When the strongest field in golf takes on the game’s greatest stadium, fans flock to beautiful Northeast Florida to experience the showcase of excellence on display at THE PLAYERS Championship. THE PLAYERS becomes the center of the sports world as the best players in the world gather to take on the purest test in golf, THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Favoring no one style of play, the course requires tremendous precision to win the PGA TOUR’s flagship event and become THE PLAYERS champion. Everything onsite is designed as a shrine to golf fans, giving every attendee a front row seat to the history that is made each year at THE PLAYERS.
Since 1974, when THE PLAYERS was first contested at Atlanta Country Club, the era’s best players have battled to take home the trophy. It’s fitting that the event’s inaugural winner was none other than Jack Nicklaus, the World Golf Hall of Famer who captured a tournament-record three PLAYERS titles in the first five years (1974, 1976 and 1978).
THE PLAYERS moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977 and five years later, the PGA TOUR’s flagship event found a permanent home at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Pete Dye’s masterpiece and golf’s original stadium. Jerry Pate won that first year and celebrated his 1982 triumph by diving into the lake next to the 18th hole, taking Dye and then-PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman with him.
That memorable moment has been followed by many others, including Hal Sutton’s “Be the right club today” shot from the fairway on the final hole to defeat Tiger Woods in 2000 and win THE PLAYERS for the second time, and Woods’ “Better than most” putt from 60-plus feet during the third round of his 2001 victory. History was made when 2015 winner Rickie Fowler played the final four holes at TPC Sawgrass with just 11 strokes, the best score on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course’s finishing holes. One year later, Jason Day continued a strong stretch of play by defeating the best field in golf, becoming just the fifth wire-to-wire winner in history of the event. In 2017, the par-4 12th was redesigned into a risk/reward, drivable par-4, and other improvements were made across the property. It was also announced that the tournament would move to March beginning in 2019.
Home to the PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS Championship, THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass has established itself as one of the premier tournament venues in all of golf.
THE PLAYERS Stadium Course was designed by renowned golf course architect Pete Dye. Since its inception, the course’s final three holes have evolved into the greatest risk/reward finish in golf, highlighted by the iconic 17th island green, one of the most recognized and photographed holes in the game.
Beginning immediately after THE PLAYERS 2016, the PGA TOUR embarked on a significant construction project to further elevate the world-class experience that is TPC Sawgrass and THE PLAYERS Championship. All greens at the Stadium Course were re-grassed with TifEagle Bermuda and some greens were modified; hole No. 12 was shortened to add more risk-reward shots; Nos. 6 and 7 were reshaped to make them more dramatic; and the practice grounds were enhanced.
Following THE PLAYERS Championship 2006, heavy equipment replaced golf carts on the greens as crews started the demolition process of the 25-year-old clubhouse. The changes, completed in May 2007, have elevated the reputation of TPC Sawgrass as a world-class resort.
The TPC Sawgrass clubhouse is an expansive, 77,000 square-foot Mediterranean Revival Style building, reminiscent of the history and architectural heritage of Northeast Florida. The clubhouse blends elegant, old-world charm with modern-day comforts and state-of-the-art technology, providing a one-of-a-kind setting for meetings and events of all sizes.
Fronted by a terraced-event lawn offering panoramic views of the ninth and 18th holes, the clubhouse is preceded by a magnificent Walk of Fame entryway and features displays depicting the history and legends of the PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS Championship.
In advance of THE PLAYERS 2017, the PGA TOUR made significant investments in the creation of an entry experience as grand as the clubhouse itself and befitting the world-class stature of THE PLAYERS; and upgrades to fan parking and routing to ensure the entire experience – from arrival to departure – is the best on TOUR.
Regardless of the name on the trophy at the end of THE PLAYERS, the true winners will always be the local charitable organizations that benefit from the tournament each year. Thanks to the support of the Northeast Florida community and the tournament’s Proud Partners—Morgan Stanley and Optum —THE PLAYERS has generated more than $92 million to First Coast charities since the event moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977, including a record $8.7 million in 2017.
“What THE PLAYERS has done on the charity front has been nothing short of spectacular for the Greater Jacksonville community,” said Commissioner Jay Monahan. “On behalf of the PGA TOUR, my thanks to the Proud Partners, the more than 2,000 volunteers that work tirelessly throughout the year and our fans for their tremendous support of THE PLAYERS.”
Making this positive impact on the community, however, would not be possible without the leadership of the tournament’s Red Coats and the hard work and dedication of the tremendous volunteer force. From parking cars, shuttling players and staffing the hospitality venues to keeping scores and statistics, volunteers at THE PLAYERS touch every aspect of the tournament.
Tournament volunteers not only help ensure a world-class event, but each year they also create new hope and opportunity in their local communities. This effort continues to prove that giving back is at the heart of the PGA TOUR.
When the best golfers in the world descend on Ponte Vedra Beach in early May for THE PLAYERS Championship, coverage is at an all-time high thanks to live telecasts on NBC and Golf Channel reaching more than 200 countries and territories around the world. In addition, digital platforms and radio broadcasts give fans myriad options to catch all the action THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass has to offer. In 2017, there was a strong presence onsite from Golf Channel, ESPN and Nickelodeon, making THE PLAYERS the center of the sporting world in early May.