Monday, May 5, 2008

Getting You Set for Players Week

Want to know something interesting? No player has ever won back-to-back Players Championships in the history of the tournament, dating back to 1974.

Only one player, Jack Nicklaus (surprise) has won the event more than two times. Needless to say, the Players is one of those venues that doesn't particularly fit any one golfers style, it's more of a "who is playing the best and gets a few breaks" golf course that is rare on tour. Tiger Woods has only won once, Phil Mickelson the same and Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen are a big Retief Egg at Sawgrass.

What should we expect from TPC Sawgrass this week?

No Tiger, Big Problem - a Tiger-less field just isn't the same, no matter how you pitch it. El Tigre makes the golf world spin 'round, and without him it's loses a little luster. The best case scenario is if Mickelson could go down the stretch with another big name and have someone collapse on 17.

Winners Win on the Last Three Holes - The par-5 16th hole is one you have to make four (or three if you're Davis Love). The par-3 17th is obviously one of the most famous holes in golf, even if it's just a wedge or 9-iron for most of these players. The 18th is supposed to be the toughest holes on the course, just ask Adam Scott when he won in '04. Maybe not exactly Amen Corner, but you could call it Exhale Ending, three holes you're probably happy to get through even-par.

Consistently Inconsistent - Big hitters, puny pounders, great putters, marginal greens-readers - nothing really fits the mold at TPC. We've had big hitters like Phil and Adam Scott win along with short knockers like Fred Funk and Stephen Ames. Hal Sutton preceded Tiger Woods, who was followed by Craig Perks (Exactly) and Davis Love III. Not much of a mold in that sentence.

The Players begins on Thursday, with six hours of coverage on the Golf Channel (sigh) starting at 1 PM eastern.

Great picture of the 17th at Sawgrass by Shuichi Kuga


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