The Players Championship Notes 2015

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THE PLAYERS Championship 2015 pre-tournament notes

  • Dates: May 5-10, 2015
  • Where: THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
  • Par/Yards: 72/7,215 yards 2014 champion: Martin Kaymer 2015
  • Purse: $10 million /$1.8 to the winner
  • FedExCup: 600 points to the winner
  • Format: 72-hole stroke play, Field: 144
  • Twitter: @THEPLAYERSChamp

A look back at THE PLAYERS 2014

  • Final-round leaderboard
    • 1 Martin Kaymer 63-69-72-71–275/-13
    • 2 Jim Furyk 70-68-72-66–276/-12
    • 3 Sergio Garcia 67-71-69-70–277/-11
    • T4 Justin Rose 67-71-71-69–278/-10
    • T4 Jordan Spieth 67-66-71-74–278/-10
    • T6 David Hearn 70-71-68-70–279/-9
    • T6 Rory McIlroy 70-74-69-66–279/-9
    • T6 Francesco Molinari 72-70-67-70–279/-9
    • T6 Jimmy Walker 75-68-71-65–279/-9
    • T6 Lee Westwood 67-71-71-70–279/-9
  • Martin Kaymer survived a double bogey and a suspension of play due to severe weather while he was on the back nine to close out his first victory at THE PLAYERS Championship.
  • Following a delay of one hour, 33 minutes at 5:39 p.m., Kaymer made double bogey at the par-4 15th hole.
  • He followed it up with a disappointing par on the par-5 16th before heading to the penultimate hole.
    • Kaymer’s shot on the island-green 17th hole landed short and looked like it would spin off the front of the green, but the ball miraculously held on the fringe.
      • After a poor putt, Kaymer was left with 28 feet to the back-right hole location, a left-to-right putt that he curled in to keep the one-shot advantage over Jim Furyk.
  • Kaymer added another par on the last to seal his victory.
  • The win at THE PLAYERS was Kaymer’s second PGA TOUR victory, and first since he won the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straights.
  • Following his victory at THE PLAYERS, Kaymer captured the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, becoming just the third player in history to win a major championship in the same year as THE PLAYERS, joining Tiger Woods (2001, Masters), Hal Sutton (1983, PGA Championship) and Jack Nicklaus (1978, The Open Championship).
  • Kaymer’s of 13-under 275 was the fourth consecutive time THE PLAYERS was won with that score.

A look at the field

  • All 30 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings.
  • 48 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking
  • Multiple winners Jimmy Walker (2) and Jordan Spieth (2) are in the field, and those two are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the FedExCup standings.
    • Spieth won his first career major championship in April, capturing the Masters Tournament in record fashion, tying Tiger Woods’ mark of 18-under par and winning by four strokes
  • All 23 PGA TOUR winners in 2014-15 will be at TPC Sawgrass, accounting for a total of 25 victories.
    • Nine of the 23 different winners have been under the age of 30: Sangmoon Bae/Frys.com Open, Ben Martin/Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Robert Streb/The McGladrey Classic, Nick Taylor/Sanderson Farms Championship, Patrick Reed/Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Brooks Koepka/Waste Management Phoenix Open, Jason Day/Farmers Insurance Open, Jordan Spieth/Valspar Championship, Masters Tournament, Rory McIlroy/World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play.
  • Nine former PLAYERS winners: Martin Kaymer (2014), Tiger Woods (2013, 2001), Matt Kuchar (2012); K.J. Choi (2011); Henrik Stenson (2009); Sergio Garcia (2008); Phil Mickelson (2007); Adam Scott (2004); and Justin Leonard (1998).
  • 27 major championship winners, accounting for 59 major championships, led by Tiger Woods’ 14.
  • A total of 18 first-time PLAYERS Championship participants.
  • The 144-player field includes players from a total of 24 countries (the most international field in PLAYERS history):
    • 84 USA
    • 9 AUSTRALIA
    • 7 ENGLAND
    • 6 SOUTH AFRICA
    • 4 CANADA, SWEDEN
    • 3 GERMANY, SOUTH KOREA, NORTHERN IRELAND
    • 2 ARGENTINA, SPAIN, IRELAND, JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND, SCOTLAND
    • 1 AUSTRIA, COLOMBIA, FIJI, INDIA, NETHERLANDS, VENEZUELA, WALES, ZIMBABWE
  • The oldest player in the field is Germany’s Bernhard Langer, who qualified based on his win at the 2014 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
    • Langer is making 24th start at THE PLAYERS and first since 2008, when he finished T15. He has posted a total of five top-10 finishes, including two runner-ups (1993, 1995)
  • Qualified for THE PLAYERS, but not competing due to injury are: Justin Hicks, Stuart Appleby, Tim Clark and Kevin Stadler.
    • Clark and Stadler were replaced in the field by Daniel Berger and Sean O’Hair, based on their position in the current FedExCup standings.
    • Justin Thomas made it into the field for his first start at THE PLAYERS when Victor Dubuisson withdrew this weekend.

THE PLAYERS key storylines and notes

  • Calvin Peete passes away prior to 30th anniversary of his victory.
    • On the morning of April 29, Calvin Peete, winner of THE PLAYERS 1985 passed away in Atlanta, Ga., at the age of 71.
    • Peete was a trailblazer on the PGA TOUR, recording 12 victories, the most by an African American on the PGA TOUR until the emergence of Tiger Woods.
    • Peete was known for his driving accuracy, leading the PGA TOUR in the statistic for 10 straight years in the 80s and early 90s.
    • Peete was the fourth African American to win on the PGA TOUR and his win at THE PLAYERS in 1985 was the biggest of his career.
    • He played on two U.S. Ryder Cup teams and won the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average in 1984, edging out Jack Nicklaus.
    • Peete’s legacy and contributions to the game will be honored in several ways during THE PLAYERS this year:
      • Dedicated feature in the daily pairings guide;
      • Dedicated slide on the LED boards onsite in memory of Peete, in rotation throughout the week;
      • Moment of silence on No. 1 tee on Thursday afternoon, time TBD. The moment of silence will be 30 seconds long in honor of the 30-year anniversary of his win at THE PLAYERS;
      • Flowers at his plaque at the Circle of Champions; and
      • ote cards at player registration to encourage players to write notes of gratitude/memories and leave in Peete’s locker in the Champions Locker Room. The notes will eventually be sent to his family.

The best field in golf descends on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, with all of the top 30 in the FedExCup present

  • THE PLAYERS marks the 26th event of the PGA TOUR Season, with 16 tournaments remaining to qualify for the four-tournament FedExCup Playoffs, culminating at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in late September.
  • Headlining the current top 30 is Jordan Spieth, a two-time winner in 2014-15 who became the youngest player to take the lead in the FedExCup standings when he captured the Masters in early April.
  • Two-time winner this season Jimmy Walker is hot on his heels.
    • Walker Led the FedExCup for the majority of the 2013-14 season on the heels of three wins, but was overtaken by Rory McIlroy late in the summer.
    • He regained the top spot early this season with wins at the Sony Open and the Valero Texas Open, a spot which he held until Spieth overtook him in April.
  • Through the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Spieth holds a 392-point advantage over Walker. The winner at THE PLAYERS will earn 600 FedExCup points.
  • A total of 16 players inside the top 30 through the Wells Fargo Championship did not play in last year’s TOUR Championship.

Established veterans vs. young guns

  • This season has seen a dichotomy of winners from both the group of established veterans like Bubba Watson (World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions), Jim Furyk (RBC Heritage), Justin Rose (Zurich Classic of New Orleans) and Padraig Harrington (The Honda Classic), as well as the young guns on the PGA TOUR like Rory McIlroy (World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play), Jordan Spieth (Masters Tournament, Valspar Championship), Patrick Reed (Hyundai Tournament of Champions), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Brooks Koepka (Waste Management Phoenix Open).
  • The average age of winners at THE PLAYERS is just shy of 34 years old, skewing towards experience on a golf course that favors no style of play.
  • The youngest player to win at THE PLAYERS was Adam Scott in 2004 at the age of 23, and the oldest player to win was Fred Funk the very next year at the age of 48.

First-time participants at THE PLAYERS

  • Headlined by 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Brooks Koepka, the list of 18 first-time participants at THE PLAYERS this year includes a mix of young PGA TOUR winners, international players and rookies who have played well enough to qualify for the deepest field in golf.
  • Other than Jack Nicklaus, who won THE PLAYERS in its inaugural year in 1974, only Hal Sutton (1983) and Craig Perks (2002) have won the event in their first appearance.
  • Koepka won the Waste Management Phoenix Open and is one of the longest hitters on the PGA TOUR, averaging 305 yards for the season, good enough for seventh place.
    • The former Florida State Seminole started his PGA TOUR career with three top 10s, including the victory in Phoenix.Anirban Lahiri has recorded two wins on the European Tour this season at the Maybank Malaysian Open and the Hero Indian Open. The Indian player made his U.S. debut at the Cadillac Championship.
  • Other first-time participants include Nick Taylor (USA), Brice Garnett (USA), Derek Fathauer (USA), Danny Willett (England), Andrew Svoboda (USA), Billy Hurley III (USA), Danny Lee (New Zealand), Kevin Kisner (USA), Brendon Todd (USA), Daniel Berger (USA), Adam Hadwin (Canada), Ben Martin (USA), Robert Streb (USA), Ryo Ishikawa (Japan), Justin Thomas (USA) and Bernd Wiesberger (Austria).
  • Derek Fathauer won the Web.com Tour Championship in 2014 played at Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass.
  • Nick Taylor won the Sanderson Farms Classic in just his fourth start as a rookie.
  • Brendon Todd has been on the PGA TOUR since 2012 and has played in all four of the major championships, all of the World Golf Championships and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but due to the quirk of where he recorded his victory last year, this is his first start in THE PLAYERS.
  • Victor Dubuisson was runner-up at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play in 2014, losing to Jason Day, but making a name for himself with a flurry of immaculate short-game shots. He went on to be one of the stalwarts on the victorious European Ryder Cup team.
  • Ryo Ishikawa has been playing PGA TOUR events since 2009. He is an 11-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, with the most recent win coming last year. He has yet to breakout in the United States.

Rory McIlroy

  • Rory McIlroy is making his fifth start at THE PLAYERS, his best finish coming last year when he shot a final-round 66 on his way to a T6 finish. The year before he also had a strong showing, finishing T8. He began his career at THE PLAYERS with three missed cuts, but has recorded the two top-10s since.
  • McIlroy comes into THE PLAYERS off of a win at the Cadillac Match Play, his second World Golf Championships victory to go with the Bridgestone Invitational last fall. The win was his 10th on the PGA TOUR, making him only the third player to record 10 wins or more before turning 26 in the last 75 years (Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus). Only three players have ever won the week immediately preceding THE PLAYERS, Woods (2001, Arnold Palmer Invitational), Tom Kite (1989, Arnold Palmer Invitational) and Raymond Floyd (1981, Cadillac Championship).
  • He has only made four starts this year on the PGA TOUR, with his best finish coming at the Masters, where he finished fourth, six shots behind Spieth. He will be looking to improve on his FedExCup rank, as he is currently No. 103 in the standings. McIlroy advanced to the TOUR Championship in both 2014 and 2012.
  •  Last season, McIlroy finished his season with a flurry to take over the No. 1 spot in the OWGR, winning the Open Championship, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship in three consecutive weeks. He had a chance to become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam at the Masters, which he failed to do.

Jordan Spieth

  • Jordan Spieth moved to the No. 2 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking after a four-week span that saw him win his second PGA TOUR title at the Valspar Championship, consecutive runner-ups, and capture his first major at the Masters Tournament.
  • Winning the Masters at the age of 21 years, 8 months and 16 days, Spieth became the fourth player to win three times with at least one major on the PGA TOUR before turning 22 since 1900.
  • Spieth will make his second consecutive start at THE PLAYERS after finishing T4 in 2014. In his PLAYERS debut, Spieth entered the final round tied with eventual winner Martin Kaymer. As the only player bogey-free through 54 holes, Spieth bogeyed No. 5, then added four more bogeys to finish in a tie for fourth.

Martin Kaymer

  • This marks the seventh start for defending champion Martin Kaymer who broke or matched several tournament records en route to his 2014 PLAYERS Championship victory. He opened the tournament with a bogey-free 9-under 63 to tie the low 18-hole score at the tournament and his front-nine 7-under 29 established a new nine-hole scoring record.
  • Kaymer went on to win the 2014 U.S. Open to become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2001 (THE PLAYERS and Masters) to win THE PLAYERS the same year as another major.
  • Kaymer joined Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott as the only four players to have a victory at THE PLAYERS, a World Golf Championships event (2011 HSBC Champions) and a major (2010 PGA Championship, 2014 U.S. Open).
  • Kaymer has made six starts this season, with his best showing coming at the HSBC Champions where he tied for sixth. He has missed the cut in his last three starts (Valero Texas Open, Shell Houston Open and Masters Tournament).

Jason Day

  • Jason Day will make his 10th start of the season, which includes a victory at the Farmers Insurance Open and a pair of T4 finishes at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
  • The 2015 PLAYERS Championship will mark Day’s fifth start at TPC Sawgrass: 2010/MC, 2011/T6, MC/2012, T19/2013.
  • Day withdrew from THE PLAYERS in 2014 due to a lingering left thumb injury.

Jimmy Walker

  • In 12 starts this season, Jimmy Walker has won twice. He defended his title at the Sony Open in Hawaii, then won in his home state at the Valero Texas Open.
  • He is making his sixth consecutive start at THE PLAYERS: 2010/T26, 2011/MC, 2012/T35, 2013/T15, 2014/T6.
  • Walker closed the 2014 PLAYERS Championship with the tournament low final-round of 7-under 65 (matched by K.J. Choi) to tie for sixth.

 

SOURCE: PGA TOUR

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