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Sunday, May 4, 2014

THE PLAYERS Championship - Preview

The PGA TOUR now heads to the familiar setting of TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship, and we'll kick of the week with our regular preview.

The biggest thing about TPC Sawgrass, which should play to a 7,215-yard par 72, is that a player can't fake his way around that course tee to green. As with numerous Pete Dye courses, it can also be a very visually intimidating course. That lends itself to "target golf" in some spots, as fairways can run at some odd angles from tee boxes. Of note, water is in play at various stages of the round, culminating with the par-3 17th hole, featuring an island green.

It's worth noting that the early reports out of Sawgrass are that the greens are in rough shape after a harsh winter. The only picture I've seen is of the par-4 12th, and it looked pretty bad.

Before we delve into the winners and runners-up since 2005, I want to also point out the top 10 in all-time money at this event. They are Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, Stephen Ames, Davis Love III, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Fred Funk and Tom Lehman. Of those, only Stenson and Kuchar have played the event less than 12 times; Stenson with eight and Kuchar with nine.

Now to the champs:

  • 2005 - Fred Funk (279) over Luke Donald, Tom Lehman and Scott Verplank (280)
  • 2006 - Stephen Ames (274) over Retief Goosen (280)
  • 2007 - Phil Mickelson (277) over Sergio Garcia (279)
  • 2008 - Sergio Garcia (283) over Paul Goydos (283)
  • 2009 - Henrik Stenson (276) over Ian Poulter (280)
  • 2010 - Tim Clark (272) over Robert Allenby (273)
  • 2011 - K.J. Choi (275) over David Toms (275 Playoff)
  • 2012 - Matt Kuchar (275) over Ben Curtis, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson and Martin Laird (277)
  • 2013 - Tiger Woods (275) over David Lingmerth, Jeff Maggert and Kevin Streelman (277)
While this list makes up a lot of different types of players, what is noticeable absent is the bomb-and-gauge players. Stats I will rely on in handicapping this ordeal are Ball-Striking, Strokes Gained-Putting, Par 3 Scoring Average, Par 5 Scoring Average and Bogey Avoidance; as well as the normal dose of course history and current form.

We will return tomorrow with the power rankings. Until then, happy research!

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