The PGA Tour is in Florida this week for the prestigious Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. An extremely strong field has assembled for golf’s “unofficial fifth Major.”


The PGA Tour is in Florida this week for the prestigious Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. An extremely strong field has assembled for golf’s “unofficial fifth Major.”

The list of winners of the Players reads like a who’s who of elite golf through the last 40 years. Jack Nicklaus won in 1974. Since then Lanny Wadkins, Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Fred Couples, Sandy Lyle, Tom Kite, Nick Price, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson have all taken the title.

Last season Tiger Woods claimed his second Players’ Championship victory. He held off David Lingmerth, Jeff Maggert and Kevin Streelman to win by two shots.

Woods isn’t on the start sheet this week and it’s uncertain when he may make a return to competitive action after undergoing back surgery five weeks ago. Woods’ absence means the Players Championship will extend its record of never producing a repeat winner in consecutive editions.

Jason Day is another player missing this week because of injury and illness. The Australian has been suffering with an injured left thumb as well as a bout of bronchitis.

This event has been contested over Sawgrass’ Stadium course since 1982. A Pete Dye design, originally dating from 1979, the layout was redesigned by Dye in 2006. It’s one of the most recognisable courses on the PGA Tour and has traditionally been one of the toughest tracks on the circuit. Although, a reshaping of some greens has resulted in the opportunity for some less severe pin positions and that has meant the layout has been a little less testing over the last few seasons.

There’s a huge prize fund this week, raised to $10 million. The winner will walk away with an astounding $1,800,000.

The weather looks set fair for the week and organisers are not expecting to have to deal with any potential weather delays.

Venue: TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Date: May 8-11
Course stats: par 72, 7,215 yards
Purse: $10,000,000 Winner: $1,800,000
Defending Champion: Tiger Woods (-13)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Friday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Saturday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player Watch:
Sergio Garcia – The Spaniard loves this course. He has made 10 cuts in a row in the event. He won in 2008 and was tied eighth last year. He’s on decent form too – third in the Houston Open last month.

Henrik Stenson – The Swede is another regular contender at Sawgrass and a former champion – 2009. He was tied fifth in the event last year and was tied fifth in China a fortnight ago.

Martin Laird – Coming in under the radar, Laird was fifth in this event last year and runner-up in 2012. He’s not been on his best form but showed signs of a return last week at Quail Hollow, before fading over the weekend.

Key hole: 17th. One of the most famous holes in world golf, this 137-yard par 3 plays to an island green, totally surrounded by water. It may be no more than a 9-iron but, with a swirling wind and the pressures of a green or bust scenario, it’s one of the most intimidating challenges on the PGA Tour.

Skills required: Knowing the track. Since 2005 all but one of the winners at Sawgrass had made at least seven appearances in the event before securing victory. The “but one” was Henrik Stenson who won on his fourth start.