The PGA Tour travels northeast, from Orlando to Ponte Vedra Beach, for the 48th edition of The PLAYERS Championship at famed TPC Sawgrass.
While The PLAYERS might not technically qualify as a major, that could not be deduced from the feel of the week, nor could it from more tangible aspects like the prodigiously strong field (857 SOF), purse (record $20,000,000), first-place check (record $3,600,000), FedExCup points (600), and Official World Golf Ranking points (80).
The field teeing it up this week, along the northeast coast of Florida, will once again feature a super-stacked field, including 49 of the top-50 ranked players in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Headlined by each of the top-10 ranked players in the world, including world No. 1 Jon Rahm and the two most recent PLAYERS champions: Justin Thomas (2021) and Rory McIlroy (2019).
As we do each week, let’s take a look at the history, field, stats and other factoids as we prepare for what should be an exciting week of PGA Tour golf in northeast Florida.
The PLAYERS Championship Primer is powered by the all-new Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls.
The PLAYERS Championship
Dates: Mar. 10-13, 2022
PGA Tour Debut: 1974
PGA TOUR Week: 19th (of 43)
Course: TPC Sawgrass Stadium
Where: Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Distance: Par 72/7189 yards
Architect: Pete & Alice Dye (1980)
Field: 144 players
Format: Stroke, 72-holes
Cut: 36 holes
Winning Share: $3,600,000
FedExCup Pts: 600
OWGR Pts: 80
2021 Champion: Justin Thomas
How to Follow The PLAYERS
TELEVISION: Thu-Fri: 12-6 p.m. (GOLF); Sat-Sun: 1-6 p.m. (NBC)
PGA TOUR LIVE (ESPN+): Thu-Fri: 6:45 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 7:45 a.m.-6 p.m.
RADIO: Thu-Fri: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 12-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM)
All times Eastern
History of The PLAYERS
First teeing off in 1974, THE PLAYERS Championship might not have the longest history on Tour, but the history it does have is undeniably rich. The tournament is the brainchild of former PGA Commissioner Deane Beman, who earned a reputation for being a capacious dreamer.
It helped Beman’s vision that the inaugural event, held at Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, Georgia was won by Jack Nicklaus, the biggest name in golf.
The PLAYERS bounced around between several Southern locales in the 70s, with Nicklaus also taking the 1976 and the 1978 tournaments. The tournament was drawing big names and high-level drama, but something was missing, something that would eventually turn THE PLAYERS into one of the best shows in professional sports.
Beman knew for The PLAYERS to really take off, it would need a permanent location for fans to associate it with. He teamed up with legendary course designer Pete Dye, and in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, built the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, which would almost instantly become one of the most iconic locations in the game.
It was important to Beman that the course demand a complete arsenal of shots, something that Dye smashed out of the park.
The list of winners has been diverse, with the course not favoring any specific kind of golf. With TPC Sawgrass becoming the regular venue in 1982, winners have included such stars as Fred Couples, Sandy Lyle, Tom Kite, Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson.
Nicklaus is the only three-time winner of the event, although all three championships occurred in the pre-Sawgrass days. Couples, Love III, and Woods, in addition to Hal Sutton and Steve Elkington comprise the list of two-time TPC Sawgrass champions.
History: Tournament Names
1988-2019: The PLAYERS Championship
1974-1987: Tournament Players Championship
History: Recent Winners
2021: Justin Thomas (-14)
2019: Rory McIlroy (-16)
2018: Webb Simpson (-18)
2017: Si Woo Kim (-10)
2016: Jason Day (-15)
2015: Rickie Fowler (-12)
2014: Martin Kaymer (-13)
2013: Tiger Woods (-13)
264 (-24) Greg Norman, 1994
3 – Jack Nicklaus (1974, 1976, 1978)
The Course: TPC Sawgrass
The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass (TPC Sawgrass) is located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, southeast of Jacksonville.
Opened in the fall of 1980, TPC Sawgrass was the first of several TPC facilities constructed in the world, and is home to the PGA Tour, annually hosting The Players Championship – its flagship event.
Situated in the Ponte Vedra Beach’s Sawgrass development, TPC Sawgrass includes two championship golf tracks – the Stadium and Valley courses.
The famous Stadium course was designed by architects Pete and Alice Dye, and is considered to be one of the most difficult golf courses in the world. It was constructed specifically to host The Players Championship, and employs a distinctive “stadium” concept where fans sit in “stands” made of raised mounds of grass. The “stadium” at TPC Sawgrass Stadium has a capacity of 36,000.
It is known for its signature hole, the par-3 17th, nicknamed the “Island Green.” It measures just 137 yards but has ruined the rounds of many over the years.
The Course: By the Numbers
Front Yds: 3651
Back Yds: 3538
Tot. Yards: 7189
Signature Hole: 17th “Island Green”
Easiest: 12th Par-4 302 yards
Toughest: 5th Par-4 471 yards
Toughest Stretch: Nos. 3-7
Scoring Stretch: Nos. 9-12
The PLAYERS Championship will feature one of the deepest and most talented fields of 2022, including major championships.
Headlined by defending PLAYERS champion Justin Thomas, alongside reigning major winners Hideki Matsuyama (Masters), Jon Rahm (U.S. Open) and Collin Morikawa (British Open) – each ranked in the world top 11, the field will also include 49 of the top-50 ranked players in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Other top-10 ranked stars include Viktor Hovland (3), Patrick Cantlay (4), Scottie Scheffler (5), Rory McIlroy (6), Xander Schauffele (7), Dustin Johnson (9) and Cameron Smith (10).
Louis Oosthuizen (13), Jordan Spieth (14), Brooks Koepka (19) and Daniel Berger (20) are some of the other top-20 ranked marquee names.
Eight former winners of the PLAYERS will tee it up including the aforementioned Thomas (2021) and McIlroy (2019). They will be joined by Webb Simpson (2018), Si Woo Kim (2017), Jason Day (2016), Matt Kuchar (2012), Sergio Garcia (2008) and Adam Scott (2004).
Top-10 Betting Favorites
1. Jon Rahm (12-1)
2. Justin Thomas (14-1)
2. Collin Morikawa (14-1)
4. Patrick Cantlay (20-1)
4. Rory McIlroy (20-1)
4. Viktor Hovland (20-1)
7. Scottie Scheffler (25-1)
8. Hideki Matsuyama (28-1)
8. Xander Schauffele (28-1)
10. Brooks Koepka (33-1)
10. Cam Smith (33-1)
10. Daniel Berger (33-1)
10. Dustin Johnson (33-1)
Full Field: Odds To Win
TPC Sawgrass | Ponte Vedra Beach, FL | Mar 10-13, 2022
Joel Cook and Carey Hoffman contributed to this preview.
Credit: Getty Images, PGA TOUR Media, Bovada, OWGR, Wikipedia