History of the Players’ Championship
The inaugural Players’ Championship was held in 1974 in Marietta, Georgia. It would move to Texas the following year, before finding its home at the TPC at Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra, Florida.
The legendary Jack Nicklaus has won three Players’ Championship titles - a record that still stands to this day. Nicklaus emerged victorious in 1974, 1976, and 1978, cementing his status as one of the greatest golfers of all-time.
Other multiple winners include:
- Fred Couples (1984, 1996)
- Steve Elkington (1991, 1997)
- Hal Sutton (1983, 2000)
- Davis Love III (1992, 2003)
- Tiger Woods (2001, 2013)
How The Players’ Championship Became ‘The Fifth Major’
Despite the tournament’s nickname and status, the Players Championship isn’t actually a major, and its tagline of being the fifth major tournament is pure branding.
The Players Championship may not technically qualify as a major, but its large purse, world-class course, and star-studded line up rival any golf tournament in the world. As of 2022, the winner of the Players’ Championship receives $3.6 million, a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a three-year invitation to the Masters, and three-year exemptions for the U.S. Open and The Open Championships.
The Players’ Championship is one of the most sought-after and most-viewed golf tournaments in the world, even if it is not technically a major.
2023 Players To Watch
Cameron Smith won’t be defending his 2022 crown this year, meaning the Australian will not become the first-ever player to retain their Players’ Championship title. With Smith out of the way, here’s a list of factors and players to keep an eye on.
All-Rounders Thrive At Sawgrass
The iconic Sawgrass course lends itself well to all-rounders who are adept at going short and long. If we look at the previous winners, we’ll find that they all possess strong, accurate drives with nimble, pinpoint shots. Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and Sergio Garcia may be some of the best all-rounders in golf history, and it’s no surprise that they’ve had success at Sawgrass.
There’s no shortage of top-quality performers at this year’s Players’ Championships - let’s take a look at a few of them.
The hot favourite ahead of the tournament, John Rahm has won three of his six stars on tour in 2023 and is in imperious form ahead of the Players’ Championship.
Rahm currently has the shortest odds prior to the tournament, and his style of play, form, and experience make this no surprise.
Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler
The legendary Rory McIlroy emerged victorious in 2019 and the Irishman currently sits behind Rahm as the player with the second-shortest odds.
McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler are both fresh from respective top-five finishes at Bay Hill, and both golfers are being keenly watched by Players’ Championship bettors.
Tom Kim is one of exciting up-and-comers going into the 2023 Players’ Championship, displaying laser-accuracy off the tee and excellence on approach. He may not have the tournament acumen of some of the other players, but he remains one to watch and he has all of the attributes of a future star.
The 2023 Players’ Championship begins on 9 March and will be broadcasted in the UK courtesy of Sky Sports.
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