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THE PLAYERS Championship: All you need to know

THE PLAYERS Championship is one of the most prestigious events on the PGA TOUR, attracting big names and offering huge cheques.

It has been described as the unofficial fifth major, given its status in the golfing world, and we have gone through everything you need to know about the PGA TOUR event.

What: The Players Championship 2023
Where: Stadium Course, TPC at Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach
When: Thursday 9th March - Sunday 12th March, 2023
How to watch: Sky Sports

When is THE PLAYERS Championship?

When THE PLAYERS Championship moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977, the tournament was played in mid-to late March for the first 30 years in Florida.

In 2007 as part of a restructure of the PGA TOUR, the decision was made to move the event to May and it was played at this time of the year for the next 12 years.

From 2019, the tournament has been played in the original slot of mid-to late March, due to a realignment of the season that moved the USPGA Championship from August to May.

Where is THE PLAYERS Championship held?

The inaugural Players Championship was staged at Atlanta Country Club in 1974, before Colonial Country Club was venue the following year and then the East Course at Inverrary Country Club hosted in 1976.

A total of five events were then held at Sawgrass Country Club from 1977-1981 before it moved across the road to the west, at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, from 1982 to the present day.

Who can play in THE PLAYERS Championship?

A 144-strong field competes in The Players Championship and there are various criteria that quality an individual for the event.

Winners on the PGA TOUR since the previous PLAYERS Championship, recent winners of Majors, WGC events and THE PLAYERS, and the leading players in the FedEx Cup standings from the current preceding seasons can compete.

A full list of current invitees can be found here.

Who will play at THE PLAYERS Championship?

While the confirmed field won't be known until nearer the time, the below players will all receive an invite:

Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Matt Fitzpatrick, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris and plenty more leading names. 

Will any LIV golfers be at THE PLAYERS Championship?

While several players who left the PGA TOUR for LIV Golf would be eligible under normal qualification criteria, LIV golfers, including the likes of Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have not been invited.

How much is THE PLAYERS Championship purse?

THE PLAYERS Championship is regarded as the most prestigious tournament outside of the four majors and, as such, is dubbed the 'fifth major'. It attracts high-class fields each year and it is no surprise to see the purses increase as time has gone on.

In 1974, inaugural champion Jack Nicklaus took home $50,000 from the $250,000 purse, while reigning champion Cameron Smith pocketed $3.6million from the $20m purse.

During the 2022 season, THE PLAYERS Championship was the only event with a purse higher than $15m, but that will all change in 2023 due to the new elevated tournaments.

The Phoenix Open, RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo Championship and Travelers Championship will now all have $20m prize purses, joining the four majors, THE PLAYERS Championship, the three FedEx Cup Playoff events, the three invitationals (Genesis, Bay Hill, Memorial), the WGC Match Play and the Tournament of Champions as having 'elevated' status.

In 2023, THE PLAYERS Championship will have a purse of $25m.

What are the iconic holes at THE PLAYERS Championship?

There are some fantastic holes at the Stadium Course, with a water-lined 18th a great finisher, but there is no doubt the iconic par-three 17th is the pick of the bunch.

With the nerves likely to be jangling on the penultimate hole, the players have to hit an island green that is a mere 135 yards away, but water surrounding the putting surface makes this a real test.

If the wind picks up, and it usually does, the shot to this green is one of the toughest around and it is estimated, by the PGA TOUR, some 100,000 balls are lost in the water at the 17th each year.

The professionals account for a small percentage of that amount, but they are still susceptible to finding the drink.

The highest one-day total of balls going in the water was 50 in round one of the 2007 PLAYERS Championship, while the highest score racked up on the hole was a 12 by Bob Tway in 2005.

Who has won THE PLAYERS Championship the most times?

Jack Nicklaus, who leads the all-time major championship standings with 18 to his name, is the only player to have won THE PLAYERS Championship on three occasions (1974, 1976 and 1978), but none of those wins came at the Stadium Course.

Fred Couples, Steve Elkington, Hal Sutton, Davis Love III and Tiger Woods have all lifted the trophy twice, while 35 others players have triumphed once.

In 2017, South Korean Si-woo Kim, at the age of 21, became the youngest winner of THE PLAYERS Championship, finishing on -10 to beat Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter by three shots.

What is the record winning score for THE PLAYERS Championship?

Australian Greg Norman holds the tournament record score, finishing on -24 - an aggregate score of 264 - when taking the title by four strokes in 1994.

Compatriot Elkington holds the record for the biggest winning margin, as he triumphed by a mighty seven shots when winning for the second time in 1997.

There have been five play-offs required to determine the winner, with Rickie Fowler's superb performance to outlast Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner in 2015 the last time extra holes were needed.

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