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Crunching the Numbers

50 fun stats to mark the 50th anniversary of the Players Championship

tpc-sawgrass-18th-clubhouse.jpg

Stan Badz/PGA Tour

The Players Championship turns 50 this year, a time for celebration as well as reflection. The dream of then commissioner Deane Beman to create for the PGA Tour a signature event to call its own spawned one of pro golf’s most long-running debates—fifth men’s major or not?—as well as inspired one of its most controversial golf courses in the creation of TPC Sawgrass. Love it or hate it, Pete Dye’s Stadium Course has provided more than its fair share of drama over the years, helping give the event an identity like no other.

In an attempt to help define the Players Championship, we combed through the tournament’s media guide and found these 50 fun and fascinating stats that help, in part, tell the story of the event.

42

Number of different winners of the Players

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0

Number of repeat winners

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T-5

Best finish by a defending champion (Jack Nicklaus, 1977; Tom Kite, 1990; Hal Sutton, 2001)

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10

Defending champions who have missed the cut the next year (Last: Rory McIlroy, 2021)

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3

Most wins by any one golfer (Jack Nicklaus)

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6

Number of golfers who have won the Players multiple times (Jack Nicklaus, 3; Steve Elkington, 2; Hal Sutton, 2; Fred Couples, 2; Davis Love III, 2; Tiger Woods, 2)

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32.3

Average age of the winners of the Players

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$50,000

First-place prize money payout for winning the inaugural Players in 1974 (won by Jack Nicklaus)

1140256028

PGA TOUR Archive

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$250,000

Purse for the inaugural Players

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$4,500,000

First-place prize money payout for winning 50th Players in 2024

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$25,000,000

Purse for 50th Players

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$5,948,528.43

Most career money earned by a single golfer in Players Championship (Sergio Garcia, 22 starts)

81055746

Andy Lyons

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29

Most starts in Players history (Jay Haas, Davis Love III)

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0

Number of winners who were rookies on the PGA Tour

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T-2

Best finish by a PGA Tour rookie (David Lingmerth, 2013)

TPC Sawgrass: Stadium
Public
TPC Sawgrass: Stadium
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
TPC’s stadium concept was the idea of then-PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman. The 1980 design was pure Pete Dye, who set out to test the world’s best golfers by mixing demands of distance with target golf. Most greens are ringed by random lumps, bumps and hollows, what Dye calls his "grenade attack architecture." His ultimate target hole is the heart-pounding sink-or-swim island green 17th, which offers no bailout, perhaps unfairly in windy Atlantic coast conditions. The 17th has spawned over a hundred imitation island greens in the past 40 years. To make the layout even more exciting during tournament play, Steve Wenzloff of PGA Tour Design Services recently remodeled several holes, most significantly the 12th, which is now a drivable par 4.
View Course

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2

Number of winners who made the Players their first career PGA Tour win (Craig Perks, 2002; Tim Clark, 2010)

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41

Fewest number of PGA Tour starts before winning the Players (Adam Scott, 2004)

97985754

Al Messerschmidt

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5

Wire-to-wire winners (no ties) (Al Geiberger, 1975; Greg Norman, 1994; Steve Elkington, 1997; Hal Sutton, 2000; Jason Day, 2016)

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7

Largest margin of victory (Steve Elkington over Scott Hoch, 1997)

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26.7

Average ranking of the winner in fairways hit (since 1992)

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13.8

Average ranking of the winner in greens in regulation (since 1992)

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0

Number of golfers who have gone bogey-free at the Players

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1

Fewest bogeys at the Players (Greg Norman, 1994)

1145307538

PGA TOUR Archive

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1

Number of Players won with a birdie on the 18th to clinch the title (Steve Elkington, 1991)

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15

First-round leaders who have gone on to win the Players (Last: Webb Simpson, 2018)

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15

Second-round leaders who have gone on to win the Players (Last: Rory McIlroy, 2019)

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22

Third-round leaders who have gone on to win the Players (Last: Scottie Scheffler, 2023)

1473066514

Sam Greenwood

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6

Largest final-round come-from-behind victory (Ray Floyd, 1981)

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69.97

Lowest career stroke average (Bryson DeChambeau, 12 rounds)

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145.9 (1.9 over par)

Average cut score in the history of the Players

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9

Most top-10 finishes by a player in Players history (Nick Price, Tom Watson)

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11.78 under par

Average winning score in relation to par in Players Championship history

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12.56 under par

Average winning score in relation to par for the 41 Players held at TPC Sawgrass

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25

Most rounds in the 60s by any individual player at the Players Championship (Sergio Garcia)

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4.341

Average score on the 18th hole since TPC Sawgrass started hosting in 1982, the toughest hole on the course

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3.117

Average score of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, ranking it the eighth toughest on the course

1239178846

Icon Sportswire

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990

Balls hit into the water at the 17th hole since 2003

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50

Most balls hit in the water on the 17th hole in any given round (first round, 2007)

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93

Most balls hit in the water on the 17th hole for an entire tournament (2007)

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69 feet, 7 inches

Longest putt made on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass during the ShotLink era (Jhonattan Vegas, 2019, final round)

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11 under

Lowest cumulative score at the 17th hole by any player in Players history (Tom Lehman, 62 rounds)

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30 over

Highest cumulative score at the 17th hole by any player in Players history (Bob Tway, 64 rounds)

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2

Players who have birdied the 17th hole all four rounds in any one event (Paul Azinger, 1987; Kyle Stanley, 2017)

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26

Player with the most birdies at the 17th hole (Bernhard Langer)

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13

Most balls in the water at the 17th hole by an individual player (since 2003) (Aaron Baddeley)

1211982762

Matt Sullivan

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100 feet, 1 inch

Longest putt holed in Players history (Ben Crane, first round, 2007, 14th hole)

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5

Playoffs in Players history (Last: 2015)

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26

Most birdies in one tournament (Fuzzy Zoeller, 1994)

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8

Number of Players that have had a Monday finish

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24

Number of Players that have had a weather delay