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For the 42 weeks leading up to THE PLAYERS, we’re recounting the story of each of the previous 42 winners
The distinct challenges 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 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.
For PGA TOUR players, this is an event that is earmarked from the beginning of the season. Over the last 20 years or so, the event has grown both in stature and as a spectator experience. The Stadium Course tests every aspect of a player's game. The 17th 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.
It brings out the best of the best, but also presents a course which can crucify you in a heartbeat (see Bob Tway’s third-round 12 on No. 17 in 2005). Patience really is a virtue here.
“It’s one of the toughest courses we play all year,” 2015 champion Rickie Fowler said. “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 it's inauguration in 1974, THE PLAYERS has seen it all. From Greg Norman’s wizardry in 1994, when he shot a course-record 264, to Steve Lowery finding dry land on the 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.
For the 42 weeks leading up to THE PLAYERS, we 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.
Steve Elkington, 1997
Returning to the scene of his most famous victory up until that point, THE PLAYERS Championship of 1991, Australian Steve Elkington blew the field away in a dominant wire-to-wire masterclass to claim THE PLAYERS Championship in 1997.
Despite strong winds all week, and the first field in history that contained all of the top-50 players in the world, Elkington’s irons oozed precision all week.
Beginning the final round with a two-shot lead over Scott Hoch, Elkington stamped his authority all over TPC Sawgrass on Sunday, despite it playing the most difficult it had all week. Kicking off with seven consecutive pars, he did what needed to be done, mistake-free golf.
Shooting in the 60’s for all four rounds (66-69-68-69) and finishing off as he had played all week, Steve Elkington produced a masterful chip on 18 for birdie, one of only seven birdies on that hole on the final day.
Closing with a 69 for a 16-under-par 272, Elkington set a new tournament record of a seven-stroke victory over Scott Hoch.
“I basically blew away the best field we've ever had,” said Elkington. “And I did it in good fashion.”
THE PLAYERS Championship: May 9-14, 2017
THE PLAYERS Championship is the PGA TOUR’s most anticipated tournament and coveted title. Held at TPC Sawgrass, the Stadium Course give fans an unprecedented experience with on-site access you simply will not get anywhere else.
Watch the world’s best players battle it out for one of the year's biggest titles. 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!
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