Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing one of our Preview and Picks post that we publish each week. We also publish special Performance Charts for the tournaments, analyzing results over the past 8 years, a special DraftKings Picks Post, analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats. Very useful!
Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogThe Players Preview and Picks

The Players Championship

May 12th – 15th, 2016

TPC Sawgrass

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Par: 72 / Yardage:7,215

Purse: $10.5 million

with $1,890,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Rickie Fowler

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 75 of the top 46 of the top 100 in the lastest Official World rankings and 46 of the top 50.  The only top-50 players not in the field is #21 Charl Schwartzel, #34 Lee Westwood, #43 K.T. Kim and #49 Thongchai Jaidee.  Historically this event has always been the second most attended event off the World Rankings, with the PGA Championship always having what could be regarded as the best field in golf.

Last year 49 of the top-50 played in the event

The field includes all 48 of the top 50 on the FedEx point standings for 2016.  The only ones not in the field are #24 Charl Schwartzel and #33 Roberto Castro.

The field includes 49 players of the top 50 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. The only ones not in the field are #27 Charl Schwartzel and #36 Roberto Castro.

Here is the list of those that qualified for the Players but not competing are: Ryo Ishikawa, Tim Clark, Darren Clarke, Nick Watney, Pat Perez, Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel, Sangmoon Bae, Tiger Woods, John Peterson, Stewart Cink, Thongchai Jaidee and K.T. Kim.

The field includes 9 past champions: Rickie Fowler (2015), Martin Kaymer (2014), Matt Kuchar (2012), K.J. Choi (2011), Henrik Stenson (2009), Sergio Garcia (2008), Phil Mickelson (2007), Adam Scott (2004) and Davis Love III (2003 & 1992).

25 of the 26 PGA Tour winners in 2015-16 will be at TPC Sawgrass (Charl Schwartze/Valspar not in field).

22 major championship winners, accounting for 42 major championships, led by Phil Mickelson’s five.

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Players Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Players Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Players Championship.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

24/7 GOLF

How would you like to have Total Golf Knowledge At Your Fingertips??

We have the perfect solution for you.  If you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called 24/7 GOLF.

It gives you everything that you need to know about golf, you have all the players results and every tournament result, again at your fingertips.  It’s very easy to use and you can take a good amout of GOLFstats with you everyplace.  No need to get home and check things out on your computer at home, you can answer any question with your Ipad.

So check it out, just hit this link to get 24/7 GOLF:

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.01.34 AM

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the The Players Championship

Player Wells Fargo Championship Trophee Hassan II Zurich Classic of New Orleans Volvo China Open Valero Texas Open Shenzhen International RBC Heritage Open de Espana Masters Shell Houston Open WGC-Dell Match Play Championship Puerto Rico Open Arnold Palmer Invitational
Jason Day
(251.33 pts)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP T10
(53.33)
DNP Win
(66)
DNP Win
(44)
Charley Hoffman
(240.33 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T29
(28)
T33
(11.33)
T38
(6)
DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(201.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(106.67)
3
(60)
T5
(35)
DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(187 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(176)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP DNP
Rory McIlroy
(181 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(53.33)
DNP 4
(40)
DNP T27
(7.67)
Jordan Spieth
(180.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(133.33)
T13
(24.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP
Patrick Reed
(172.5 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(1.33)
T10
(26.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(165 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
T17
(44)
4
(53.33)
3
(45)
DNP DNP
Daniel Berger
(163 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(53.33)
T5
(46.67)
T61
(0)
DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(159.33 pts)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T5
(35)
DNP T12
(12.67)
Justin Rose
(159.33 pts)
3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(53.33)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP T9
(15)
J.B. Holmes
(154.67 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(106.67)
T75
(0)
T28
(11)
DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(154 pts)
DNP DNP T36
(14)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP T17
(44)
DNP T38
(6)
DNP T20
(10)
Hideki Matsuyama
(148.33 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(73.33)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP T6
(20)
Kevin Chappell
(145.67 pts)
T41
(9)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
Branden Grace
(135.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP DNP
Jamie Lovemark
(134.67 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 18
(21.33)
DNP DNP T6
(20)
Rickie Fowler
(129.33 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T10
(26.67)
T38
(6)
DNP DNP
Paul Casey
(124 pts)
T41
(9)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T4
(106.67)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T9
(15)
Soren Kjeldsen
(123.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
T7
(73.33)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Henrik Stenson
(121.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(34.67)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T3
(30)
Brian Stuard
(118.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Patton Kizzire
(115.83 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP
Harold Varner III
(111 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP 68
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Bryce Molder
(109.33 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP T47
(1)
T27
(7.67)
Luke Donald
(108.33 pts)
T71
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
Byeong-Hun An
(103.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP T36
(4.67)
Chad Collins
(102.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T47
(1)
DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(98.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(25)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T10
(53.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP T36
(4.67)
Sergio Garcia
(97.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(60)
T34
(21.33)
T72
(0)
T18
(16)
DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(97.33 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T13
(24.67)
T18
(16)
DNP DNP
James Hahn
(95.33 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Kuchar
(91.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T42
(8)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP T24
(34.67)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ricky Barnes
(90.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP
Jhonattan Vegas
(90 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T26
(8)
T46
(1.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the The Players Championship

Player Wells Fargo Championship Trophee Hassan II Zurich Classic of New Orleans Volvo China Open Valero Texas Open Shenzhen International RBC Heritage Open de Espana Masters Shell Houston Open WGC-Dell Match Play Championship Puerto Rico Open Arnold Palmer Invitational
Brendon Todd
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Carlos Ortiz
(-36.67 pts)
T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brendon De Jonge
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Every
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 80
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Steven Bowditch
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Hudson Swafford
(-28.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
Matt Jones
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T51
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Hunter Mahan
(-26.67 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 54
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
Greg Owen
(-25.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP T76
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
J.J. Henry
(-21.67 pts)
WD
(-5)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 77
(0)
DNP DNP T63
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

We have to take a moment to look back at the last couple of weeks on the PGA Tour.  We marveled at how many marquee names won between the Hyundai and the Arnold Palmer.  In that period not one person earned a trip to Augusta for the Masters as all of the winners were already in the Masters.  But since the Shell Houston Open, won my Jim Herman each of the last six winners, including Masters champion Danny Willett haven’t been household names.

Have to also ask how many folks had James Hahn in their fantasy picks?  If I was James father I wouldn’t of risked a penny on him, going into the Wells Fargo he had missed 8 straight cuts.  Looking back to 1990 we have seen winners go three weeks missing cuts and then winning, but we haven’t seen a player go more than four straight.  Hahn went 8 in a row in which he broke par only twice and didn’t shot any rounds in the 60s.  The chances of Hahn winning weren’t as high as winning Saturday’s powerball, but of anyone in the field he was the most unlikely player to win.

This brings up an interesting topic, how do you determine when a player is not playing well and then all of a sudden wins?  It happens all the time, look at Jim Herman at the Shell, look at Brian Stuard at the Zurich, he missed three straight cuts and finished T-55th the week before his win in New Orleans.  Nobody would of picked Stuard, matter of fact in DraftKings you could of gotten him for only 5,900 points, he was playing that bad.

Frankly when a guy is playing that bad there is no way of really telling how he could go from missing the cut to winning in a matter of a week.  It’s just one of golf’s secret unknows.

In looking to see how many others were unbelievable winners I came up with the following five most unlikely winners in the last 25 years on the PGA Tour.

  • Johnny Miller won the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am while he was in semi-retirement.  To show how little he was playing, his last start before his victory was missing the cut in the 1993 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am.  In a span of four years starting with his T-21st at the 1990 AT&T, he played in seven events over the four years and missed the cut in three of his four starts before his win.  This goes down in golf as a remarkable victory as he was a couple of months short of his 47th birthday.
  • Willie Wood was your true journeyman pro.  After a successful amateur career that included a win in the 1977 U.S. Junior Amateur and then playing on the 1983 Walker Cup team, Wood turned pro right after and was the medalist in the 1983 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.  In his first three years he had a lot of close calls, finishing 2nd in the 1984 Michelob Championship and then 2nd again in the 1986 Barclays.  Between 1984 and 1986 he played in 91 Tour events racking up seven top-five finishes but a cruel thing hit Wood.  His wife Holly, mother of their two children was diagnosed with bone cancer and died in July of 1989.  Between 1989 and 1992 Wood continued to play on the PGA Tour but in 83 events and only had two top-15 finishes including a T-2nd in the 1990 John Deere Classic.  But he didn’t make the cut in 52 events, got remarried but was divorced soon after and at the end of 1995 was on his third marriage.  He just about gave up and decided to play the then Nike Tour (Web.Com tour then).  In July of 1996 he got into the True South Classic, the opposite event of the British Open and for the first time in 13 years won.  He hadn’t played on the PGA Tour in nine months.  It would be his only PGA Tour win, he won twice in 2012 on the Champions Tour.
  • Another unlikely win came in 2009 at the Puerto Rico Open when Michael Bradley won.  He had won twice 1996 and 1998 but was struggling for years between the PGA Tour and the Web.Com Tour.  In 2008 he played in 14 events and only made six cuts so when he was a one shot winner over Jason Day and Brett Quigley it was a big surprise.
  • Andre Stolz goes down in the annuals as one of the shocking wins in 2004.  He got his PGA Tour card by finishing 13th on the Web.Com Tour money list in 2003.  In his first 19 events he only made six cuts and only broke 70, six times in 49 rounds.  Going into the Michelin Championship (Las Vegas) he was 217th on the money list and 341 in the World rankings.  But Stolz put together rounds of 67-67-65-67 and was a one shot winner.  The next year he injured his left wrist which halted his playing career.  Making his win so special, Stolz played a total of 36 PGA Tour events and only finished in the top-30 twice, his Las Vegas win and his next start were he finished 22nd in the Mercedes Championship which had a field of 33 players.
  • Talking about the Wells Fargo, we have to talk about Derek Ernst win in 2013.  This could be the all-time long shot, first Ernst went through four stages of Q-School to get his card but had very little opportunity.  He finished T-59th in his first event at the Sony Open and then missed the cut in five straight, breaking the streak with a T-47th at the Zurich Classic after rehiring his first golf teacher Aaron Terry as his caddy.  Ernest was the fourth alternate and was 1,207 in the world rankings and with the win he became the highest ranked player to win on the PGA Tour.  What is really amazing about Ernst career, it was not only his only victory but he hasn’t finished higher than 17th on tour in his next 81 starts.  So if you are looking for the most unusual winner it has to be Ernst.

Things you need to know about the Players Championship:

This week we have the crowing jewel of the PGA Tour, The Players. This is the 43rd edition of the Players Championship, which has been played at the TPC Stadium Course every year since 1982. Other than the four majors, it’s the fifth most important tournament in men’s professional golf.  In looking at the field the last couple of years only one other tournament in golf gets more top-100 ranked players, the PGA Championship.  But for a tournament that is the crowning jewel of the PGA Tour it always attracts a great field.  The big news is what will be different for the players.  How will the course play this year?  Will it be firm and fast as officials hope.  Even with the bad weather over the last couple of weeks, officials feel they can get the course dry and fast for Thursday’s opening round. One thing that will help scoring low is the lack of wind, it’s suppose to be minimal all week as the weather looks great for the four playing days.

Many may feel that it takes a lot of experience to win the Players, since the event moved to the Stadium course, 14 different players in their 20s have won, including last year’s champion Rickie Fowler.  The list is impressive: Jerry Pate in 1982, Hal Sutton in 1983, Fred Couples in 1984, Sandy Lyle in 1987, Jodie Mudd in 1990, Steve Elkington in 1991, Davis Love III in 1992, Justin Leonard in 1998, David Duval in 1999, Tiger Woods in 2001, Adam Scott in 2004, Sergio Garcia in 2008, Martin Kaymer in 2014 and Fowler last year.  Need I also bring up that guys like Craig Perks, Fred Funk, Henrik Stenson and Tim Clark have also won so anything can happen this week.

Course information:

The Players Stadium Course

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl.

7,215 yards     Par 36-36–72

TPC Sawgrass features a course rating of 76.8 and a slope rating from the back tees of 155. The tees and fairways are Celebration bermudagrass while the rough is 419 bermudaGrass.  The greens is Mini Verde Ultrdwarf which has become very popular in the Southeast. The course was the 18th hardest course on the PGA Tour in 2015 playing to an average of 72.08 and the 25th hardest course in 2014, playing to an average of 72.155, just over a tenth of a shot over par.  In 2013 Sawgrass was the 19th hardest course on the PGA Tour in 2013 playing to an average of 72.323, so just over a quarter of a shot over par.

 

Rank compared to

Year          Scoring avg     other courses

2015             72.083                   18th

2014              72.155                   25th

2013              72.323                   19th

2012              72.466                   19th

2011               72.000                 23rd

2010               71.804                  28th

2009               72.690                 12th

2008               74.286                  6th

2007                73.248                 12th

2006                 73.529                  7th

2005                  72.841                17th

2004                 73.004                12th

2003                  72.541                21st

2002                  73.500                3rd

2001                   73.536                3rd

2000                   74.451               2nd

  • Between 1998 and 2006 TPC Sawgrass played to a 73.491 average.  After 2007 to the present the course played to a 72.752 average.  Why the three quarters of a shot difference?  Because the course changed from being played in March, the windy part of the year in Ponte Vedra to May which see’s calmer days.  So the course is playing a lot easier than when the event was played in March.
  • The course opened in 1981 and hosted The Players Championship in 1982.  That year the course was very “raw” with a lot of complaints from the players that the greens and landing areas had too much slope.  Winds in the early days didn’t help ease the pain of the mounds, but over the years improvements have made the course more “player-friendly”.
  • Over the years, the TPC Sawgrass has gone from a course the players didn’t care much about to one of the most loved, but toughest courses on Tour.  With the advent of the Players moving to May, the course went through an extensive renovation in 2007 in which all of the grass on the tees, fairways and greens were stripped off with a new drainage and irrigation system placed underneath. The greens were built with a sub-air system just like the one at Augusta National, which can control firmness in any weather conditions.
  • At the same time, 122 yards was added to the course and the rough is now Bermuda instead of rye.
  • With all of this, plus the new clubhouse, it gave the Players a new dimension in making it one of the best tournaments in the world, with the possibility of it one day being considered a major.
  • A couple of things to be know, the average green size is 4,500 which is small and makes the targets harder.  With small greens that places more emphasis on shotmaking, but you have to be good in getting it up and down.  Water is on all 18 holes, but for the pro’s only comes into play on 11 holes. There are a total of 93 bunkers around the course along with a lot of waste areas in the fairways.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at the TPC Sawgrass:

This is based on the most important stats for TPC Sawgrass, based on data from last years Players Championship, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2016. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four catagories.
The scoring average of the field at TPC Sawgrass in 2015 was 72.08, so with par being 72 that means the average score was just a bit over par, making TPC Sawgrass the 18th hardest course to score on in 2015. The course is very unique and the weather has a lot to do with it. It’s about a mile from the Atlantic and if the wind blows, it plays very tough. Each hole is challenging with water on every one of them, but water becomes a hazard on 11 holes, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9,11, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18. Bunkering is also hard along with chipping as most of the greens are raised so a hot missing a green is an adventure getting it up and down.
In looking at our four categories, they are all related certain areas of the game. Our first is Strokes Gained tee to green, the course ranked T21st on tour in 2015, but it’s important for the players to hit it good from tee to green. This stat proved important in Rickie Fowler’s win, he ranked 5th in his victory last year.
Next important is Proximity to hole, last year TPC Sawgrass ranked T-11th in this stat with the average shot 37 feet, one inch from the hole. For Fowler he was T-3rd in this stat getting the ball an average of 30 feet, six inches.
Our third important stat is scrambling, because the the contours of the greens and the tough bunkering this is key. Last year TPC Sawgrass ranked 17th as Fowler was 10th in this stat.
Last is Strokes Gained Putting, this doesn’t have a tour average but Fowler was 20th in this stat.

*Strokes Gained tee-to-green: Course may have only been 25th hardest on tour, but you need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lot’s of greens. So this is important to find a player that will do this

*Proximity to hole: Hitting greens is important, last year Quail Hollow ranked 12th, but in proximity to hole, which tells how close players get to the hole, Quail Hollow ranked 6th as the players averaged getting it 40 feet.

*Scrambling: The percent of time a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better.

*Strokes Gained Putting: The number of putts a player takes from a specific distance is measured against a statistical baseline to determine the player’s strokes gained or lost on a hole.

Players from this year’s field with stats from 2016:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

For the rest of the players, hit this link:

A look at the winners of the Players:

29 have won the 34 Players Championship since the event moved to it’s  permanent home of TPC Sawgrass.  Of those 29 players they have…

  • Played in 12,534 PGA Tour events in their careers
  • Won a total of $700.6 million dollars
  • With a total of $51.4 million being won at the Players
  • The 29 have won a total of 385 win on the PGA Tour
  • While 17 of the 29 won a total of 40 major championships
  • Six of the 29 are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Seven of the 29 winners spent a total of 1,088 weeks as world number one.
  • (Woods 683, Norman 311, Price 44, Couples 16, Duval 15, Scott 11 and Kaymer 8)
  • Of the winners of the Players only two won their first event at the Players, Craig Perks and Tim Clark. For Perks it was his only win on the PGA Tour while Clark won again four years later.
  • Of the 29 winners, these eight did it on their second start: Adam Scott, Fred Couples, Hal Sutton, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Stephen Ames and Steve Elkington.
  • Only two made the Players their last PGA Tour victory: Jerry Pate and K.J. Choi

Talking about the World Rankings it’s interesting to note that since 2007 when the Players moved from a March to May date of those events on the PGA Tour (taking out WGC events & FedEx Cup events)

Average rankingAverage ranking

Event                          week before           week after win

The Players                         22                              11

U.S. Open                           23                               8

Masters                               24                               8

Arnold Palmer                     27                               13

PGA Championship            29                                9

Dean & Deluca (Colonial)    30                               18

British Open                        33                               10

Hyundai T of Champions    34                               18

In talking about those that have won at the Players, it’s interesting to note that the new-breed of winners, those at the top of the world rankings seem to struggle at the Players.  Of the top-ten, only #4 Rickie Fowler, #6 Henrik Stenson and #7 Adam Scott have won at TPC Sawgrass.  Here is what has happened to the other seven:

Player              Player starts Top-ten    missed cut   Best finish

Jason Day                  5                1              3             T-6, 2011

Jordan Spieth            2                 1              1             T-4, 2014

Rory McIlroy              6                  3              3             T-6, 2014

Bubba Watson           8                 0              3   T-37, 2009 & ‘13

Dustin Johnson          7                0              2             T34, 2010

Danny Willett              1                0              1               Cut, 2015

Justin Rose               12                1              6               T-4, 2014

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Players Championship:

Key stat for the winner:

Craig Perks blew the greatest stat the tournament had going for it with his win in 2002.  Before his victory, nobody had ever won the Players without a win on the PGA Tour.  On top of that since 1982 when the players switch to the Stadium course their have been 29 different winners with 17 of them winning 40 major championships. Still the fact is if the course is dry and firm without rain hampering it the cream always rises to the top.   Just look at the list of champions at TPC Sawgrass, Sutton, Couples, Kite, Love, Norman, Leonard, Garcia, Duval, Mickelson and Woods. Not a bad list.  But the one thing they have in common is firm and fast conditions so if that happens this year look for a marquee winner.  Oh Craig Perks has some company as Tim Clark became the second player to win for the first time at the Players Championship.

Totally useless stat:

One of the biggest oddities of The Players Championship is the fact that nobody has ever repeated as champion. If you go back and look at all the tournaments that started before 1998, the only other one like this is was the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee which is no longer played.  Six players have won this event multiple times, but none in consecutive years. Nicklaus is the only three-time winner (1974, 1976, 978). Two-time winners include Tiger Woods (2001, 2013), Steve Elkington (1991, 1997), Hal Sutton (1983, 2000), Fred Couples (1984, 1996) and Davis Love III (1992, 2003).

The most unusual winner of the Players has to be Sandy Lyle who won it in a playoff in 1987.  We say unusual because of his 13 starts he only made three cuts, his win in 1987, a T74th in 1994 and a T70th in 1997.  Now Craig Perks only made two cuts in six tries but after winning the 2002 Players he finished T17th the next year.

So what does it take to win at the Players?

  • Going back to 2000, every winner but five has been in the top-10 of greens hit category and five of them have led (Sergio Garcia-2008, Stephen Ames-2006, Fred Funk-2005, Adam Scott-2004, Hal Sutton-2000). In 2012 Matt Kuchar was T3rd in hitting 53 of the 72 greens, in 2013 Tiger Woods was also T3rd hitting 55 of 72 greens.  In 2014 Martin Kaymer also finished 3rd, hitting 54 of 72 greens. But last year Rickie Fowler had the worst greens hit performance of any champion going back to 1997, he hit only 45 of 72 greens and ranked T-51st.
  • Great putting is a must for the week. The greens are always tough and fast and historically players have had a tough time making putts inside of ten feet.  In looking at the rankings, last year TPC Sawgrass was the 28th hardest course in making putts inside of ten feet with an average of 88.03%. In the past, number of putts hasn’t been the key as between 2004 and 2010 nobody was in the top-ten in number of putts made. K.J. Choi broke that streak finishing T6th in 2011 with only 108 putts, while Kuchar was T5th in 2012 with 110 putts.  In 2013 Tiger Woods was T35th taking 114 putts while in 2014 Martin Kaymer also took 114 putts which ranked T38th.  Last year Rickie Fowler was T-2nd taking only 106 putts.
  • Scrambling is important, no matter how well a player does he will still miss greens and have to be able to get it up and down to win.  Last year TPC Sawgrass was the 17th hardest course to get it up and down as the field averaged getting it up and down 55.41%  There are a lot of tough chips on this course and it will take a lot of chip and runs instead of pitching it in the air.
  • As of right now there are are 25 first-time participants at this year’s Players Championship. Six of this season’s PGA Tour winners, Emiliano Grillo, Fabian Gomez, Jim Herman, Peter Malnati, Smylie Kaufman and Tony Finau, headlining the group. Several additional international players, including Andy Sullivan (England), Byeong-Hun An (South Korea), Carlos Ortiz (Mexico), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Matthew Fitzpatrick (England), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Spain) and Si Woo Kim (South Korea), will also make their first appearance at THE PLAYERS. Others to visit TPC Sawgrass to compete for the first time include Andres Gonzales, Hudson Swafford, Jon Curran, Kyle Reifers, Patton Kizzire, Scott Pinckney, Steve Wheatcroft, Will Wilcox, Zac Blair, Jamie Lovemark, Harold Varner III and Patrick Rodgers.
  • Lastly the last three holes are the most talked over holes in golf.  They all represent their own challenges, problems and drama as water plays a prominent role.  Since 2003, 1,585 balls have gotten wet on the three holes, compare this to holes 1 thru 15 that have had a total of 1,519 balls in the water.  The 17th has the most with 598, the 18th has seen 584 go in the water while the 16th has seen 403 balls in the water.  So in doing the math, these three holes have been played 5,664 times with 1,585 in the water for a 33.9% average.  So the chances of getting your ball wet on those holes on any given round is a shade over 3 in 10.

Here is how the last eight winners of the Players did on the final three holes in their final rounds:

Year – Player            16th hole   17th hole   18th hole

2007 – Phil Mickelson   Par             Par           Bogey

2008 – Sergio Garcia    Par             Par             Par

2009 – Henrik Stenson Birdie          Par             Par

2010 – Tim Clark            Par            Par             Par

2011 – K.J. Choi             Par         Birdie            Par

2012 – Matt Kuchar       Birdie      Bogey           Par

2013 – Tiger Woods      Birdie         Par             Par

2014 – Martin Kaymer    Par           Par             Par

2015 – Rickie Fowler     Eagle       Birdie           Birdie

Since hole by hole records have been kept, here is a summary on how the winners fared on the final three holes in the final round:

  • 16th hole – Winner has never made higher than a par, with four eagles (last was Rickie Fowler last year), ten birdies (last was Tiger Woods in 2013) and 18 pars
  • 17th hole – Winner has birdied the hole ten times (last was Rickie Fowler last year), par has been made 20 times and three bogeys on the hole (last was Matt Kuchar in 2012).
  • 18th hole – Only four times has the winner birdied 18, Sandy Lyle in 1987, Steve Elkington in both 1991 & ’97 and Rickie Fowler in 2015.  21 times has the winner made par while 8 times the champion made bogey, the last being Phil Mickelson in 2007.

Here is a look at how the last eight winners of the Players have done on 16, 17 and 18 in their winning years:

 

Year – Player              16th hole        17th hole       18th hole

                                    Avg   to par     avg to par      avg    to par

2007 – Phil Mickelson    4.00    -4        3.00   Even      4.00     Even

2008 – Sergio Garcia      4.25      -3      3.75      +3      4.25       +1

2009 – Henrik Stenson   4.75      -1      3.00     Even    4.25       +1

2010 – Tim Clark             4.50      -2     3.00     Even    4.00    Even

2011 – K.J. Choi              4.75      -1     2.75       -1       3.75       -1

2012 – Matt Kuchar         4.50     -2      3.25       +1       4.00      Even

2013 – Tiger Woods         4.00     -4      3.00     Even     4.25        +1

2014 – Martin Kaymer     5.00   Even     2.75       -1       4.25        +1

2015 – Rickie Fowler       4.50     -2       2.25       -3       3.75         -1

 

 

 

 

 

Who to watch for at the The Players Championship

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T8 T6 T8 CUT CUT CUT

Was a time that he had a terrible time on this course, but in hos last three starts has three top-tens. Played well at Wells Fargo, only a matter of time before he wins again, could be this week.

Sergio Garcia

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T2 3 T8 T56 T12 T47 T22 Win 2 T14 T32 T53

Always seems to contend on this course, has six top-ten finishes and five of them have come when the tournament moved to May. He is a great ball striker and scrambler, always keys to playing well on this course.

Patrick Reed

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T24 CUT

This is a course that he can play well on, it’s a lot like Doral were he won a couple of years ago.

Best of the rest:

Jordan Spieth

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T4

First time back after his Masters collapse, you have to think he is looking to make good of what happened. He tends to do well when taking time off, should be good this week.

Rickie Fowler

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
Win T77 CUT T2 CUT CUT

Another looking for redemption for his poor final round at Wells Fargo, Rickie showed lot’s of flair last year and could do the same this year.

Justin Rose

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T4 CUT T51 T45 CUT T22 CUT CUT CUT T58

Game has improved, he was T-10th at the Masters and 3rd last week at Wells Fargo.

Hideki Matsuyama

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T17 T23

Guy could be a very good pick, has won on a TPC course, played well last week in Charlotte and was T-7th at the Masters

Solid contenders

Phil Mickelson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT CUT CUT T25 T33 T17 T55 T21 Win T14 T40 T3

Yes he has missed his last three cuts at the Players and not played well since winning in 2007, but his game is sharp and if he gets a bit of luck could win.

Jason Day

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T19 CUT T6 CUT

I really wonder about him this week, has only played well once at TPC Sawgrass, this may be a course that doesn’t suit him.

Adam Scott

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T38 T38 T19 T15 CUT T26 CUT T54 T6 T53 T8 Win

Another player that hasn’t done well at Sawgrass since 2007 but he has won here and has had a good year.

Branden Grace

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T42 T48

This guy could very easily win this week, has the game for TPC and has been playing well.

Long shots that could come through:

Chris Kirk

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T13 T13 T55 T51 CUT

Has played well at TPC Sawgrass and played well of late.

Patton Kizzire

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Each year some off the wall player seems to be in contention on Sunday, could it be this player who has never played in this event.

Jamie Lovemark

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Another guy on a roll and someone that is playing for the first time and could do well.

I just can’t see it:

Dustin Johnson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T69 T59 WD T57 T34 T79 CUT

Has played great this year but has never played very well at TPC Sawgrass.

Bubba Watson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T42 T48 T37 T45 CUT T37 CUT CUT

Has never played well at TPC Sawgrass and don’t see that changing this week.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.