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PGA - THE PLAYERS Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, May 9th through Sunday, May 12th
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:  40th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 1-7 p.m. (et),
  - Thursday/Friday -- 9 p.m.-12 a.m. (et) - replay,
  NBC - Saturday/Sunday -- 2-7 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Matt Kuchar
Runner-Up:  Ben Curtis, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Martin Laird
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
 
2012 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Matt Kuchar275Luke Donald279
Ben Curtis277Bo Van Pelt280
Rickie Fowler277Kevin Na280
Zach Johnson277Jhonattan Vegas280
Martin Laird277Two players at281
 
Past THE PLAYERS Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2012Matt Kuchar (275) -- Ben Curtis, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson,
Martin Laird
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
Player2003200420052006200720082009201020112012
Matt KucharmcT-16---------mcT-14T-13T-54Won
Zach Johnson------T-8T-58T-16mcT-32T-22T-12T-2
Ben Curtis---mcmcmcmcT-42T-22T-66T-50T-2
Martin Laird------------------T-71mcT-69T-2
Rickie Fowler---------------------mcmcT-2
Luke DonaldmcmcT-2mcT-16T-27T-37T-26T-46th
David TomsmcmcT-68mcT-64T-32T-9mc2ndT-10
Jonathan ByrdmcmcT-32mcT-16T-32T-37mcT-41T-12
Martin Kaymer------------------T-55T-34T-19T-15
Adam ScottT-17WonT-8T-53T-6T-54mcT-26mcT-15
Henrik Stenson---------T-3T-23T-10WonmcmcT-15
Phil Mickelson---T-3T-40T-14WonT-21T-55T-17T-33T-25
Ian Poulter---T-33mcT-27T-28T-212ndmcT-57T-25
Bill Haas------------T-72mcmcT-39mcT-25
Tim ClarkT-21mcmcmcT-68mcT-9WonwdT-25
Keegan Bradley------------------------72ndT-35
Tiger WoodsT-11T-16T-53T-22T-37---8thwdwdT-40
Kevin Streelman------------------mcmcT-19T-51
Justin RoseT-39T-58mcmc---mcT-22mcT-45T-51
Nick Watney------------mcT-63mcT-17T-4T-56
Sergio GarciamcT-53T-32T-142ndWonT-22T-47T-12T-56
Robert AllenbyT-4T-33mcT-38mcT-42T-142ndT-50T-61
Lee Westwood------T-22T-38---mc---T-4---T-61
Jason Dufner------------------T-32mcT-6T-68
Justin LeonardT-21T-42mcmcmcmcT-32T-52T-57T-70
K.J. ChoimcT-42mcT-16T-23mcT-71T-34Wonmc
Davis Love IIIWonT-33T-8mcT-75T-54mcT-4T-12mc
Steve Strickermcmc------T-52mcT-22---T-12mc
Graeme McDowell------T-40---------78thT-26T-33mc
Webb Simpson------------------mcmcT-69mc
Brandt Snedeker------------T-12mc---mcmcmc
Louis Oosthuizen------------------------mcmc
Rory McIlroy------------------mcmc---mc
Derek Ernst------------------------------
David Lynn------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Tiger Woods
Darkhorse - Kevin Streelman
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Lee Westwood) - Finished tied for 4th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Jimmy Walker) - Finished tied for 22nd
 
NOTES:
The PGA Tour moves back to the state of Florida this week with the 40th edition of The Players Championship. The top 34 players in the world are competing for the chance to win the unofficial fifth major.

World No. 1 and 2001 champion Tiger Woods is playing for the first time since finishing tied for fourth at the Masters. Woods has three wins in six events on the PGA Tour this season with four top-10 finishes. He has only one top-10 finish here (8th - 2009) since winning in 2001.

World No. 3 and 2004 champion Adam Scott is playing for the first time since winning his maiden major championship at the Masters. He has three top-10 finishes in five events this year.

Billy Horschel is playing for the first time since capturing his first PGA Tour title at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Horschel has recorded four consecutive top-10 finishes and has not missed a cut on the PGA Tour in 23 straight events dating back to last season.

Davis Love III, the 1992 and 2003 champion, is scheduled to make his 28th consecutive start at this event, which will match Ben Crenshaw for the most consecutive starts in tournament history.

This is the seventh 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 and now May.

American Matt Kuchar 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 Scott, when he won the 2004 title and tied for eighth in 2005.

An international player has either won or finished second the last 12 years (seven wins). Since 1991, an international player has won 11 times (including four of the last five years), with 10 seconds and three thirds.

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.

Last year, Kuchar fought off several competitors in the final round to win by two strokes over Ben Curtis, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson and Martin Laird. Kuchar carded rounds of 68-68-69-70 to finish at 13-under-par 275. The win was his fourth on the PGA Tour, and by far his biggest title. Kuchar became the eighth player to win both the U.S. Amateur and Players Championship.

In 2011, K.J. Choi parred the first playoff hole, the famed island green 17th, to defeat David Toms. Both players finished regulation at 13-under 275. Choi became the first Asian-born player to win this championship. He also became the sixth player over the age of 40 to win here, joining Stephen Ames (2006), Fred Funk (2005), Hal Sutton (2000), Calvin Peete (1985) and Lee Trevino (1980).

Tim Clark caught fire around the turn in the final round of the 2010 version and executed 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 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 7-shot deficit after 36 holes, marking the largest comeback in tournament history over the final two rounds. Clark finished at 16-under-par 272 for a 1-stroke win over Robert Allenby. Love was the only player besides Clark to break 70 on Sunday, shooting a 4-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, 6-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 5-stroke comeback in the final round matched Justin Leonard's record from 1998.

Ames fired the lowest round of the day on Sunday in 2006, a 5-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 6-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 when he came from four shots back in the final round to defeat Tom Lehman, Luke Donald and Scott Verplank by one shot. Funk -- 48 years, nine months and 18 days old when he won -- closed with a final round, 1-under 71 to finish at 9-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, Scott became the youngest winner in tournament history at 23 years, eight months and 12 days. Couples had been the youngest champion when he won in 1984 at 24 years, five months and 28 days.

Love 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 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 PGA Tour travels to the Lone Star State next week, as Irving, Texas, will host the HP Byron Nelson Championship, where Jason Dufner won last year.

05/07 18:13:52 ET

As of May 7, 2013, at 06:14 PM ET