The Players Championship
|Location||Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida|
|Established||1974, 41 years ago|
|Course(s)||TPC at Sawgrass,
|Length||7,215 yards (6,597 m)|
|Prize fund||$10 million|
|Tournament record score|
|Aggregate||264 Greg Norman (1994)|
|To par||−24 Greg Norman (1994)|
|2015 Players Championship|
The Players Championship (often styled as THE PLAYERS Championship or The PLAYERS) is an annual golf tournament on the PGA Tour. Originally known as the Tournament Players Championship, the tournament began in 1974. The Players Championship offers the highest prize fund of any tournament in golf ($10 million in 2014). The field usually includes the top fifty players in the world rankings, but unlike the three major championships staged in the United States, it is not an official event on the European Tour.
The Players has often been considered the unofficial "fifth major" due to its prestige, its host course (the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course at which the tournament has been played since 1982, home of the iconic par-3 #17 "Island Green"), and its considerably larger purse.
The victor receives $1.80 million, the winner's share (18%) of the largest purse of any tournament in golf ($10 million), and receives 80 points towards his world ranking, the most share aside from the majors, where winners earn 100 points. For comparison, the winners of the four individual World Golf Championships generally receive between 70 and 78 points. The winner also receives a 5-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a three-year invitation to the Masters Tournament, three-year exemptions for the U.S. Open and The Open Championship, and an exemption to that year's PGA Championship in August. The winner earns 600 FedEx Cup points, if a PGA Tour member.
The field consists of 144 players consisting of the following criteria:
- Winners of PGA Tour events since last Players
- Top 125 from previous season's FedEx Cup points list
- Top 125 from current season - Medical Extension
- Major champions from the past five years
- Players Championship winners from the past five years
- WGC winners from the past three years
- The Tour Championship winners from the past three years
- Top 50 from the Official World Golf Ranking
- Senior Players champion from prior year
- Web.com Tour money leader from prior season
- Money leader during the Web.com Tour Finals, if not the regular-season money leader
- Top ten current year FedEx Cup points leaders
- Remaining positions and alternates filled through current year FedEx Cup standings
The Players Championship was conceived by the PGA Tour commissioner at the time, Deane Beman. The inaugural event in 1974 was played at Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, Georgia. It moved to the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas in 1975 and to Inverrary Country Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1976. Beginning in 1977, the event was played at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, initially at Sawgrass Country Club's Oceanside Course (a combination of the "East" and "West" 9-hole courses). Since 1982, the tournament has been played across the road from Sawgrass Country Club, on the Stadium Course at TPC at Sawgrass.
Following the 2006 event, the course underwent a major renovation, which received very positive reviews from the players in 2007. Included in the renovation was a new 77,000-square-foot (7,150 m2) Mediterranean Revival-style clubhouse.
For most of its existence, the tournament was played in late March, two weeks before The Masters. In 2007 it was moved to mid-May, as part of a restructuring of the PGA Tour. This restructuring involved the introduction of the lucrative FedEx Cup, which concludes with The Tour Championship. The change gave the PGA Tour a marquee event in six consecutive months (The Masters in April, The Players in May, the U.S. Open in June, the Open Championship in July, the PGA Championship in August, and the Tour Championship in September). 
With the rearrangement of 2007, the final round of The Players Championship is scheduled for the second Sunday of May, Mother's Day. To mark this, during the fourth round almost all players wear pink shirts or accessories, and many in the galleries also join them in donning pink garb. This scheduling parallels the U.S. Open, which concludes on the third Sunday of June, Father's Day. Both tournaments share the same broadcast partner, NBC Sports, through 2014. Also, like The Masters, US television coverage is presented with limited commercial breaks through the use of a "presenting partner": currently, this is PricewaterhouseCoopers, who use several of their ads to promote youth golfing program The First Tee.
Through 2013, the playoff format was sudden-death, lately starting at the par-3 17th hole. Since moving to the Stadium Course in 1982, only three playoffs have been necessary (1987, 2008, 2011) and the last two ended at the first extra hole, with pars by the victors. (The 1987 playoff started at the par-5 16th and went to a third extra hole at the par-4 18th, also a par by the winner.) The format was changed to a three-hole aggregate in 2014, similar to the PGA Championship, played over the final three holes, in order. If still tied, the playoff will go to sudden-death on the same three holes, but start at the 17th.
|The Players Championship|
|Year||Player||Country||Score||To par||1st prize ($)||Purse ($)|
|2013||Tiger Woods (2)||United States||275||−13||1,710,000||9,500,000|
|2012||Matt Kuchar||United States||275||−13||1,710,000||9,500,000|
|2011||K. J. Choi||South Korea||275||−13*||1,710,000||9,500,000|
|2010||Tim Clark||South Africa||272||−16||1,710,000||9,500,000|
|2007||Phil Mickelson||United States||277||−11||1,620,000||9,000,000|
|2005||Fred Funk||United States||279||−9||1,440,000||8,000,000|
|2003||Davis Love III (2)||United States||271||−17||1,170,000||6,500,000|
|2002||Craig Perks||New Zealand||280||−8||1,080,000||6,000,000|
|2001||Tiger Woods||United States||274||−14||1,080,000||6,000,000|
|2000||Hal Sutton (2)||United States||278||−10||1,080,000||6,000,000|
|1999||David Duval||United States||285||−3||900,000||5,000,000|
|1998||Justin Leonard||United States||278||−10||720,000||4,000,000|
|1997||Steve Elkington (2)||Australia||272||−16||630,000||3,500,000|
|1996||Fred Couples (2)||United States||270||−18||630,000||3,500,000|
|1995||Lee Janzen||United States||283||−5||540,000||3,000,000|
|1992||Davis Love III||United States||273||−15||324,000||1,800,000|
|1990||Jodie Mudd||United States||278||−10||270,000||1,500,000|
|1989||Tom Kite||United States||279||−9||243,000||1,350,000|
|1988||Mark McCumber||United States||273||−15||225,000||1,250,000|
|Tournament Players Championship|
|1986||John Mahaffey||United States||275||−13||162,000||900,000|
|1985||Calvin Peete||United States||274||−14||162,000||900,000|
|1984||Fred Couples||United States||277||−11||144,000||800,000|
|1983||Hal Sutton||United States||283||−5||126,000||700,000|
|1982||Jerry Pate||United States||280||−8||90,000||500,000|
|1981||Raymond Floyd||United States||285||−3*||72,000||400,000|
|1980||Lee Trevino||United States||278||−10||72,000||400,000|
|1979||Lanny Wadkins||United States||283||−5||72,000||400,000|
|1978||Jack Nicklaus (3)||United States||289||+1||60,000||300,000|
|1977||Mark Hayes||United States||289||+1||60,000||300,000|
|1976||Jack Nicklaus (2)||United States||269||−19||60,000||300,000|
|1975||Al Geiberger||United States||270||−10||50,000||250,000|
|1974||Jack Nicklaus||United States||272||−16||50,000||250,000|
Six players have won the tournament more than once:
- 3 wins:
- Jack Nicklaus: 1974, 1976, 1978
- 2 wins:
- 1974: Jack Nicklaus wins the inaugural edition of the tournament. He beats J.C. Snead by two shots near Atlanta.
- 1977: Mark Hayes wins by two shots over Mike McCullough at Sawgrass Country Club, despite shooting the highest winning score on the PGA Tour, 289, since Nicklaus at the 1972 U.S. Open.
- 1978: Jack Nicklaus wins his third Tournament Players Championship title. He edges Lou Graham by one shot.
- 1979: Bob Murphy, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, shoots a final round 92. Winds were gusting up to 45 miles per hour that day.
- 1980: Playing in a final threesome with Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino shoots a final round 70 to edge Ben Crenshaw by one shot.
- 1981: Raymond Floyd defeats Curtis Strange and Barry Jaeckel on the first hole of a sudden death playoff. In addition to the tournament title, Floyd collects an additional $250,000 bonus due to his win at the Doral-Eastern Open the week before.
- 1982: After winning the first tournament at the Stadium Course by two shots over Brad Bryant and Scott Simpson, Jerry Pate tosses PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman and course architect Pete Dye into the water adjacent to the 18th green before jumping in himself.
- 1983: Hal Sutton wins by one shot over Bob Eastwood. John Cook came to the 72nd hole tied for the lead with Sutton before hitting his tee shot in the water on his way to a double bogey.
- 1984: Fred Couples shoots a course record 64 during the second round of play on his way to a one-shot victory over Lee Trevino.
- 1986: John Mahaffey wins by one shot over Larry Mize after Mize makes bogey on four of the last five holes during the final round of play.
- 1987: Sandy Lyle defeats Jeff Sluman with a par on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff. At the playoff's second hole, Sluman stood over a 6-foot (1.8 m) birdie putt to win, and a spectator jumped into the water surrounding the 17th green. He backed away, then missed.
- 1988: Jacksonville area resident Mark McCumber wins by four shots over Mike Reid.
- 1989: Tom Kite wins for the second consecutive week. He beats Chip Beck by one shot.
- 1991: Steve Elkington wins by one shot over Fuzzy Zoeller. Phil Blackmar had solo possession of the lead before hitting his tee shot into the water on the 71st hole resulting in a double bogey.
- 1992: Mark Calcavecchia and John Daly, the first pair on the final day of the tournament, are reprimanded by Deputy PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem "for failure to exert their best effort" after they finish their 18 holes of golf in only two hours and three minutes.
- 1994: Greg Norman shoots the 72-hole record score for the tournament, 264, on his way to a four shot victory over Fuzzy Zoeller.
- 1995: After Norman's record score, the course is made tougher by the creation of new, rock hard greens. Lee Janzen shoots 283 to win the tournament, the biggest one-year swing for a tournament played on the same layout in PGA Tour history.
- 1996: Twelve years after his first win at the TPC at Sawgrass, Fred Couples triumphs again. He shoots a final round 64 to beat Colin Montgomerie and Tommy Tolles by four shots.
- 1999: David Duval wins by two shots over Scott Gump. The win by Duval propels him to #1 in the World rankings.
- 2000: Hal Sutton wins at the TPC at Sawgrass for a second time. He edges Tiger Woods by one shot.
- 2002: Playing for the first time ever in The Players Championship, Craig Perks finishes eagle-birdie-par to win by two shots over Stephen Ames. It was the only PGA Tour win for Perks.
- 2003: Davis Love III wins The Players Championship for a second time. He shoots a final round 64 to win by six shots over Jay Haas and Pádraig Harrington.
- 2004: In spite of hitting his 2nd shot at the 72nd hole into the water, Adam Scott is able to get it up and down for bogey to win by one shot over Pádraig Harrington.
- 2005: Fred Funk becomes the tournament's oldest champion by edging Tom Lehman, Luke Donald, and Scott Verplank by one shot. During the final round, Bob Tway hits four balls into the water surrounding the 17th green, scoring a twelve on the hole.
- 2010: After 206 starts, Tim Clark breaks through for his first PGA Tour win.
- 2011: K. J. Choi becomes the first Asian born golfer to win The Players Championship. He defeats David Toms on the first hole of a sudden death playoff.
- 2013: Roberto Castro ties the course record with a 9-under 63 in the opening round. Sergio Garcia, tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 13 under going to the 17th par 3, puts 2 balls into the water. Tiger Woods won the event for the first time since 2001. It was his 78th career PGA Tour win in his 300th start.
- 2014: Ongoing injuries prevent Tiger Woods from defending his title. In the first round Martin Kaymer tied the course record with a 63 matching Fred Couples (1992), Greg Norman (1994) and Roberto Castro (2013). Kaymer would go on to win wire-to-wire.
Former President George H. W. Bush shakes hands with Rear Adm. Joseph Kernan and then received the Professional Golfers Association Tour Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Crouse, Karen (May 7, 2013). "Men’s Fifth Major May Remain Mythical". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Burke, Monte (May 9, 2012). "The Players Championship Is Not The "5th Major," But It's Still A Great Tournament". Forbes. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Boswell, Tom (March 22, 1982). "Splish, splash! Pate is the winner with a wet, wild finish". Milwaukee Journal. (Washington Post). p. 3, part 3.
- "Beaman, Dye celebrate with Pate". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. March 22, 1982. p. 15.
- "Lyle wins TPC in extra holes". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. March 30, 1987. p. 3, part 2.
- Fowler, Bob (March 30, 1987). "Fan's dive kept Lyle afloat". Spokane Chronicle. (Orlando Sentinel). p. C2.
- White, Gordon S., Jr. (March 30, 1987). "Lyle wins T.P.C. in playoff". New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- Martin, Sean (April 16, 2014). "The Players Championship announces change to playoff format". PGA Tour. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- The Players Championship – Winners – at www.pgatour.com
- The Players Championship – Winners – at golfobserver.com
- 'Hungry' Nicklaus wins
- Hayes uses wind in surprising win over talented field
- Nicklaus not up to par
- Wadkins survives elements to win by five-strokes
- Trevino tames Sawgrass
- Record payoff for Floyd
- Sutton gets lucky to win rich tour players' toruney
- Couples shoots 64 to take lead of two strokes
- Fred Couples shows he can handle the pressure
- Mahaffey tops $2-million
- McCumber wins, sets record
- Players champion flying high
- Breakfast club putting advice gives Elkington the Players title
- "Love conquers all to win Players Championship". Milwaukee Sentinel (Associated Press). March 30, 1992.
- Norman storms to record in Players Championship
- Zullo, Allan, "Astonishing but True Golf Facts", Andrew McMeels Publishing, Forest Fairview, North Carolina, 2001.
- Couples finishes too strong to win Players Championship
- Perfect weekend for Duval
- Sutton holds on for one-stroke victory
- Perks wins Players Championships
- Love's incredible round of golf wins Players Championship
- Scott survives 18 to win Players Championship
- "Funk wins Players: Donald falls back as tournament hits home stretch". Sports Illustrated. March 28, 2005.
- Choi wins Players Championship
- DiMeglio, Steve (May 9, 2013). "Roberto Castro ties course record at Sawgrass with 63". USA Today. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- "Players Championship: Martin Kaymer leads after first round". BBC. Retrieved May 10, 2014.