The Players Championship

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The Players Championship
Tournament information
Location Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Established 1974, 47 years ago
Course(s) TPC at Sawgrass,
Stadium Course
Par 72
Length 7,215 yards (6,597 m)
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Format Stroke play
Prize fund $10 million
Month played May
Tournament record score
Aggregate 264 Greg Norman (1994)
To par −24 Greg Norman (1994)
Current champion
Australia Jason Day
2016 Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass is located in USA
TPC Sawgrass
TPC Sawgrass
Location in the United States
TPC Sawgrass is located in Florida
TPC Sawgrass
TPC Sawgrass
Location in Florida

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, it began in 1974.[1] The Players Championship offers the highest prize fund of any tournament in golf ($10 million in 2015).[2] The field usually includes the top 50 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.[3][4]


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, for which 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 five-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:

  1. Winners of PGA Tour events since last Players
  2. Top 125 from previous season's FedEx Cup points list
  3. Top 125 from current season - Medical Extension
  4. Major champions from the past five years
  5. Players Championship winners from the past five years
  6. WGC winners from the past three years
  7. The Tour Championship winners from the past three years
  8. Top 50 from the Official World Golf Ranking
  9. Senior Players champion from prior year
  10. Tour money leader from prior season
  11. Money leader during the Tour Finals, if not the regular-season money leader
  12. Top 10 current year FedEx Cup points leaders
  13. Remaining positions and alternates filled through current year FedEx Cup standings

Since 2015, winners of the Memorial Tournament and the Arnold Palmer Invitational earned invitations to the next three Players Championships.


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, with the final round in early September.[1] It moved to the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1975 and to Inverrary Country Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1976 and earlier in the season, finishing in early March.[5] Beginning in 1977, the event was played at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida in mid-March,[6] initially at Sawgrass Country Club's Oceanside Course (a combination of the "East" and "West" 9-hole courses). Since 1982,[7][8] the tournament has been played across the road from Sawgrass Country Club, on the Stadium Course at TPC at Sawgrass.[4]

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).[9]

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.)[10][11][12] 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 goes to sudden-death on the same three holes, starting at the 17th, the 18th, the 16th, and repeating thereafter until one player's score is lower.[13] The format was first used in 2015.

Tournament venue

Years Venue Location
1982–present TPC Sawgrass Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
1977–1981 Sawgrass Country Club Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
1976 Inverrary Country Club Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1975 Colonial Country Club Fort Worth, Texas
1974 Atlanta Country Club Marietta, Georgia


The Players Championship
Year Player Country Score To par Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up 1st prize ($) Purse ($)
2016 Jason Day  Australia 273 -15 4 strokes United States Kevin Chappell 1,890,000 10,500,000
2015 Rickie Fowler  United States 276 −12 Playoff Spain Sergio García
United States Kevin Kisner
1,800,000 10,000,000
2014 Martin Kaymer  Germany 275 −13 1 stroke United States Jim Furyk 1,800,000 10,000,000
2013 Tiger Woods (2)  United States 275 −13 2 strokes Sweden David Lingmerth
United States Jeff Maggert
United States Kevin Streelman
1,710,000 9,500,000
2012 Matt Kuchar  United States 275 −13 2 strokes United States Ben Curtis
United States Rickie Fowler
United States Zach Johnson
Scotland Martin Laird
1,710,000 9,500,000
2011 K. J. Choi  South Korea 275 −13 Playoff United States David Toms 1,710,000 9,500,000
2010 Tim Clark  South Africa 272 −16 1 stroke Australia Robert Allenby 1,710,000 9,500,000
2009 Henrik Stenson  Sweden 276 −12 4 strokes England Ian Poulter 1,710,000 9,500,000
2008 Sergio García  Spain 283 −5 Playoff United States Paul Goydos 1,710,000 9,500,000
2007 Phil Mickelson  United States 277 −11 2 strokes Spain Sergio García 1,620,000 9,000,000
2006 Stephen Ames  Canada 274 −14 6 strokes South Africa Retief Goosen 1,440,000 8,000,000
2005 Fred Funk  United States 279 −9 1 stroke England Luke Donald
United States Tom Lehman
United States Scott Verplank
1,440,000 8,000,000
2004 Adam Scott  Australia 276 −12 1 stroke Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington 1,440,000 8,000,000
2003 Davis Love III (2)  United States 271 −17 6 strokes United States Jay Haas
Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington
1,170,000 6,500,000
2002 Craig Perks  New Zealand 280 −8 2 strokes Trinidad and Tobago Stephen Ames 1,080,000 6,000,000
2001 Tiger Woods  United States 274 −14 1 stroke Fiji Vijay Singh 1,080,000 6,000,000
2000 Hal Sutton (2)  United States 278 −10 1 stroke United States Tiger Woods 1,080,000 6,000,000
1999 David Duval  United States 285 −3 2 strokes United States Scott Gump 900,000 5,000,000
1998 Justin Leonard  United States 278 −10 2 strokes United States Glen Day
United States Tom Lehman
720,000 4,000,000
1997 Steve Elkington (2)  Australia 272 −16 7 strokes United States Scott Hoch 630,000 3,500,000
1996 Fred Couples (2)  United States 270 −18 4 strokes Scotland Colin Montgomerie
United States Tommy Tolles
630,000 3,500,000
1995 Lee Janzen  United States 283 −5 1 stroke Germany Bernhard Langer 540,000 3,000,000
1994 Greg Norman  Australia 264 −24 4 strokes United States Fuzzy Zoeller 450,000 2,500,000
1993 Nick Price  Zimbabwe 270 −18 5 strokes Germany Bernhard Langer 450,000 2,500,000
1992 Davis Love III  United States 273 −15 4 strokes Australia Ian Baker-Finch
United States Phil Blackmar
England Nick Faldo
United States Tom Watson
324,000 1,800,000
1991 Steve Elkington  Australia 276 −12 1 stroke United States Fuzzy Zoeller 288,000 1,600,000
1990 Jodie Mudd  United States 278 −10 1 stroke United States Mark Calcavecchia 270,000 1,500,000
1989 Tom Kite  United States 279 −9 1 stroke United States Chip Beck 243,000 1,350,000
1988 Mark McCumber  United States 273 −15 4 strokes United States Mike Reid 225,000 1,250,000
Tournament Players Championship
1987 Sandy Lyle  Scotland 274 −14 Playoff United States Jeff Sluman 180,000 1,000,000
1986 John Mahaffey  United States 275 −13 1 stroke United States Larry Mize 162,000 900,000
1985 Calvin Peete  United States 274 −14 3 strokes United States D. A. Weibring 162,000 900,000
1984 Fred Couples  United States 277 −11 1 stroke United States Lee Trevino 144,000 800,000
1983 Hal Sutton  United States 283 −5 1 stroke United States Bob Eastwood 126,000 700,000
1982 Jerry Pate  United States 280 −8 2 strokes United States Brad Bryant
United States Scott Simpson
90,000 500,000
1981 Raymond Floyd  United States 285 −3 Playoff United States Barry Jaeckel
United States Curtis Strange
72,000 400,000
1980 Lee Trevino  United States 278 −10 1 stroke United States Ben Crenshaw 72,000 400,000
1979 Lanny Wadkins  United States 283 −5 5 strokes United States Tom Watson 72,000 400,000
1978 Jack Nicklaus (3)  United States 289 +1 1 stroke United States Lou Graham 60,000 300,000
1977 Mark Hayes  United States 289 +1 2 strokes United States Mike McCullough 60,000 300,000
1976 Jack Nicklaus (2)  United States 269 −19 3 strokes United States J. C. Snead 60,000 300,000
1975 Al Geiberger  United States 270 −10 3 strokes United States Dave Stockton 50,000 250,000
1974 Jack Nicklaus  United States 272 −16 2 strokes United States J. C. Snead 50,000 250,000

Note: Green highlight indicates scoring records.

Multiple winners

Six players have won the tournament more than once:

Tournament highlights

Phil Mickelson with the 2007 Player Championship trophy
  • 1974: Jack Nicklaus wins the inaugural edition of the tournament. He beats J.C. Snead by two shots near Atlanta.[16]
  • 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.[17]
  • 1978: Jack Nicklaus wins his third Tournament Players Championship title. He edges Lou Graham by one shot.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.[21]
  • 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.[7][8]
  • 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.[22]
  • 1984: Fred Couples shoots a course record 64[23] during the second round of play on his way to a one-shot victory over Lee Trevino.[24]
  • 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.[25]
  • 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.[10][11][12]
  • 1988: Jacksonville area resident Mark McCumber wins by four shots over Mike Reid.[26]
  • 1989: Tom Kite wins for the second consecutive week. He beats Chip Beck by one shot.[27]
  • 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.[28]
  • 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.[29]
  • 1994: Greg Norman shoots the 72-hole record score for the tournament, 264, on his way to a four shot victory over Fuzzy Zoeller.[30]
  • 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.[31]
  • 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.[32]
  • 1999: David Duval wins by two shots over Scott Gump. The win by Duval propels him to #1 in the World rankings.[33]
  • 2000: Hal Sutton wins at the TPC at Sawgrass for a second time. He edges Tiger Woods by one shot.[34]
  • 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.[35]
  • 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.[36]
  • 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.[37]
  • 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.[38]
  • 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.[39]
  • 2013: Roberto Castro ties the course record with a 9-under 63 in the opening round.[40] Sergio García, tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 13-under going to the 17th par-3, puts two 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 prevented 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).[41] Kaymer would go on to win wire-to-wire.
  • 2015: Following a three-way tie at 12-under par in regulation play, the tournament's first aggregate three-hole playoff over holes 16–18 was conducted between Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner and Sergio García. Kisner and Fowler both went par-birdie-par to end the playoff at 1-under par, while García could only muster three pars to finish at even par and was thus eliminated. The playoff continued into sudden death starting at the 17th, where both Kisner and Fowler had birdie opportunities. Kisner's birdie try from about 12 feet was unsuccessful, while Fowler's effort, inside of five feet, dropped home for the victory.[42]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Biggers, Don (June 23, 1974). "Move over 'big four,' here comes another". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. p. 1C.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Crouse, Karen (May 7, 2013). "Men's Fifth Major May Remain Mythical". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Inverrary event wants to join pro golf's 'big four'". Boca Raton News. Florida. UPI. February 24, 1976. p. 7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Murray, Jim (March 28, 1977). "Pro golf heavyweights can't duck Sawgrass course". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. (Los Angeles Times). p. 5C.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Boswell, Tom (March 22, 1982). "Splish, splash! Pate is the winner with a wet, wild finish". Milwaukee Journal. (Washington Post). p. 3, part 3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Beaman, Dye celebrate with Pate". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. March 22, 1982. p. 15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Lyle wins TPC in extra holes". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. March 30, 1987. p. 3, part 2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Fowler, Bob (March 30, 1987). "Fan's dive kept Lyle afloat". Spokane Chronicle. (Orlando Sentinel). p. C2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 White, Gordon S., Jr. (March 30, 1987). "Lyle wins T.P.C. in playoff". New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Martin, Sean (April 16, 2014). "The Players Championship announces change to playoff format". PGA Tour. Retrieved April 16, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. The Players Championship – Winners – at
  15. The Players Championship – Winners – at
  16. 'Hungry' Nicklaus wins
  17. Hayes uses wind in surprising win over talented field
  18. Nicklaus not up to par
  19. Wadkins survives elements to win by five-strokes
  20. Trevino tames Sawgrass
  21. Record payoff for Floyd
  22. Sutton gets lucky to win rich tour players' toruney
  23. Couples shoots 64 to take lead of two strokes
  24. Fred Couples shows he can handle the pressure
  25. Mahaffey tops $2-million
  26. McCumber wins, sets record
  27. Players champion flying high
  28. Breakfast club putting advice gives Elkington the Players title
  29. "Love conquers all to win Players Championship". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. March 30, 1992.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Norman storms to record in Players Championship
  31. Zullo, Allan, "Astonishing but True Golf Facts", Andrew McMeels Publishing, Forest Fairview, North Carolina, 2001.
  32. Couples finishes too strong to win Players Championship
  33. Perfect weekend for Duval
  34. Sutton holds on for one-stroke victory
  35. Perks wins Players Championships
  36. Love's incredible round of golf wins Players Championship
  37. Scott survives 18 to win Players Championship
  38. "Funk wins Players: Donald falls back as tournament hits home stretch". Sports Illustrated. March 28, 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. Choi wins Players Championship
  40. DiMeglio, Steve (May 9, 2013). "Roberto Castro ties course record at Sawgrass with 63". USA Today. Retrieved May 13, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. "Players Championship: Martin Kaymer leads after first round". BBC Sport. May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. "Rickie Fowler rallies, overcomes 2 in playoff to claim Players". ESPN. Associated Press. May 10, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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