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 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, THE PLAYERS Experiences, 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!
2014, Martin Kaymer
In a year where the outcome seemed all but set in stone, a final-round weather delay and a race against darkness for the world’s best provided some last-minute drama to The PLAYERS Championship 2014.
Martin Kaymer began his week at the PLAYERS with a spectacular course record 63, and had followed with two and half more rounds of steady golf, leaving him with a formidable three-shot lead with four to play when storms in the area halted play. And while it appeared to be a question of how many shots Kaymer would win by rather than a question of if, the German did not make things easy for himself on his way to the biggest payday of his career.
With play resuming as darkness approached, Kaymer’s steadiness seemingly disappeared with the storms. A double-bogey on 15 saw his lead reduced to one, making the two most formidable closing holes in all of golf even more daunting.
Kaymer watched as his tee shot to the perilous Island Green 17th barely made the front edge, before steadily reversing course back towards the water and – thankfully – holding on to stay dry. A poor chip shot on the green’s edge left him a long par-saving putt, but Kaymer managed to produce the best shot of his week at TPC Sawgrass, a huge 30-foot par-saver that maintained his lead.
On 18, Kaymer got up and down from the green’s edge for par, and a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk to claim THE PLAYERS Championship 2014.
Commenting on his Mother’s Day win (his own mother, Rina, died of cancer in 2008), Kaymer said “My mother was always there to be affectionate and show us love. When she passed away, that stopped. We had enough when we were younger. Mother's Day is always a nice day. I hope a lot of kids show their mothers we love them.”
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!