Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The island-green 17th at the TPC Sawgrass' Stadium course will hog the screen time while you're watching the Players Championship this month, but it's not the hole that Tour players are really sweating. A good score on 17 is mostly about luck — you check the wind, pick the right club, aim for the center of the green and pray. The 447-yard 18th is actually the toughest hole during the tournament. You have to avoid the lake twice, on the tee shot and again on the approach. "From the tee, you don't see a lot of fairway — what you see is water," says 2005 Players Championship winner Fred Funk. "And the second shot isn't easy because the green is so severe. It's an especially great finishing hole."

On the approach, Fred says:

From the tee, Fred says:

Greenside bunker:

Mounds to front and right of green:

The green:

"This is one of the more difficult greens on Tour. It's a weird shape. You've got a plateau to the right, then you've got a little plateau over that first level, and then it goes up again to where the Sunday pin is [back left]. It's always tricky getting to those. The front-left pin is pretty easy, because everything feeds to it. But the other positions are brutal."

Winning numbers
At 48, Fred Funk became the Players Championship's oldest winner by hitting plenty of fairways and greens. Here are the stats behind his victory:
Birdies 17
Pars 47
Bogeys 8
Greens in regulation 1st (58 of 72)
Fairways hit T1 (48 of 56)
Sand saves T41 (2 of 4)
Total putts T69 (122)
Driving distance 80th (253.4 yards)

Play it

Tee times:
Greens fees:

Getting there:

You May Like