THE PLAYERS Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
7,215 yards – Par 72 – Tifeagle Bermudagrass Greens

Tournament Stimpmeter: 12.5 ft. … Quicker than average green speeds
Green Sizes: 4,500 sq. feet .. Much Smaller than Average Green Sizes
Strength of Field Rating: 750+ … Strong Field Strength
Fairways Hit (Field Average): ~63% … Average Fairways Hits
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): ~64% … Average GIR Percentage
Driving Distance (Field Average): 278 yards … Less-than-Driver Course

Tournament Angles

#1 Strong Field Events
#2 Pete Dye Courses
#3 TPC Courses
#4 Less-than-Driver Courses
#5 Windy Rounds
#6 Par 72 Courses
#7 Bermuda Greens
#8 Florida Course

Previous Winners

2016: Jason Day -15 over Kevin Chappell -11
2015: Rickie Fowler -12 over Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia in a playoff
2014: Martin Kaymer -13 over Jim Furyk -12
2013: Tiger Woods -13 over Kevin Streelman, Jeff Maggert, David Lingmerth -11
2012: Matt Kuchar -13 over Martin Laird, Ben Curtist, Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler -11
2011: K.J. Choi -13 over David Toms in a playoff
2010: Tim Clark -16 over Robert Allenby -15

54-Hole Leaders

2016: Jason Day -14
2015: Chris Kirk -10
2014: Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth -12
2013: Tiger Woods, David Lingmerth, Sergio Garcia -1
2012: Kevin Na -12
2011: Graeme McDowell -12
2010: Lee Westwood -14

36-Hole Leaders

2016: Jason Day -15
2015: Jerry Kelly, Kevin Na -8
2014: Martin Kaymer -12
2013: Sergio Garcia -11
2012: Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Kevin Na -8
2011: David Toms -10
2010: Lee Westwood -12

Important Interview Quotes

Q. Did you like this course the first time you saw it? Did you feel like it suited your game?
I thought it was very tough. Once again, this course you can — you have to hit a lot of 3-woods around here, especially if you’re a longer hitter, and I always said that 3-wood was always kind of that uncomfortable club that I’ve always had in the bag. I worked very, very hard on hitting a lot of 3-wood tee shots and fairway 3-woods off the ground last week when I was coming into this, just preparing back home in Columbus, because I knew that I was going to hit a lot of them. -2016

Q. Just assess your week, how you feel about that.
I feel great. I felt really good coming into this week, even off of a missed cut. I played really well last week, I just I looked like I had never putted in my life when I got to the greens. So, I love this course, I get, it’s just something about it, it really is one of my favorite courses to play when it gets in this tournament condition. You just can’t fake it around here. So I was excited to get on a championship-type venue and a great field like this and obviously today went really well, so I was happy to end on a high note. -2016

Q. (No Microphone.) [Question about greens getting away from them]
Well, we have done the same thing all week. We have been double cutting these greens and double rolling them and trying to get them firmed up.

And what happened today was just kind of a perfect storm with the weather. We weren’t expecting a 20 mile an hour wind all day, and the humidity 30 percent, not a cloud in the sky. And they just, you know, sped up on us. -2016, R3

Q. How were the putting greens?
I mean, it’s like a U.S. Open out there. I can’t really describe it any other way. I mean, it got to the point where when you’re grounding your putter, you can’t square it up because the surfaces are so shiny and so slippy. It was difficult. It was really difficult. And then to have — obviously we played in the morning yesterday, and to have such a drastic speed change in the greens from when we played yesterday to today, I just found I had a really difficult time to adjust to them. I stood up here yesterday and I said it’s amazing how differently the course plays from morning to afternoon, but I didn’t expect it to be like that out there this afternoon. That was borderline unfair on a few holes. A few pin positions were on crowns, and you dribble a putt by, all of a sudden it’s six feet by. For the way they — I’m not sure if they expected to get the greens this firm or — there was a few pins out there that I felt were just a little too much on the edge. It was obviously difficult, and I felt like I was holding it together okay, but I think I hit 16 out of 18 greens out there. I mean, I played well. Tee to green I played well. I think I had five three-putts. -2016, R3

Q. Talk about the conditions. It was a different golf course today than the first two days.
This is the kind of PLAYERS Championship that we usually see with the wind and the firm greens. The first two days, I don’t know where that came from, the soft conditions, and obviously the scores really showed it. This is THE PLAYERS with the wind and the firmness. It was tough out there. You had to respect the whole golf course. -2016, R3

Q. How satisfying is it to close with those two scores given your previous history at this place?
I was just looking at Rory, Rory didn’t go to well his first three starts and the last three starts he’s been playing great.

I think that the more times you come here, the more you know about the golf course, the better it is for you. It’s just taken me a little bit longer.

But I grew up on grass like this and I feel — coming into the week, I felt great about my game. -2016, R3

Q. How would you describe the greens today?
Dead. Balding. I don’t know. They were just fast, and you can’t really sole your putter. It’s constantly sliding, and it’s really hard to find square. Everyone is playing them. They actually are fairly receptive for how quick they are, so it’s kind of a strange combination. -2016, R3

Q. That’s pretty good for this round. Are you surprised at the change in conditions not just day to day but morning to afternoon?
: Oh, yes. You know, the wind wasn’t blowing too bad. Obviously the announcers are probably going to say that the wind is playing an issue, but it’s not that bad. We came back first thing this morning, there was still moisture in the greens and the greens weren’t this quick. They still were very receptive. You hit a good shot, it’s going to check.

But man, felt like I was putting on dance floors out there. We all did. Some of the putts I saw between Kevin and I and Bill, I’ve never seen putts that quick before. Augusta is probably the quickest greens we play all year, and I’m sorry, Sawgrass made those greens look like 8s on the stimpmeter. -2016, R3

Q. What’s the difference at this place? Your last couple years you haven’t played too well.
This place is tough. I think you have to play it a few times and get to know it a little bit. I had to realize that this is a perfect golf course for me. It’s a lot like Hilton Head. You have to hit fairways, you have to hit greens and you just have to be patient around here. It’s not that long, which is really good for me. I don’t really like the long ones too much. -2016

Q. As a first timer, was there a point where you were like, all right, this is a little easier than I thought it was going to be?
I mean, at the end of the day it’s just another golf tournament. It’s the same as the last few golf tournaments. A few more people.

But I live an hour from here, didn’t have to get on a plane, grew up two and a half hours from here, Bermuda grass, it’s kind of home. I like playing on Bermuda. I like Pete Dye golf courses.

So, I mean, first timer, yeah. I played the golf course a number of times growing up in junior events. -2016

Q. You played this course a handful of times now, how would you describe it?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: I like it. I liked it from the first time I played here. I had a decent week, I think I finished top-10 the first year. So it suits my game, it suits my eyes, and it’s nice to be out here playing. -2016

Q. Talk about them being bunched, does that have something to do with the golf course?
Yeah, I think everyone sort of plays from the same positions, no style of game really has an advantage out here. So, yeah, it’s definitely to do with the golf course and the golf course setup that it is the way it is. -2015

Q. Sergio talked about feeling like he left a few shots out there. That seems to be a common theme among some guys. Do you feel that way and also kind of on the bright side, is that also the golf course?
Yeah, I feel like I left a lot of shots out there. I saw Sergio played pretty well today and the wind is down as well, so the course is a little more gettable maybe, but it’s firming up. I would like to see the greens a little firmer tomorrow again. I think that firm greens definitely separates the field. I would like to see firm greens. I feel like because it’s been quite receptive this week that’s what’s made everyone so bunched together on the leaderboard. -2015

Q. Does this make it official you’ll never play another event that’s not played on Bermudagrass?
It’s getting close. Yeah, it’s funny, I don’t get along with that poa annua too well. I don’t know what it is, either; I guess it’s just how I grew up. But Bermuda is sweet, and seems like every time around this time of year I start playing better, so it must be the grass. -2015

Q. You like this course, don’t you?
I do. It’s a premium on ball-striking, and I think if you do hit it well, anyone can win, which I think is a great quality about this golf course. You don’t just see the bombers winning. It’s good for everyone. I think when you leave here and if you don’t shoot well, there’s usually no second-guessing why it happened. You probably mis-hit it a little bit or you putted poorly, and if you do well here, you’ve earned it, and that’s what I like about it. -2015

Q. As someone who’s had success here, is there a certain part of your game that needs to be on to have a chance on Sunday?
Like I said before, it’s the kind of golf course that is asking you to be on with pretty much every aspect of your game. I think ball striking is very, very important here because you can be — you can’t be going into these greens from the rough every time. The greens are too small and if they get a little firm, too difficult to hold, if you’re going from the rough all the time. There is some holes that you have some openings, but a lot of the holes are asking you to be in the fairway and be able to hit it high and stop it quickly. So obviously ball striking is important, but you can’t forget short game. I think personally I feel like if your ball striking is really, really good, because the greens are small, you can kind of get away with the so-so short game, but if your ball striking is a little bit off, then your short game has to be very sharp. -2015

Q. Is that one of the keys here, knowing when to put your foot on the gas and knowing when to knock it in and make par?
Yeah, I think it’s a classic kind of Pete Dye design. I like most of his courses. I like Harbour Town a lot. This is probably the closest course we have to Harbour Town. So I like to think my way around the course, I think he makes you think your way around the course. So it’s a good track. -2015

Q. Ben, first-timers at this tournament generally don’t fare all that well. Obviously there’s a lot of you guys at the top of the leaderboard now. Are you surprised at that at all, and how do you think the pressure will be ramped up tomorrow?
To be honest, I haven’t really looked at like the history of first-timers and winning or playing well. Even though it’s my first time playing the tournament, I’ve played the course eight or ten times before, so I had a feel for it and kind of knew the layout a little bit coming in. -2015

Q. You’re a good Bermudagrass player, you grew up playing on Bermudagrass; do you think that gives you an advantage?
I hope so, but Bermuda’s always very tricky, especially the rough. The rough is always tough playing out of Bermuda rough. But growing up playing in it definitely helps. -2015

Q. You got one round in the 60s here out of 18. Is it the golf course, maybe how you’ve been playing coming in different years, or how do you explain maybe the lack of success here?
I don’t know. I like the golf course a lot, but it’s just like I said, it’s tough, it’s always windy, it plays difficult. I think the greens are tricky. I think putting is a big deal here. You’ve got to putt it well. I feel like I’m playing a lot more consistent this year. I’m driving it a little bit straighter. I feel like I’m hitting more greens. So that will definitely help around here because if you hit a lot of greens, you’re going to shoot a good score around here. -2015

Q. When you look at the bunched leaderboard and you realize the volatility that’s been going on the last two or three days, does that kind of change your game plan at all tomorrow, the way you would play the golf course?
No, not really. I’d probably play this course with a relatively conservative game plan. It’s just kind of the way it always is here. The course changes so much from morning to afternoon, especially on a hot day like today. Before I even teed off, there were guys finishing shooting 6-under and stuff like that and getting up close to the lead, and so it definitely lends itself to that. I would bet that if you took the first half of the field today and the second half of the field today, the scoring average would be a couple strokes different as the course firms up and those greens get a little bit crispy. -2015

Q. You played here one other time, 2013, what did you take from that experience that’s helping you this go round?
I had actually a good tournament back then as well in 2013. I just finished off badly the final day. I was laying Top 10 with three to go and finished in the 30s. But that happens. I think I learned something from those mistakes. I enjoy this type of golf course. You have to play, not really safe, but hit it in the fairways and take the opportunities when they come, and stay patient, and I managed to do that so far. -2015

Q. You grew up in Georgia and won in Puerto Rico, so these kind of grasses you’re pretty okay with?
Yeah, I’m very familiar with the grass. Bermuda is like second nature to me, reading them. I can see grain really well and I kind of know which way they’re going, chipping around these areas, I kind of know where it’s growing into you. It’s real easy to read for me. -2015

Q. Do you log a lot of rounds here now that you’re a quasi local?
I don’t play here ever.

Q. Practice here, anything?
I practice here. But that’s sort of dwindling down. I’m sort of practicing at my club, The Plantation, a little bit more. More or less I’m going up to Sea Island to Frederica. -2015

Q. This is a ball-striker’s golf course but is there a level of comfort here that maybe you feel that other guys don’t because you’re familiar with it?
Yeah, I think that I’m comfortable with the tee shots you got to hit off the shapes and everything, and I’m comfortable with the shots into the greens. So, I think that’s what I can take most from it. The greens are nowhere near what they are like this the rest of the year, so the break, I can have an understanding on how much it’s going to break, but it’s different with these fast greens and firm and everything, but, yeah, there are just shots off the tees and iron shots into the greens and everything, you can feel comfortable with, because I’ve hit them hundreds of times. -2015

Q. Is there something out here that suits your eye? You played well on the other side a couple years ago on WEB.COM.
Yeah, you know, I think I just love the whole tournament. Everything about this tournament, from how they run it, to the food, to the course, to where we’re staying and everything is just great about it. It’s very simple, it’s efficient, and it just, I just have good vibes here, obviously, from winning here for the WEB.COM TOUR Championship and, obviously, I’d love to shoot a really good one tomorrow and it would be pretty cool to have, to win both tournaments here. Certainly that’s why I’m here and I want to go play well and win tomorrow. -2015

Q. Being a first-timer, what advice have you sought out or gotten about playing the course here?
I got a lot of advice when I was at home with Lee Trevino. I spent a day with him, and just a lot of those things, play to your strengths, play to the angles. This is an angle golf course. There’s a lot of double doglegs. You have to know where to position the golf ball, and that’s just one of those things I’ve gotten focused on, and hopefully at the end of the week, it works out. -2014

Q. How did you spend the last two weeks after Hilton Head? And then secondly, a word that’s been used to describe this place is some players will call it uncomfortable, and I’m just curious, you’re a guy that’s played it before, obviously different conditions, but how do you sort of feel around this place in terms of the course?
About this golf course, I wouldn’t say that it’s terribly uncomfortable. I think that the approach shots can be uncomfortable. The tee shots, there’s some leeway on one side or the other to hit the ball. So I feel off the tee very comfortable here. I feel like I’m driving the ball well right now leading into the event. With the approach shots, definitely you want to say away from the swales. It’s very tight, it’s pure, it’s very tight, into-the-grain Bermuda that you don’t really know what shot to hit from down there, whether you’re going to try and nip it and spin it or you’re going to bump it or even putt it. So certainly when you’re hitting your second shots I think you’ll see a lot of bailouts on not wanting to be in certain places because they’re so difficult to get up-and-down from if you’re too aggressive.

So that’s kind of my thing is sometimes I’m too dangerous in the shots that I play, but if I draw back and approach it like it is a major, like I approached Augusta, then I should be able to play the safe shots and stay away from that trouble. -2014

Q. Did you hit driver all day today?
I only hit four. Callaway strengthened my 3-wood for me. I’m hitting a pretty good 3-wood, so I don’t have to hit driver. -2014

Q. At a tournament like this, does high scoring reflect in any way negatively on the tournament or the course, or low scoring? If the guys shoot too many good numbers, is that a good thing or a bad thing for the prestige of the tournament?
Well, it depends on who you ask. I’ve always liked this tournament because of what it is, because it’s usually not a long course but it plays hard. I won with 5-under. There’s guys that have won it with even or 1-under. Then there’s a couple times where guys have shot 14, 15, 24-under or something like that like Norman did. But for the most part, usually if the weather is right and it plays right, it’s the kind of tournament that gets won between 7-and-12-under. -2014

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, definitely. I feel like I figured this golf course out and I can play it much better than I have been able to in the past. It doesn’t frustrate me quite as much as it used to. You know you’re coming here and you’re expecting to hit fairway woods off tees and irons and trying to position your ball.
But, yeah, the scoring’s really good out there. There’s a lot of low scores; and 70 I feel is going to be pretty average by the end of the day. So I want to go out tomorrow afternoon and shoot something a bit lower to get myself into contention going into the weekend. -2014

Q. You said you’ve done away with the frustration, do you feel comfortable on this golf course?
I do, yeah. I do. There’s some tee shots that I still don’t feel that comfortable on, so I sort of dial it back a little bit. You saw Harris and Justin hit drivers on some holes where I didn’t. And that’s just because I feel if I hit a really good drive, it could go through the fairway; or if it gets away from me just a little bit, this golf course can sort of exaggerate how bad your misses are. So I hit it to the corners of the doglegs and sort of played it from there. -2014

RORY MCILROY: Visually it’s awkward. You got tee boxes lining you up in wrong directions and you’re having to hit across a lot of fairways. The depth perception is hard with the way the trees are. It’s just, visually, it’s a typical Pete Dye golf course, it’s just visually very awkward. -2014

Q. How many drivers did you hit in a day out here?
Normally hit it on 1, but I didn’t today. I hit it on 2, 5, 7, 11. Depending on where the pin is I hit it on 12. Today I hit it on 12. 14 I hit it. 16 I hit it and 18 I hit it. So quite a few. Probably about 10? Nine, 10, depending upon wind direction. -2014

Q. Can you describe your comfort level on this golf course. It seems to be a golf course that fits your eye.
Yes, they say that there’s courses for horses. I think that, unfortunately, Augusta is one that doesn’t get into my eyes for some reason, I seem to struggle to feel comfortable there. I see too many shots at Augusta.

Here, I see less shots. I see, in my head, I have everything a bit more clear of what I want to do. Then it’s a matter of being able to do it. I’ve been fortunate to play well here, I’ve been fortunate to do well for awhile now here, so I’m always, obviously, always excited to come back and give it a shot. -2014

Q. You’ll hit driver maybe a little more often because it’s softer but the fairways are more receptive, so does it even out as far as trying to hit the fairways? Will you hit driver more often?
It sounded like you said the same thing, that you’ll hit driver more and the fairways are more receptive, so yes, I’ll hit driver more.

My game plan is not going to change. I probably hit driver more than most guys around here. I probably feel like the driving is a strength of mine, I feel like particularly accuracy. I think a lot of guys, I see a lot of guys hit very few drivers here. I’m probably one of the guys you would say I hit driver off most tees, try to be aggressive on a handful of holes. 4 comes to mind, 4 fits my shot shape really well. Just a little bit of left-to-right curve to it. And most I’ll be one of the few guys in the field to hit driver on 4. But I feel like that’s a hole I hit a great drive, now I’m looking to take advantage, whereas 4 is kind of an iron for most guys or 3-wood and a short iron, but I’m trying to go kind of driver, wedge, where I’m really looking to score on that hole. So I hit driver more than most, and certainly not going to change that game plan with the conditions. -2014

Junior Golf Experience at TPC Sawgrass

–>2010 Junior PLAYERS Championship Results
–>2009 Junior PLAYERS Championship results
–>2008 PLAYERS Championship Results
–>2007 Junior PLAYERS Championship Results

-Played at the Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass

Tournament Notes

2017: TPC Sawgrass underwent renovations after the 2016 edition with all 18 greens being resurfaced with TifEagle Bemuda greens to replace the Mini Verde. The new tee box was added on the par-4 12th to provide a risk-reward driveable hole. Many other holes saw slight modifcations or reconfigurations during the renovation.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Pingback: THE PLAYERS Fantasy Preview

  2. Pingback: THE PLAYERS Fantasy Preview

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *