The Players Championship’s inaugural event was played in ’74 at Atlanta Country Club In Marietta Georgia. Back in those days, however, it was known as the Tournament Players Championship. Eventually, it was relocated through Texas, down to Florida, to Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. By eventually, I mean 1977. Even more recently, in ‘88 “Tournament” was dropped from the name, but it has since claimed the title of the Fifth Major. Not officially, just in prestige.
TPC also offers the highest Prize fund of any tournament with a purse of $9.5 Million since 2008. But neither the amount of money, nor the allure of the single most recognizable Par 3 in professional golf (The 17th hole, better known as “The Island Green”) could draw the World’s #1 and #6 Ranked golfers to compete. Why aren’t Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy playing? Must be because they are scared of Peter Dye’s course design. While this may not be 100% factual, It’s this caveman’s take on the situation. Rory has never broken par, and while Westwood has done so, he has never been in the top 3. Neither of them are PGA Tour members, and therefore due to policy constraints, are limited to 10 tour events. Both decided that this one wasn’t going to be one of their 10.
So who else is scared of this course? Apparently Bubba Watson, who stated that Sawgrass was “Too Hard for (him)” and Tiger Woods has withdrawn with a knee injury after the first 9 holes left him 6 over par this morning. This is after Johnny Miller attempted to defend Tiger, saying that his Iron game was strong, and he would be a contender, regardless of the fact that his last win came a decade ago, and hasn’t finished higher than 8th since. This is the second year in a row that Woods has withdrawn.
It would seem like players are dropping like flies, so who do you think will make to the end at TPC Sawgrass?