The Player’s Championship has been one of golf’s most illustrious and rewarding tournaments since its inception in 1974. Since its early days, it’s offered a large prize pool and plenty of accolades, and with the Player’s Championship 2018 recently wrapping up, what better time to look back at the history of this event and see what make it such a standout.
Meta: We look at the most recent results from The Players Championship 2018 and the history that made this one of golf’s most prestigious events.
When it comes to tournaments on the PGA Tour, not many come close to the excitement and prestige of the annual The Player’s Championship. Simply known as “The Players”, this title has offered winners the highest prize pool of any other tournament as this further adds to its prestige.
The 2018 Players Championship are well and truly over, but they didn’t disappoint in skill and excitement that we usually see. This tournament has been running since 1974 and over the years has been host to many historic moments in the sport and seen some of golf’s biggest and best names competing for the title.
Usually referred to as the unofficial ‘fifth major’ it’s no wonder that this prestigious course has such a history to brag about already. We’re here to look at the most recent results of the tournament as well as some defining moments that made it the prolific competition it is today.
The Players Championship 2018 Results
The field this year consisted of 144 players and there was an overwhelming presence of North American golfers, with 99 of them being from Canada and the United States.
The win this year went to Webb Simpson, who started his Sunday round with the biggest lead anyone had ever achieved at The Players. During his game, nobody ever got closer than four shots to him and it seemed there was no doubt that he was going to take home the title.
Webb Simpson had missed the cut for four of his previous eight appearances at the TPC Sawgrass which made this win even more enjoyable, giving him his fifth professional win overall. His winnings were $1.98 million which makes it the second largest tournament prize behind the US Open.
1974: The First Player’s Championship
The beginning of the Tournament Players Championship was held at the Atlanta Country Club in Mariette, just southwest of Atlanta, from the end of August to the start of September in 1974. As the premier event there was a lot of build-up and no shortage of big names competing to win the very first title.
This was the first and last time the event would ever be held in Georgia, as it would change venues a few times over the years. During the long weekend, 12 of the players had their rounds interrupted due to unfortunate weather and were forced to complete them on the following Monday, which was Labor Day.
The winner of the first event was Jack Nicklaus, who would go on to win two more TPC titles over his career. He managed to get just two strokes ahead of J.C Snead to take home the crown, and also beat current PGA Championship Winner Lee Trevino who ended up in a disappointing eighteenth place.
Various Venues over the Years
The current venue for The Players is the Stadium Course at TPC at Sawgrass and it has been played here since 1987. When they made the move to Sawgrass, they also dropped the “Tournament” from the title so that it’s known as it is today: The Player’s Championship.
Over the years though, the tournament had many different homes. With the very first game being held at Atalanta Country Club it was short-lived, and the following year moved onto the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
In 1976, the venue changed again to the Florida coast at the Inverrary Country Club in Fort Lauderdale. This venue only lasted a year as well, and it was then moved to Ponte Verda Beach in Florida at the Sawgrass Country Club. From there, the final move was only across the road to the Stadium Course at Sawgrass, where it has been for over 30 years now.
How to Qualify for The Players
The lineup of golfers at The Players is always a diverse bunch with some of the top golfers like Jimmy walker, Justin rose and Lucy Li in the world competing. There are a few ways that a player can qualify for the annual event, opening it up to more golfers than other events.
Winning another official PGA Tour Event since the previous year’s Players.
Be one of the top 125 finishers on last year’s money list.
Have a victory in one of the major championships over the last five years.
Be one of the top 30 players on the previous season’s FedEx Cup points list or just outside the list if there are still spots left to fill.
Win a World Golf Championships event during the last three years.
Win the FedExCup during the previous three years (as the overall PGA Tour Champion).
Be ranked in the top 10 players in the world from last season or the top 50 currently.
Win last year’s Senior Player’s Championship.
Be the leader of the Web.com Tour money list currently.
Format of Play
Known as one of the biggest prize pools in the golfing calendar, The Players doesn’t disappoint when it comes to cash winnings. The most recent prize was $1.89 million which is part of the large $10.5 million purse, helping it to break records in the world of golf.
In addition to monetary winnings, the victor will also receive 80 points towards his PGA word ranking which makes it the largest next to the majors, and 600 FedEx Cup points if they’re already a member of the PGA Tour. They’ll also get a five-year exemption on the PGA tour, three-year exemptions for both The Open Championship and the US Open, an exemption to the following three PGA Championships, and a three-year invitation to the Masters Tournament.
Another way that The Players is unlike other tour events is that it’s without a title sponsor and there is no pro-am. In 2018, the field had 26 previous major winners which had never been seen before, and to this day nobody has ever won the championship back to back, although there have been some with multiple wins over the years.
Fascinating Facts about the Players Championship
Although it’s one of the most publicized events on the golf calendar, there’s still a lot to learn about the Player’s Championship that you might not know. Here’s some surprising trivia about the prestigious golf tournament.
In true Florida fashion, TPC Sawgrass was actually built on a swamp and they used a man made canal to drain it out before construction started on the course.
The oldest golfer to ever compete in The Players was Sam Snead who played age 69 years old at the 1982 event.
The most cuts ever made at The Players honor goes to Tom Kite who has a whopping 23 under his belt.
The course was made to be a stadium course as there were plenty of spaces there for spectators to watch from all angles.
Pete Dye, the designer of the course, had some help from his wife making the design. She was the one responsible for the famous 17th hole on the Island Green.
Nobody has ever won consecutive titles but there are six players who have one more than once. Tiger Woods, Steve Elkington, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, and Hal Sutton all have this claim to fame with two wins. Jack Nicklaus takes the record with three wins.
According to golf legend, there are 10,000 balls that land in the water at the famous 17th island green every year.
Will Wilcox made history at the 17th island green as the first golfer to ever hit a hole in one, against 6,300 other attempts.
There is free admission to The Players to those in active military duty, retirees, and their dependents.
An Illustrious Event on the Golf Calendar
The Players Championship 2018 was evidence of the level of skill and sportsmanship that takes place at this event, with golf’s biggest names including Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, and Dustin Johnson all competing. Webb Simpson took home the title and made world records with his cash prize, signalling huge things for next year’s event
The Players is a tournament that’s one of a kind, and this is what makes it such a standout on the golf events calendar. Whether it’s the large prize pool, prestigious players, or efforts to deliver a unique format and game every time, there’s no doubt that the unofficial ‘fifth major’ will be here to stay.
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