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When you scan the names in the field for THE PLAYERS Championship, it’s easy to see why this tournament has become one of the most anticipated on the PGA TOUR schedule. Even more telling is the list of past champions, which includes names like three-time winner Jack Nicklaus, Greg “The Shark” Norman, and Phil “Lefty” Mickelson himself, giving credence to the notion of THE PLAYERS as the best field in golf.
The distinct challenges THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass presents for THE PLAYERS Championship are all-encompassing; 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. In 1982, THE PLAYERS made TPC Sawgrass its permanent home.
The perks: 600 FedExCup points, equivalent 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.
The Stadium Course tests every aspect of a player's game. The 17th hole, referred to as the Island Green, is the course’s signature hole - one of the most iconic and recognizable holes in the world. And while it may be an island, it is certainly not a vacation. 17 brings out the best of the best – like Fred Couples’ hole-in-one during the final round of the ’97 tournament – but can also crucify a player in a heartbeat – as evidenced by Bob Tway’s third-round 12 on the 17th in 2005.
“Everybody talks about 17, but the course is relentless right from the first hole,” said Sandy Lyle, World Golf Hall of Fame Member and winner of the tournament 30 years ago. “You can’t relax for a minute because danger lurks all over the place.”
From its inception in 1974, THE PLAYERS has seen it all. From Greg Norman’s wizardry in 1994, when he shot a course-record 264, to Ray Floyd’s masterful finish in THE PLAYERS’ first playoff against Barry Jaeckel and fellow Hall of Fame Member Curtis Strange in 1981, setting the tournament record for the best comeback win at six strokes. The excitement born from the unique venue and course layout at THE PLAYERS is truly unmatched.
Our hats are off to our 11 Hall of Fame Members – including incoming Inductee Davis Love III – who have conquered the beast that is THE PLAYERS Championship an astonishing 15 times.
List of Past Champions in the World Golf Hall of Fame:
Jack Nicklaus: 1974, 1976, 1978 Lanny Wadkins: 1979 Lee Trevino: 1980 Ray Floyd: 1981 Fred Couples: 1984, 1996 Sandy Lyle: 1987 Tom Kite: 1989 Davis Love III: 1992, 2003 Nick Price: 1993 Greg Norman: 1994 Phil Mickelson: 2007
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