a playoff. Barely making the cut after a 73-71 start, Couples shot a course-record 63 to give the whole locker room a sense of foreboding and almost inevitability of what was to come from Couples. A 74 on Sunday would kill off his hopes.
Davis Love III started the final round three shots off the lead behind Nick Faldo. On the 8th hole, a momentum swing in the shape of a chip shot from Love altered the entire landscape of the tournament, a career-changing stretch. Facing a horrible chip shot, Love chipped in and from then on “knew it was his day.”
A fine par-save on the 14th hole where Love still held a one-shot lead further enhanced his reputation. A loose chip shot from 150 yards over the back of the green left him with a muddy lie. Another perfect chip shot came within a whisker of being holed. On 16, a birdie all but sealed it for Love III.
The Island Green, where so many dreams have been crushed, Love III saw his ball roll to within five feet of the stick, which secured him a lofty check for $324,000.
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!