2014 PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCE
Course: TPC at Sawgrass
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Most Championships: Jack Nicklaus (3)
Current Champion: Tiger Woods (2)
The Players Championship began in 1974 and was originally known as the Tournament Players Championship. The tournament is one of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour and is often referred to as the "fifth major," despite not having official major status. The tournament boasts the largest prize purse of any event on tour with a whopping $9.5 million, and is played each year in the month of May at the TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The Players Championship owes its lofty status to the competitive field that takes the course each year, as typically only the top 50 players in the world are invited to attend. As a result, the tournament has grown in stature and is one of the most highly anticipated PGA Tour events each spring that always seems to bring out the best in its competitors.
The inaugural event of The Players Championship was played in 1974 at Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, Ga., and bounced around the South many times throughout the end of the decade, being hosted in places like Fort Worth, Texas, and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., before finally settling at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., at the dazzling TPC at Sawgrass. The course has been ranked as high as No. 9 by Golfweek magazine on its list of the top golf courses in the U.S., and is conveniently located 12 miles from Jacksonville, Fla., and 20 miles north of St. Augustine. TPC at Sawgrass was designed by renowned golf course architect Pete Dye, and features a mix of tough terrain, water obstacles and vegetation that has undone even the world's best golfers. The course is known for its dynamic 17th hole, which features the final green on a small island surrounded by water hazards that ranks among the top final stretches on the PGA Tour.
In addition to its world-class golf experience, spectators who attend The Players Championship will have a chance to donate to a number of charitable causes that benefit the surrounding community. The tournament has raised more than $52 million for Northeast Florida charitable organizations since 1977, including a number of organizations that benefit the region's healthcare, youth education and other social services. The tournament went above and beyond in 2012 and raised a stunning $6.5 million for more than 300 charities.
The Players Championship has been home to some of the best moments on the PGA Tour in recent memory, with all-time great Jack Nicklaus with the most wins in the tourney's history with three. Other prominent golfers, like Davis Love III, Hal Sutton, Steve Elkington, Fred Couples and Tiger Woods, have won the tournament twice. However, the best round of golf at the event was Greg Norman's 1994 performance, when he set the aggregate record with an overall score of 264 and the to-par record with an impressive 24 under. The Players Championship's unique status among the golf community, large prize fund and competitive field rank it among the top events on the PGA Tour, and it's surely one of the highlights on the spring calendar.