PGA Tour
PGA - THE PLAYERS Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, May 10th through Sunday, May 13th
SITE: TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course), Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
COURSE ARCHITECT: Pete Dye (1980, redesign/renovation, 2006)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,215
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 423 Yds10 - Par 4 424 Yds
2 - Par 5 532 Yds11 - Par 5 558 Yds
3 - Par 3 177 Yds12 - Par 4 358 Yds
4 - Par 4 384 Yds13 - Par 3 181 Yds
5 - Par 4 471 Yds14 - Par 4 481 Yds
6 - Par 4 393 Yds15 - Par 4 449 Yds
7 - Par 4 442 Yds16 - Par 5 523 Yds
8 - Par 3 237 Yds17 - Par 3 137 Yds
9 - Par 5 583 Yds18 - Par 4 462 Yds
--------------------------
36 3,642 Yds36 3,573 Yds
 
Annual:  39th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 1-7 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 12-2 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Saturday/Sunday -- 2-7 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  K.J. Choi
Runner-Up:  David Toms
Tournament Record:  264 (Greg Norman, 1994)
54-Hole Record:  197 (Greg Norman, 1994)
36-Hole Record:  130 (Greg Norman, 1994)
Course Record:  63 (Fred Couples, 1992; Greg Norman, 1994)
Total Purse:  $9,500,000
Shares:  1st Place - $1,710,000; 2nd Place - $1,026,000; 3rd Place - $646,000
 
2011 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
K.J. Choi *275Aaron Baddeley279
David Toms275Jason Day279
Paul Goydos277Jason Dufner279
Luke Donald278J.B. Holmes279
Nick Watney278Hunter Mahan279
Alvaro Quiros279

* - Won in Playoff

 
Past THE PLAYERS Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011*K.J. Choi (275) -- David Toms
2010Tim Clark (272) -- Robert Allenby
2009Henrik Stenson (276) -- Ian Poulter
2008*Sergio Garcia (283) -- Paul Goydos
2007Phil Mickelson (277) -- Sergio Garcia
2006Stephen Ames (274) -- Retief Goosen
2005Fred Funk (279) -- Tom Lehman, Luke Donald, Scott Verplank
2004Adam Scott (276) -- Padraig Harrington
2003Davis Love III (271) -- Jay Haas, Padraig Harrington
2002Craig Perks (280) -- Stephen Ames
2001Tiger Woods (274) -- Vijay Singh
2000Hal Sutton (278) -- Tiger Woods
1999David Duval (285) -- Scott Gump
1998Justin Leonard (278) -- Tom Lehman, Glen Day
1997Steve Elkington (272) -- Scott Hoch
1996Fred Couples (270) -- Colin Montgomerie, Tommy Tolles
1995Lee Janzen (283) -- Bernhard Langer
1994Greg Norman (264) -- Fuzzy Zoeller
1993Nick Price (270) -- Bernhard Langer
1992Davis Love III (273) -- Ian Baker-Finch, Phil Blackmar, Nick Faldo,
Tom Watson
1991Steve Elkington (276) -- Fuzzy Zoeller
1990Jodie Mudd (278) -- Mark Calcavecchia
1989Tom Kite (279) -- Chip Beck
1988Mark McCumber (273) -- Mike Reid
1987*Sandy Lyle (274) -- Jeff Sluman
1986John Mahaffey (275) -- Larry Mize
1985Calvin Peete (274) -- D.A. Weibring
1984Fred Couples (277) -- Lee Trevino
1983Hal Sutton (283) -- Bob Eastwood
1982Jerry Pate (280) -- Brad Bryant, Scott Simpson
1981*Ray Floyd (285) -- Barry Jaeckel, Curtis Strange
1980Lee Trevino (278) -- Ben Crenshaw
1979Lanny Wadkins (283) -- Tom Watson
1978Jack Nicklaus (289) -- Lou Graham
1977Mark Hayes (289) -- Mike McCullough
1976Jack Nicklaus (269) -- J.C. Snead
1975Al Geiberger (270) -- Dave Stockton
1974Jack Nicklaus (272) -- J.C. Snead

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Formerly called Tournament Players Championship (1974-87).

Top Contenders in the Field
Player2002200320042005200620072008200920102011
K.J. ChoiT-28mcT-42mcT-16T-23mcT-71T-34Won
David TomsT-19mcmcT-68mcT-64T-32T-9mc2nd
Nick Watney---------------mcT-63mcT-17T-4
Luke Donald---mcmcT-2mcT-16T-27T-37T-26T-4
Hunter Mahan---------T-40---mcwdT-71T-17T-6
Alvaro Quiros------------------------T-66T-6
Jason Dufner---------------------T-32mcT-6
Jason Day------------------------mcT-6
Davis Love IIImcWonT-33T-8mcT-75T-54mcT-4T-12
Zach Johnson---------T-8T-58T-16mcT-32T-22T-12
Sergio GarciaT-4mcT-53T-32T-142ndWonT-22T-47T-12
Steve StrickerT-19mcmc------T-52mcT-22---T-12
Sean O'Hair------------T-5811thmcmcT-22T-19
Martin Kaymer---------------------T-55T-34T-19
Phil MickelsonT-28---T-3T-40T-14WonT-21T-55T-17T-33
Graeme McDowell---------T-40---------78thT-26T-33
Jonathan Byrd---mcmcT-32mcT-16T-32T-37mcT-41
Ben Crane---mcT-66---T-36---T-6T-5T-4T-45
Justin Rose---T-39T-58mcmc---mcT-22mcT-45
Robert AllenbyT-11T-4T-33mcT-38mcT-42T-142ndT-50
Lucas Glover------------mcmcmcmc3rdT-50
Ben Curtis------mcmcmcmcT-42T-22T-66T-50
Matt KucharwdmcT-16---------mcT-14T-13T-54
Scott VerplankT-28T-8T-26T-2mcT-44mcT-49T-13T-54
Justin LeonardT-44T-21T-42mcmcmcmcT-32T-52T-57
Ian Poulter------T-33mcT-27T-28T-212ndmcT-57
Martin Laird---------------------T-71mcT-69
Webb Simpson---------------------mcmcT-69
Keegan Bradley---------------------------72nd
Francesco Molinari------------------------9thmc
Adam ScottmcT-17WonT-8T-53T-6T-54mcT-26mc
Bill Haas---------------T-72mcmcT-39mc
Henrik Stenson------------T-3T-23T-10Wonmcmc
Brandt Snedeker---------------T-12mc---mcmc
Rickie Fowler------------------------mcmc
D.A. Points------------------------mcmc
Louis Oosthuizen---------------------------mc
Tim Clark---T-21mcmcmcT-68mcT-9Wonwd
Tiger WoodsT-14T-11T-16T-53T-22T-37---8thwdwd
Lee Westwoodmc------T-22T-38---mc---T-4---
Rory McIlroy---------------------mcmc---
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Lee Westwood
Darkhorse - Louis Oosthuizen
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Phil Mickelson) - Finished tied for 26th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Ben Curtis) - Finished tied for 5th
 
NOTES:
The PGA Tour moves back to the state of Florida this week with the 39th edition of The Players Championship. Nine of the top-10 players in the world are competing for the chance to win the unofficial fifth major. World No. 4 and Masters champion Bubba Watson is the only top-10 player not in field. Watson is not playing so he can spend more time with his family.

Rory McIlroy is back on top of the world rankings after his tie for second last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. McIlroy has finished in the top five in six of seven events worldwide in 2012. World No. 2 Luke Donald and McIlroy have been trading the No. 1 ranking back and forth for the last two months.

This is the sixth straight year that this event is being held in May. The 2007 tournament marked the first time that the event had been moved from March since the first three years of the tournament. This event was held in September in 1974, August in 1975 and February in 1976 before moving to March.

Korean K.J. Choi will attempt to do something no one has ever done, capture back-to-back Players Championship titles. In recent years, the closest anyone has come was Hal Sutton, when he won the 2000 title and tied for fifth in 2001.

An international player has either won or finished second the last 11 years (seven wins). Since 1991, an international player has won 11 times (including the last four years), with nine seconds and three thirds.

Last year, Choi parred the first playoff hole, the famed island green 17th, to defeat David Toms. Both players finished regulation tied at 13-under 275. Choi became the first Asian-born player to win this championship. Choi became the sixth player over the age of 40 to win here, joining Stephen Ames (2006), Fred Funk (2005), Sutton (2000), Calvin Peete (1985) and Lee Trevino (1980).

In 2010, Tim Clark caught fire around the turn in the final round and scratched out a gutsy finish to finally capture his first PGA Tour win. The breakthrough victory came in Clark's 206th start on tour, a stretch that began when he played the 1998 Masters as an amateur. Clark, who shot a 67 on the last day, was one of only two players to break 70 during a difficult final round at TPC Sawgrass. He made just one bogey on the weekend to overcome a seven-shot deficit after 36 holes -- the largest comeback in tournament history over the final two rounds. Clark finished at 16-under-par 272 for a one-shot win over Robert Allenby. Davis Love III was the only player besides Clark to break 70 on Sunday, shooting a four-under 68 to share fourth place.

Clark joined Craig Perks (2002) as the only players to make this tournament their first PGA Tour victory. When Perks captured the 2002 title, he joined Sutton (1983) and Jack Nicklaus (1974) as the only players to win in their first appearance.

In 2009, Henrik Stenson fired a flawless, six-under 66 in the final round to become the first Swede to win. Stenson finished at 12-under 276 and won the title by four strokes over Ian Poulter. His five-stroke comeback in the final round matched Justin Leonard's record from 1998. Stenson posted the only bogey-free final round in 2009.

In 2006, Ames fired the lowest round of the day on Sunday, a five-under 67, to cruise to victory. He finished at 14-under-par 274 and won by six strokes over two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen. The six-shot win was the second largest margin of victory in tournament history - Steve Elkington won by seven in 1997. The Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass played very difficult in the final round in 2006. There were eight scores in the 80s, as opposed to just three in the 60s. That just made Ames' spectacular round and margin of victory all the more impressive.

Tom Kite holds the record for the most cuts made with 23. Tom Watson ranks second with 21. Watson and Nick Price are tied with the most career top-10 finishes with nine. In 2010, Jay Haas made his 29th start at this event, the most in tournament history. Haas has six top-10s, including four at the TPC Sawgrass (1986, 1996, 2003-04).

In 2005, Funk became the oldest winner ever at this event when he came from four shots back in the final round to defeat Tom Lehman, Donald and Scott Verplank by one shot. Funk -- 48 years, nine months and 18 days old when he won -- closed with a final round, one-under 71 to finish at nine-under-par 279.

During the third round in 2005, Bob Tway recorded a 12 on the 17th hole, the highest score in tournament history on the island green. Tway knocked four balls into the water, unseating Robert Gamez, who posted an 11 in 1990.

In 2004, Adam Scott became the youngest winner in tournament history at 23 years, eight months and 12 days. Fred Couples had been the youngest champion when he won in 1984 at 24 years, five months and 28 days.

Davis Love III joined a very select group when he captured the 2003 title. With his wins in 1992 and 2003, Love's name was added to the list of multiple winners, joining Steve Elkington, Couples, Nicklaus and Sutton. Nicklaus is a three-time champion, winning in 1974, '76 and '78; Sutton won in 1983 and 2000; Couples in 1984 and '96, and Elkington in 1991 and '97. Elkington is the only player to birdie the final hole for victory when he won in 1991. Mark Hayes and Nicklaus own the highest winning score in tournament history (289) - Hayes in 1977 and Nicklaus in 1978.

The TPC Sawgrass, designed by Pete Dye, has hosted this event 30 consecutive years. The tournament was first held in 1974 at Atlanta Country Club, followed by Colonial Country Club and Inverray Golf and Country Club prior to its move to the Jacksonville area. Sawgrass Country Club hosted the tournament from 1977-81.

The Players Stadium course was refurbished to create faster conditions prior to the 2007 championship. The fairways were stripped and layers of sand were added to help with drainage. The greens were rebuilt with sub-air systems underneath to assist with hydration and water removal in wet conditions. The original clubhouse was torn down and a larger building was constructed, as well as a new practice facility. In addition, the course was lengthened by 117 yards.

The PGA Tour travels to the Lone Star State next week, as Fort Worth, Texas will host the HP Byron Nelson Championship, where Keegan Bradley won last year.

05/08 15:31:19 ET

As of May 8, 2012, at 03:31 PM ET