The fifth major, the Players Championship, is here. While not officially considered a major championship, you will be hard pressed to find a player on tour that does not treat this event with the same respect as a US Open or British Open. It is the real deal and winning it comes with a level of prestige not normally associated with just another tour event.
Many of the world’s best will be bedding down in the Ponte Vedra Beach Florida area for the annual rite of passage that is the Players Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass. In fact, the entire Top-50 in the World Golf Rankings will be here vying for the title. Seating in certain areas on certain holes will provide an experience that is left unmatched for players during the rest of the PGA Tour season. Some have tamed the course in the past either for 18 or 72 holes. The 18-hole record is a remarkable 63 which was shot by Fred Couples in 1992, Greg Norman in 1994, Roberto Castro in 2013, and Martin Kaymer in 2014. Norman also set the 72-hole record firing a 264 in 1994.
Dates: May 5-10 2015
Course: TPC Sawgrass
Stats: Par 72, 7,215 yards
Television Broadcast Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 1:00 – 7:00 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel 1:00 – 7:00 PM EST
Saturday: Golf Channel 9:00 – 2:00 PM EST, NBC 2:00 -7:00 PM EST
Sunday: Golf Channel 9:00 – 2:00 PM EST, NBC 2:00 -7:00 PM EST
Purse: $10 million total purse, $1.8 million winner share
Players Championship Key Hole Analysis
The distance of the course is not the final determining factor for this monsters difficulty. If you take each hole on its own merit there are a few that will make the players cringe, either openly or whispering to their caddies. The first duo of quiet monsters will rear their heads at four and five. The fourth hole is a Par-4 that only plays 384 yards and is a hole that most professionals will choose an iron or fairway wood to tee off with. Not daunting then? It is not the length but rather the sloping mounds, lateral water hazard and fairway bunker that challenge the landing area that will create the trouble. If the players navigate that they will hit an approach to one of the hardest green on the Stadium Course with some of the most challenging pin placements the players will see all year. Birdie is possible here but it can quickly turn into bogey or worse.
The fifth hole is another Par-4 but this time the players will cover 466 yards. Due to its length, this hole provides an ample landing area if players can avoid the fairway bunker down the right side. A mid-iron will be required on the approach to this narrow and rolling green. If the players can avoid the grass bunkers, waste areas, and palm trees, then they should be able to walk away with a very welcome par but birdie on the other hand will be no simple task.
The island 17th is one of the most picturesque holes in the world. It is a 137 yard Par-3 with a wide green that will narrow to the right side. There is bunker on the right that can be a disaster or a savior depending on the shot. The green has two distinct tiers that can make for a challenging putt if players hit it onto the wrong level. A crowd favorite and a swing hole all rolled into one.
Players will leave the 17th green and approach the 466 yard Par-4 finishing hole where a dogleg left awaits the field. Water challenges the players down the entirety of the left side of this incredible finishing hole. Accuracy is key for this tee shot and the approach to avoid the number of grass bunkers waiting to suck in a rogue shot. There are not many, if any, finishing holes on tour that boast the challenge and beauty of 18 at TPC Sawgrass.
Players Championship Top Picks
A full field will be at the TPC Sawgrass this week for the event. Who is the most likely to win this week at the 2015 Players Championship? Attempting to pick a winner out of a full field event is a lot like a needle in a haystack but add in the entire top-50 in the field and things get challenging fast. Let’s see if I can keep things rolling with 2015 PGA Tour predictions. It’s time to get to the predictions and picks for the 2015 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
|Matt Kuchar||What can you say, the man knows how to make cuts. He has made the cut in all 13 starts of the 2015 season. Excluding the Match Play, he appears to be heading in the right direction off a tie for 5th at the RBC Heritage. At the Stadium Course he won in 2012, finished 13th in 2010 and 14th in 2009, and 17th last year.|
|Jordan Spieth||I will throw out the Match Play animal, His last five starts include a tie for 11th, two runner-ups, his second career win at the Valspar Championship, and his first career major win at the Masters. His only start at the TPC Sawgrass was a 4th pace finish last year and now he is playing with a level of confidence reserved for 2000-2001 Tiger Woods.|
|Jim Furyk||He has made the cut in 15 of his last 18 trips to the TPC Sawgrass. During that streak he has posted nine top-25s including a runner-up finish at last year's Players Championship. He win the RBC Heritage two back and he is a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach Florida so the man has the home field advantage.|