The Norman Transcript

National Sports

May 8, 2013

Players Championship course a mystery to best players

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The Players Championship should consider changing the name of its course to the TPC Mystery.

The reason The Players is talked about as the next best thing to a major is because the field is the strongest and deepest in golf. Until the PGA Tour recently created a spot for the Senior Players Championship winner, anyone who teed it up on the TPC Sawgrass had as good a chance as the next guy.

The mystery is trying to determine whose game best suits the golf course.

The list of winners is impressive, though it doesn’t offer concrete clues except that two-thirds are major champions. More curious is how infrequently some of the game’s best players are even in the mix late Sunday afternoon.

Start with Tiger Woods.

He was runner-up in 2000 to Hal “Be the right club today” Sutton. He won in 2001 with that putt on the island-green 17th that was better than most.

And that’s it.

At Sawgrass, he’s had only two serious chances at winning.

“There’s no course that less people have worked out than this one,” Geoff Ogilvy said upon leaving Sawgrass last year. “You get one or two chances in your career and you take them. It’s a tournament Tiger has played 15 times and he’s only contended twice. There’s something odd there. Maybe that’s the genius of the golf course. Or maybe that’s the flaw of the golf course.”

But it’s not just Woods.

Phil Mickelson has won 41 times on the PGA Tour, second only to Woods in the last 25 years, with four major championships. He won The Players in 2007, right after switching over to Butch Harmon as his swing coach. And that was the only time he seriously contended at Sawgrass. He tied for third in 2004, but he was five shots behind Adam Scott.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Tour leader Nibali says he’s ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

    CARCASSONNE, France — Barring a disaster for him on French roads from now until Sunday, the man who looks set to win the Tour de France says he understands that cycling is still paying for its longtime doping plague....

    July 22, 2014

  • McIlroy will emerge even stronger than ever

    HOYLAKE, England — The celebration began long before Rory McIlroy had a chance to drink out of the claret jug....

    July 22, 2014

  • Petrino ushers Louisville into ACC

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bobby Petrino turned Louisville into a top-10 team nearly a decade ago. Now, more than two years after a scandal derailed his career, Petrino is back with the Cardinals as they enter the Atlantic Coast Conference....

    July 22, 2014

  • Stewart still riding high

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart heads into the busiest week of his year riding high from a win in his return to sprint car racing. Stewart raced in a sprint car last weekend for the first time since he broke his leg in an extracurricular ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Witness: Sterling must sell to pay debts

    LOS ANGELES — The chief financial officer of Donald Sterling’s properties said Monday that the billionaire may be forced to sell a large portion of his real estate empire to cover $500 million in loans if he persists in refusing to sell ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Mikolas pitches Rangers past sloppy Yankees

    NEW YORK — Miles Mikolas earned his first win as a starter, pitching into the eighth inning Monday night and leading the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the sloppy New York Yankees. Trailing by a run with none on and two outs in the ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Angels with latest big move before deadline

    Oakland general manager Billy Beane acted boldly, trading top prospect Addison Russell in a deal that brought starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics....

    July 22, 2014

  • Jeter turns small part of attention to business

    NEW YORK — Pedestrians craned their necks as Derek Jeter stood in front of a food truck parked across the street from Central Park....

    July 22, 2014

  • Ortiz homers twice, Red Sox rout Blue Jays

    TORONTO — David Ortiz hit the 452nd and 453rd home runs of his career, moving past Boston great Carl Yastrzemski into 36th place on the all-time list, and the Red Sox won their fifth straight game Monday night, routing the Toronto Blue ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Dodgers edge out Cardinals

    ST. LOUIS — Adrian Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning off St. Louis Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal and the Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged the series finale with a 4-3 victory Sunday night....

    July 21, 2014