|THE PLAYERS Championship - May 04, 2009
THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
TPC Sawgrass (PLAYERS Stadium Course)
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,215
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 600
Purse: $9,500,000*Winner: $1,710,000*
2008 Champion: Sergio Garcia (283, -5)
Garcia Looks to Jump Start 2009 Season AsHe Defends Title at THE PLAYERS
Only five times in the history of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass has the eventual winner managed just one round in the 60s. Sergio Garcia became the fifth in 2008 when he opened with a 6-under 66 and then came back with rounds of 73-73-71 over the final 54 holes. Garcia joined Jerry Pate (1982), Hal Sutton (1983), Fred Couples (1984) and Fred Funk (2005).
TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Stadium Course is expected to be another difficult test this year as the deepest field in golf gathers in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, adjacent to PGA TOUR headquarters for the 36th PLAYERS Championship—the 28th at the Pete Dye-designed course.
Although Garcia held the first-round lead a year ago, he eventually had to come from three strokes off the pace to force a playoff with Paul Goydos. Garcia then made a par on the first extra hole, the par-3 17th, to win THE PLAYERS, a year after finishing second, two strokes behind Phil Mickelson.
The top-10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are playing this week, including 24 of the top 25. Garcia is ranked No. 3. His best PGA TOUR performance this season came at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship, where he tied for 31st. Garcia also has two top-10 finishes on the 2009 European Tour.
THE PLAYERS Championship Notes
Currently the No. 3-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, Sergio Garcia comes into THE PLAYERS Championship looking to become the first player since the tournament began 35 years ago to successfully defend his title. Garcia has won seven times on the PGA TOUR, including last year’s playoff victory at the 17th hole at THE PLAYERS.
Last year’s playoff between Sergio Garcia and Paul Goydos ended what was the longest playoff drought on the PGA TOUR. The last playoff at THE PLAYERS Championship before 2008 came in 1987 when Sandy Lyle beat Jeff Sluman with a par on the third playoff hole. Ironically, the last two playoff winners are also the only European winners in PLAYERS history. Lyle is from England and Garcia from Spain.
While Tiger Woods has not missed a cut in 11 attempts at THE PLAYERS, he has gone a stretch of six consecutive tournaments without a top-10 finish, dating to his 2001 victory. The six consecutive events without notching a top-10 finish is Woods’ longest active streak and also the longest streak at any event in Woods’ career. All of his career top-10 finishes at TPC Sawgrass came in three straight appearances: 1999 (tied for 10th), 2000 (runner-up) and 2001 (won).
Phil Mickelson, the 2007 PLAYERS champion, is ranked second in the FedExCup standings and is No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Mickelson, who has won twice in 2009 (Northern Trust Open and World Golf Championships-CA Championship) shares several PLAYERS Championship scoring records. Mickelson tied the low back-nine score (30, 6-under) and the low third-round score (64, 8-under) in 1996 and tied for the low first-round score (64, 8-under) in 2002.
In the 27 years that THE PLAYERS has been held at TPC Sawgrass, there are two holes that have recorded the most triple bogeys or worse. The 17th and 18th holes have each recorded 197 triple bogeys or worse in the tournament’s history.
Of the 27 winners of THE PLAYERS at TPC Sawgrass, only two winners have made a bogey on the 17th hole Sunday. Steve Elkington bogeyed there in 1991 and Fred Funk made bogey in 2005. Of the other winners, 16 have made par and nine have made birdie on the hole in the final round.
Only three players have won THE PLAYERS and a major championship in the same year, and only one player has won both the Masters and THE PLAYERS Championship in the same season. They are Tiger Woods (2001 Masters), Hal Sutton (1983 PGA Championship) and Jack Nicklaus (1978 British Open).