In case you may have missed parts of the 2017 Players Championship Tournament, here are the major highlights I feel are worthy of mentioning. I was very fortunate to be in Ponte Verde for all four days as a spectator and a marshal. Let’s discuss some of the highlights of this great tournament.

Major Takeaways from the 2017 Players Championship Tournament

The weather was great as a spectator but rough for the golfers. At the TPC stadium course, it is always windy due to the proximity to the ocean. Typically, the early morning rounds have the advantage since the winds always pick up significantly in the afternoon. However, on Saturday and Sunday, the winds started in earnest about 10 am. While a cooling element for the spectators, it was tough for all the golfers.   

 The Good News

  • Soo Woo Kim won his biggest tournament so far in his young career. His bogey free 4th round took a lot of the drama around him and made it all irrelevant. In his last round, he just performed very well under pressure. His 16th, 17th and 18th holes showed the golfing world how he can perform when he is ‘in the zone’. Great golf!
  • Ian Poulter went from almost losing his tour card a few weeks ago to tying for 2nd place with great 3rd and 4th

 The “Hard to Believe” News

  • Jordon Spieth missed the cut with 2 rough rounds of golf.
  • Jayson Day, Graeme McDowell, and Justin Rose---all major winners, posted rounds in the 80’s.
  • JB Holmes was the leader after 54 holes but carded a final round 84 with two balls in the water on 17 for an 8.
  • Local favorite, Jim Furyk missed the cut with a 7 on 17 in the second round.
  • Both Jon Rahm and Matt Kuchar missed the 3rd round cut with 3rd round scores in the 80’s

 Playing the Challenging TPC Sawgrass Golf Course

The 12th hole was re-architected from an “average par 4” to suddenly a “drivable par 4” with water on the left to make it a great risk/reward hole. Unfortunately, most players were struggling with the various wind conditions and instead chose to play the 12 as layup par 4. Maybe next year!

  • The 16th hole is another great risk /reward par 5. This year the green was so firm in the first 2 rounds that we saw great 2nd shots bounce three times before hitting the green then roll off the back of the green into the water. Tough hole!
  • The “island green” signature 17th hole lived up to its infamous billing due to the swirling winds. I am sure that there were other tournaments that had a lot of balls in the water, but I don’t remember 1 hole utterly consume so many golfers in a tournament all four rounds.  
  • The 18th hole also proved difficult given the wind conditions. We saw many balls in the water on the left and for those who decided on a conservative approach and played to the right---many balls were pushed into the trees as many players misjudged the wind.

Many tournaments will talk about how a given player was “in the zone” for an entire tournament and won. Some tournaments are said to be won by “the course”. This year at The Players Championship, the winds were the biggest determining factor for both morning and afternoon rounds for the last two rounds. Very unusual. Soo Woo Kim did manage his game around the weather and what the course would give him. He deserved the victory.

 Over to you...

  • Next year, will you promise yourself to make some more time to watch The Players Championship to catch all the excitement?
  • Will you watch a tournament a bit more from the perspective of the wind?
  • Do you think the Pro’s will figure out a way to beat the 12th hole next year?

BTW, the tournament committee is always looking for marshals. It really is a great way to be a part of the tournament. I will remind you next January with a website if you would like to volunteer for the 2018 Players Championship. The best looking marshals are on Hole 5, join us!

What were the most exciting moments of the 2017 Players Championship Tournament for you ? Send me your comments…..


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