PGA Tour Confidential: The Players Championship

K.J. Choi, final round, 2011 Players Championship
Fred Vuich/SI
K.J. Choi drained a short par putt on the first playoff hole for his eighth career PGA Tour victory.

Every week of the 2011 PGA Tour season, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in on Mondays for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

CHOI GETS HIS BIGGEST WIN
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: K.J. Choi wins the Players Championship. I'm sure everyone who's spent time around Choi is happy he got the win, but it's been a while since someone has used a win at the Players as a springboard to bigger and better things. Will Choi buck that trend at the upcoming majors?

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I like K.J.'s resurgence. I don't know if he'll keep it going. I think he needs to get a bigger grip on his putter.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: K.J.'s had a lot of chances in the majors and never gotten it done. He may yet pick one off, but I don't see him going on a sustained tear and altering the golf landscape.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: Wouldn't be surprised if K.J. snatched a PGA or a green jacket. He's played very well at Augusta the last two years.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: History, both Choi's and that of Players winners, suggests not. Don't forget, he'll be 41 this week.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Choi has been a regular on the first page of leaderboards for a while, so I'm not shocked that he won, but I don't think that he's about to become a juggernaut on the Tour. He was top 10 at Riviera, Bay Hill, Augusta and New Orleans. I see this win as another example of how many guys are capable of winning.

Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Choi has to putt better. Here and at the Masters he missed a ton of short putts. He probably should have won the Masters.

Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: K.J. is legit. He's won eight times on tour now. He's won at Jack's place, Tiger's place and now a Players. I see him reaching nine or 10 wins and, maybe, one major.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Choi has been in the hunt at more than one major. This victory could very well help him get over the top.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: His short putting will always make you worry about him, but he's tailor-made for U.S. Open play.

Walker: If you look at the post-victory struggles of the last Players champions (Clark, Stenson, Garcia), winning the Players looks like winning the Best New Artist Grammy.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Don't forget Adam Scott!

Tell us what you think: Is Choi ready to break through at a major?

SUDDEN DEATH AT 17
Walker: Is 17 the best or worst hole in the world for a sudden-death playoff? Only choices are best or worst, and you have to explain your answer.

Gorant: Best for this event. It's all about the tricked-up course and the heroic shot. Golf Roman Coliseum style: give the people what they want.

Evans: It's the worst because the hole is a crap-shoot, and to put $1.7 million on that one hole is unfair to the tournament. You may as well be playing the lottery.

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: I love the 17th. Great fun every year. Never disappoints. And even for guys like us, it's a hoot to play.

Van Sickle: It's totally in keeping with the miniature-golf-like nature of the course, as best seen by McDowell's ball at 18 that bounced across the green into the water. The 17th is an equalizer. That kind of describes the whole Stadium Course layout. So why not start there? It's great for TV, and that's all anyone cares about anymore.

Shipnuck: Worst and best. It's gimmicky and you hate to see a good tourney decided by a gust of wind, but it somehow works for this event. It's certainly dramatic and probably golf's best amphitheater.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Best. By far the most talked about hole in Tour history.

Van Sickle: Maybe it's genius. We've had two playoffs start at 17. Neither has gone to a second hole. It's decisive... so far.

Dusek: It's a playoff, which to me implies a potentially fast-ending conclusion to a four-day event. I don't understand why a playoff hole is better if it's a par 4 or a par 5. Each player has a chance to tee it up and hit a good shot or a bad shot. The 17th at Sawgrass is just more dramatic than most other holes.

Bamberger: It's a horrible hole for championship golf. Perfect for a sudden-death playoff, which is all about TV anyhow. It's the best.

Walker: The best. I've never bought the argument against sudden-death overtimes, even in football. Choi and Toms had 72 holes to win the golf tournament. It had been on TV for the previous 12 hours. Give us an exciting finish and let us get on with our lives.

Wei: Best. Even with just a wedge on the tee, it's intimidating visually and tough to judge, especially when the wind is swirling. Factor in the nerves of $1.7 million and the title on the line, and it brings out both the joy and tragedy of the sport.

Hack: It's the best. Why? Because it's the epitome of sudden death. It's the perfect fit for this championship.

Godich: The best. The Tour wants drama. Can't ask for a better setting than that.

Tell us what you think: Is the island-green 17th the best sudden-death hole in all of golf? If not, what's your pick?

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