THE Players Championship is unofficially regarded as golf’s fifth major and the 2012 version certainly has the prize purse and field to match the reputation.
Most of the world’s top golfers will line up this week at the famed TPC Sawgrass at Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida to battle for the A$1.68 million winner’s cheque.
With one of golf’s richest purses of A$9.34 million on offer, even the runner up earns a seven figure sum.
The field includes all but one of the current world top ten, with only world No.4 Bubba Watson absent, and 21 major winners.
Watson, the 2012 US Masters Champion, said he was taking the month off to bond with his wife and newly adopted 2 year old son Caleb.
That still leaves, in order of world ranking, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer, Webb Simpson and Phil Mickelson.
Past winners taking part include defending champion KJ Choi, Adam Scott (2004), Sergio Garcia (2008) and dual title holder Fred Couples (1984, 1996).
As well as Scott there are nine other Aussie golfers taking part including Jason Day, Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Geoff Ogilvy, Marc Leishman, Nick O’Hern, Rod Pampling and the in-form John Senden.
Australia hasn’t had a winner on the PGA Tour this year, one of the worst starts to a season in years, but maybe this weekend can be the turning point.
Scott has had limited outings this year but has primed himself for the major events and did show some form on Sunday at Augusta.
Ogilvy has also had a comparatively poor start to the year but had a season low 65 at the Wells Fargo Championship last Sunday.
Day says he has been dogged by injuries but after a T9 at the Wells Fargo is feeling confident.
“The year has been a bit of a bummer because of the injuries but last week it seemed to come together for most of the week and it is a good confidence builder,” he said at the course this week.
“I grew up on greens like this back in Queensland and I feel like I can read them very well. I am looking forward to contending here but I want to keep a level head and not pump myself up too much.
“Like I said, the reality is I am in a really good place right now, I have a kid on the way, I don’t have any worries, my health is back so I’m just happy and that should translate to stress-free smart golf.”
Of course a real star every year at The Players is the par three 17th hole.
It is a mere 137 yards but most of that is over water to the distinctive island green.
2012 The Players Championship TV Times
The event is being telecast in Australia on Fox Sports with live coverage beginning very early morning (AEST) for keen golf fans.
1st Round, Friday 3am – 9am; 2nd Round, Saturday 3am – 9am; 3rd Round, Sunday 4am – 9am; Final Round, Monday 4am – 9am.
2012 The Players Championship Live Leaderboard2012 Players Championship Leaderboard