This week is “not quite a major championship week” as the PGA Tour stops at TPC Sawgrass for the PLAYERS Championship. This event is the unofficial 5th major of the year and, as such, matches the intensity of any of the majors. Part of that is because of the difficulty of the course, part is because of the incredibly strong field and the rest is simply because you don’t ever know what’s going to happen.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a 7,215 yard, par 72 track designed by the great Pete Dye. The course twists and turns in all directions with doglegs going both ways and significantly varies the distance of holes of every par. The most recognizable hole on the course – and one of the most well-known par 3’s in the world – is the 137-yard 17th hole, which also happens to be the shortest on the track. This hole requires a shot over water to a green that is only accessible (other than via boat) by a narrow path of turf at the back. It is, by far, one of the most intimidating shots in the game.
Thirty eight of the top 40 golfers in the world will be making the trip to sunny Florida this week, including Tiger Woods and defending champion Matt Kuchar. Surprisingly enough, Woods has only one top 10 finish here, and that came when he won the event in 2001. He will be looking to add to the three victories he has already amassed in 2013.
Rory McIlroy has had forgettable performances here in the past, having missed the cut all three times. It will certainly be interesting to see which McIlroy shows up this week. Adam Scott, this year’s Masters champion is seeking his second career victory at Sawgrass – he won the PLAYERS in 2004.
The great thing about the PLAYERS is that you really don’t ever know what’s going to happen. There is not one type of game that thrives on this course. Winners have been everything from long bombers to surgical technicians around the greens. As long as you’re getting the ball in the fairway and you’re putter is hot, chances are that you will be in the mix this week.