TPC Sawgrass, 36th year at the Stadium course in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, played other places before that, 7,189 yards, par 72
Defending champion: Jason Day, -15. Shot 63-66-73-71 to win by 4 shots. Kevin Chappell was the runner-up at -11.
Weather: Thursday, 94 sunny, wind 8-13 MPH, 0 % rain. Friday: 90 sunny, wind, 12-18, 0% rain. Saturday: 84, wind 13-20, 20% t-storms. Sunday: 82, perfect, wind 8-13, 0% rain.
TV: Thursday-Friday: Golf Channel 12-6 PM CT/1-7 PM ET
Saturday-Sunday: NBC, 1-6 PM CT/2-7 PM ET.
Jordan Spieth was asked if he'd rather win the Players or the Fed Ex Cup. He had a good answer responding that if he won the Players, he'd be in good shape for the Fed Ex. The purse is $10.5 million, the largest in golf with the first place paying $1.89 M, second only to the Masters, which paid Sergio $1.98 M this year. If I was a golfer, financially, I'd want to win the Fed Ex with the $10M payout for winning. But for legacy purposes, I would want to be victorious at the Players. That would be something a player could tell his kids and grandkids and feel great about winning what is for all intents and purposes a major. So it just depends on what you value more as a golfer, the financial aspect or the legacy and it also depends on where you are financially. It was an interesting question.
Rory was rumored to have Cold Play at his reception a couple of weeks ago, but he "opted" instead to have Stevie Wonder and Ed Sheeran. One of the greatest of all time and the top guy today. That is some kind of reception.
No. 12, 302 yards, Par 4
This may be the second most interesting hole on the course after 17, and the only reason I say that is because the stakes will be the much higher come Sunday on the island hole. But 12 is one that was redesigned in 2016 by original designer Pete Dye. The players will be tempted to go for this hole on Sunday for sure, with the stakes high and a chance for eagle. If the player hits a driver, he will need to cut it as there is a creek to the left of the green and the green slopes heavily right to left. A draw off the tee with a driver and the player could very well be in the water. There's a large sand bunker in front of the green that players need to clear if they're laying up. The most interesting comment I heard on whether to lay up or go for it was by Martin Kaymer. He said of course he would go for it. He wants an eagle, and he pointed out that if a player hit his drive in the water, the hazard is a red marked area, which means he could drop the ball by the green and get up and down for par. He said it was a slam dunk to go for it. A lot of the American players were more careful about it, saying they would lay up maybe 3 days and go for it on the fourth, but the German, Australian Adam Scott and South African Branden Grace all said they would go for it. I liked their responses a lot.
No.16, 523 yards, par 5
Rickie Fowler eagled this hole two years ago on his way to the championship. It was part of a birdie, par, birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie finish he had on Sunday from holes 13-18. It was an amazing exhibition of golf. Six under on the last 6 holes. Wow. He did have to go over water on his second shot and cut it just over the bunker fronting the right side of the green. The ball cleared the sand and bounced 8 feet from the hole. He calmly sank the eagle putt.
No.17, 137 yards, par 3
It's the agony or the ecstasy on this hole. It can win the tournament for a player or lose the tournament for a player. All carry over water, wind always a factor and the wind is 8-13 on Sunday, so it's a factor, and knowing Florida weather, it could be more significant on the 71st hole on Sunday. Fowler had a hole in one today in the practice round. It's anywhere from an 8 iron to a gap wedge (52-54 degree club that players can hit anywhere from 115 to 130, if you're Dustin, 130). What a classic. The winner could very well be crowned on this hole. In the event of a playoff, the competitors would play an aggregate playoff on holes 16, 17 and 18.
No. 18, 452 yards, par 4
The toughest hole on the course last year, this is a bear and pressure packed. There is water covering the entire left side of the hole and there's a tight landing area with rough, a bunker and trees on the right. Such a tough hole. The drive is critical on this hole. The second shot is difficult to a narrow green. A birdie here by someone a shot back and playing in front of the 54 leader, could win this tournament.
The 30 year old from Fresno, Cali won 3 weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open. He was runner-up to Jason Day here last year. He'll be right there on Sunday.
Outside of Dustin, this is the hottest player on tour right now. The 22 year old from Spain is seemingly always in the hunt. He's super at everything. Powerful, excellent putter, major competitor. He's got a major chance to win "the fifth major" as the players call it.
I almost picked the 2014 winner to win again, but I changed my mind about an hour ago. He won here in 2014 and has a 2010 PGA Championship and a 2014 U.S. Open to go along with this coveted championship. Superb player. See him right there on Sunday.
The popular and some would say prohibitive favorite, I like his chances for sure, but I looked at his record at Sawgrass, and in 8 starts, he has 0 top 10's, 0 top 25's 1 missed cut and his best finish is T-28 last year. So as bullish I am on Dustin in most tournaments, including all 3 majors left this year, this course doesn't seem to suit his eye. So I went another direction...
Going with the 2015 champion who also won at the Honda Classic in late February, and just aced the 17th today. Like his play under pressure, especially his putter. The 28 year old from Murrieta, California captures his second Players and looks to add a major this season to go along with that.
The 25 year old from Vestavia Hills, AL. finished T-5 last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. I see him doing well here.
Players I don't think will win
Just got married, new clubs, just not enough consistency in his playing life right now.
Just don't see him getting it done this year. Not putting well enough. Ninety fourth on the tour from 10 feet and in. That's not good enough here. Missed cuts here in 2015 and '16.
Just hasn't done very well this season and hasn't played enough. Needs more competitive rounds to get back in the hunt in a tournament of this magnitude or one of the 3 upcoming majors.
Not seeing it. Hasn't played since the Masters, and though he's played very well here with a victory in 2008 and multiple top 10's, he's hasn't played enough to be in the hunt this week.
Phil's chances of winning a regular event to me are about 30 percent, and I don't see him capturing a major again and probably not this one either though he won here in 2007. I just don't see him able to keep up with a lot of these guys any more in their 20's and 30's. Maybe in contention sometimes, but not winning.