Below we take a look from the first ever PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass to some of the most recent performances by the best golfers on the planet.
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Top 10 TPC Sawgrass 17th Hole Moments
10. Out for a Swim – 1982
On the eve of the first ever PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass, Jerry Pate told reporters that he’d jump in the lake at 18 due to the difficulty of the course. He also noted that he’d take former commissioner Deane Beman and course architect Pete Dye in there with him.
Pate shot a final round 67 to erase a three-shot deficit in the final round. He secured a two-shot victory over Scott Simpson and Brad Bryant. He held up his end of the bargain, throwing Beman and Dye in first before diving into the water himself.
9. Spain for the Win – 2008
Sergio Garcia won the PLAYERS in 2008 in a playoff against Paul Goydos. He made par for the win, while Goydos made double bogey. Long considered the fifth major of the PGA Tour, it wound up to be Garcia’s signature victory. He has not won a major in his career, but he at least has a PLAYERS title under his belt.
8. Did he? Did he? He did! – 2014
Martin Kaymer hit a clutch 28-foot putt to save par on the 17th hole. It was very difficult to read the putt since visibility was low due to darkness. Plenty of luck was needed for Kaymer to make par. The ball started on a straight line and by the middle of its travel, it was evident that it would go in. A perfect putt for par gave the PLAYERS Championship to Kaymer.
7. Hole-in-Three – 1999
Fan favorited Fred Couples stepped to the tee on the world-famous par 3, island-green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. Like many before him, Couples splashed his tee shot into the water. Nothing special there, almost everybody does it. What happened next was unbelievable. He re-teed, hit his third shot directly into the hole on the fly for the most unlikely of pars.
Couples shot a 77 in that round. If he didn’t make that shot, he probably would have missed the cut. Three days later, he finished fourth.
6. Hole-in-One – 1997
Fred Couples is amazing. Simply amazing. He hit a hole-in-three in 1999, but before that, he had another unlikely shot. He hit a hole-in-one on the daunting 17th hole in 1997. There’s nothing much to say here than wow. It was a hole-in-one.
5. Greatest Flunk – 2013
Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods absolutely despise each other. The two were embroiled in a heated argument in the media center at the 2013 PLAYERS Championship. The Spaniard felt that Woods had distracted him during the round, labeling him “not the nicest guy to play with on Tour.”
The two were locked in a final-round battle, but they were in separate groups. Garcia had the chance to capture a second PLAYERS title in the past six years. But he folded under the pressure at the 17th by dumping two balls in the lake to gift Woods a second PLAYERS title.
4. Fowler’s Big One – 2015
Rickie Fowler was seen as an underachiever heading into the 2015 PLAYERS Championship. He proved his worth in the heralded even, producing the greatest finish at TPC Sawgrass. He finished birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie for a five-under 67 to force the tournament’s first ever three-hole playoff with Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia.
Fowler not only dominated the feared 17th hole, he owned it every time he was asked. He birdied the hole once in regulation play and once more in the three-man playoff. He birdied it again against Kisner in sudden death, firing his wedge to within six feet of the cup for the tournament-winning shot.
3. One for the Underdog – 2002
Craig Perks winning the PLAYERS in 2002 was the equivalent of Leicester City winning the Premier League this year. Perks needed one putt on the final three holes to get the job done after surrendering a one shot lead in the final round. He played the first 15 holes in three-over before he faced the 16th, the vaunted 17th and the 18th holes.
Johnny Miller said it was the three greatest hole outs he’d ever seen. Perks chipped in for eagle at 16, buried a birdie bomb from 40 feet on 17 and holed out once more for par at the back of the 18th green. It proved to be Perks’ lone career title.
2. The Feisty Seagull – 1998
You have to be extremely lucky to find dry land at the 17th hole of TPC Sawgrass. Steve Lowery did so in 1998, but that’s just as far as his luck would take him. His tee shot found dry land but was stolen by a seagull. The bird moved the ball around, picked and wedged it in its mouth before eventually dunking it in the lake.
Luckily, the rules suggest that the ball was moved by an outside agency. Lowery was allowed to hit it at the same spot the seagull found it.
1. Better than Most – 2001
Tiger Woods has had plenty of extraordinary shots in his long and illustrious career. But few rival his beautiful putt on the infamous 17th green during the third round of the PLAYERS Championship in 2001. Woods faced a 60-foot downhill putt for a birdie with three breaks of slope to decipher. He read the putt and sunk it in to perfection.
The ball moved far to the left, then followed the slopes precisely when it needed to move it into the hole on a perfect arc. It also produced one of the most memorable calls in golf commentary, as his putt was called to have been better than most.
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