The top 50 players in the world head to TPC Sawgrass as we preview the Players Championship 2015.
German Martin Kaymer defends his title this week from all of the top 50 in the current Official World Golf Rankings and no less than 56 of the world’s top 60. Located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the world famous Pete Dye designed TPC Sawgrass is a par 72 measuring 7,215 yards.
The so called ‘fifth major’ favours those who hit a high number of greens in regulation, with the last three winners finishing third in the GIR rank on their way to victory.
2014 – Martin Kaymer – 75% (T3)
2013 – Tiger Woods – 76.39% (T-3)
2012 – Matt Kuchar – 76.31% (T-3)
Four time PGA Tour winner Bob Estes gives us an insight into who might play well this week.
TPC Sawgrass is a very comfortable right to left golf course overall. High finishers that don’t hit a natural draw have really played well.
— Bob Estes (@BobEstesPGA) May 12, 2013
Current world ranking for the last 9 winners on Tour: 8, 2, 41, 11, 12, 2, 5, 6, 1. That’s pretty stout.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) May 3, 2015
This tallies somewhat with the last three winners here and their world golf ranking at the time:
2014 – Martin Kaymer – 61st
2013 – Tiger Woods – 1st
2012 – Matt Kuchar – 16th
- None of the par 5’s measure over 600 yards, further backing the theory that GIR stats and accurate ball striking are the order of the day around Sawgrass
- −13 has been the winning mark for the last four years
- Current Masters champion Jordan Spieth took a share of the lead into last year’s final round and finished T4 on his Players debut
- Rory McIlroy has two top 10’s in five appearances at the Pete Dye course
- Henrik Stenson ranks highest in greens in regulation on Tour of the players in this week’s field (third)
- K.J Choi is the only Asian born golfer to win The Players Championship
- In 2005, Fred Funk becomes the tournament’s oldest champion at 48
Previous Winners and Runner Ups:
2008 – Sergio Garcia bt Paul Goydos in playoff
2009 – Henrik Stenson bt Ian Poulter
2010 – Tim Clark bt Robert Allenby
2011 – K.J. Choi bt David Toms
2012 – Matt Kuchar bt Ben Curtis, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Martin Laird
2013 – Tiger Woods bt David Lingmerth, Jeff Maggert, Kevin Streelman
2014 – Martin Kaymer bt Jim Furyk
Martin Kaymer Odds @ 81
Martin was third in greens in regulation when winning here last year, hitting 75% of the greens.
The eleven time European Tour winner hasn’t been in great form this year, but is a temptingly large price for a player of such pedigree. Despite this, Kaymer’s putter hasn’t quite left him yet – he’s eighth on the PGA Tour in overall putting average. Perhaps liking certain venues, he also successfully defended his 2010 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship – repeating the feat in 2011.
Lee Westwood Odds @ 46
Has only missed a solitary cut on Tour so far, with seven top 25’s seeing Westwood returning to his famed consistency. His three appearances on the European Tour have also yielded two ten finishes.
Lee is 13th in strokes gained: total and 26th in strokes gained: putting on the PGA Tour this season. In his last four visits here he has finished 4th, 61st, 8th and 6th.
Henrik Stenson Odds @ 24
Boasting 17 professional wins, including a win at Sawgrass in 2009, this is the sort of prestigious event that should favour the classy Swede. Three top four finishes in his last five tournaments (4th twice and runner up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational) suggest that Stenson will eventually break down the proverbial door.
He’s well equipped to do this, as he ranks highest in greens in regulation on Tour of the players heading to Sawgrass, along with being 7th in driving accuracy percentage (more important around here than length) and being first for strokes gained: tee-to-green solidifies his ball striking prowess.