The Players Championship – Will This Year’s Winner Buck the Tournament’s Trends?
The golfing world’s current stars are in Florida at the moment, making their final preparations for the 2018 Players Championship. The tournament, which is often referred to as the unofficial fifth major, begins tomorrow. Here’s a quick guide to the championship and some of the players who have won it.
The Players Championship – The Tournament and its History
This year’s Players Championship is the 45th edition of the event and takes place at TPC Sawgrass. The club, which houses the PGA Headquarters, has been home to the competition since 1982. Situated in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, it boasts two courses, the Stadium Course and the Valley Course, both of which are par-72. The Players Championship is always held on the Stadium Course, which is best-known for its 17th hole, the challenging par-three “Island Green”.
The event features a 144-player field and golfers can qualify through a range of methods. Any player who has won a major in the five years preceding it is eligible to compete, for example, as is any player who has won a PGA Tour event since the championship’s last edition.
The Players Championship is known for its generous purse. Last year’s winner, Si Woo Kim, who is the youngest player to have triumphed at the event, walked away from TPC Sawgrass with a whopping $1,890,000. It’s not just about the money either. The champion also receives a stunning golf trophy, crafted from Waterford Crystal, which features an exquisite engraving of a golfer in action. The first championship trophy of this design was awarded to Jerry Pate, the winner of the 1982 tournament. Further versions of it are crafted individually each year, so the victors can keep their awards permanently.
The event was the brainchild of Deane Beaman, the PGA Tour Commissioner from 1974 to 1994. The first edition of it was held at the Atlanta Country Club in September 1974 and was won by Jack Nicklaus.
Picking the Players Championship Winner – Statistics Worth Knowing
With so many talented and experienced golfers competing for the renowned golf trophy this year, it’s difficult to predict who the winner will be. However, previous editions of the competition have resulted in the emergence of some intriguing tournament trends. When it comes to the likelihood of Si Woo Kim successfully defending his title, for example, history isn’t on his side. Nobody has ever managed to secure back-to-back victories in the Players Championship.
In fact, few golfers have managed to win the event more than once. Jack Nicklaus triumphed on three occasions (1974, 1976 and 1978), while five players (Hal Sutton, Fred Couples, Steve Elkington, Davis Love III and Tiger Woods) have seized the title twice. The likes of Jason Day, Rickie Fowler or Martin Kaymer won’t want to be reminded of that as all have won the championship recently.
Most golfers competing in the tournament over the years have hailed from the USA, so it’s not surprising that 29 of its 44 editions have been won by American players. In terms of international success, the Australians lead the way with four championship victories. The South Koreans are next on the list with two. The only player from the UK to have won the tournament, however, is Scotland’s Sandy Lyle, who triumphed in 1987.
Which golfer do you think will take the 2018 Players Championship trophy home? We’d love to hear from you via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section.