10 Mar 2022

WATCH: Greatest shots at The Players Championship

This week’s Players Championship holds many special moments in the minds of golf fans because, like The Masters, it has a permanent home at the TPC Sawgrass in northern Florida. It also just happens to boast the biggest prize in golf at $20 million and home to Pete Dye’s notorious 17th hole.

Since the TPC course became the permanent home for the event in 1982 the best players from around the world have teed off for the honour of winning the PGA Tour’s flagship title and many of the game’s greats have prevailed there – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Nick Price, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy and Sandy Lyle are just a smattering of the big names to have lifted the trophy.

Here, we take a look at some of the greatest shots from the PGA Tour’s flagship event, where 47 of the top 50 in the world are teeing it up this week.


Rafa Cabrera Bello – Albatross on the 16th 

Rafa Cabrera Bello wrote his name into the history books in 2017 after becoming the first player to make an albatross on the 16th in the tournament’s history.  The Spaniard’s drive narrowly missed the fairway but didn’t stop him taking a bold line with his second shot in an attempt to find the green in two, as he took aim at the flag from 181 yards. The approach took a big hop forward from just past a pot bunker and ran through the fringe, onto the green and straight into the cup for a spectacular albatross.

Phil Mickelson – The Great Escape

En route to winning The Players Championship in 2007, Phil Mickelson hit one of the craziest shots we’ve ever seen at TPC Sawgrass. After driving his ball left on the dogleg-left par 4 10th, the American was faced with a fairway bunker shot from short of the corner of the dogleg with a grove of mature palm trees on the mound above the trap, as well as some tall pines whose limbs overhang just above the palm fronds. The obvious shot choice was a big left-handed cut just to get his ball up somewhere to the right of the green. But Phil had other ideas and took dead aim, picking a 7-iron off the sand and sailing it cleanly through the narrowest of windows in the trees. The ball came to rest 30 feet to the right of the hole.


Sergio Garcia – Holds his nerve

The greatest amphitheatre in sport was the destination for this iconic shot from Sergio Garcia to win the 2008 Players Championship. Pete Dye’s magical 17th hole of the Stadium Course, has provided plenty of drama over the years and 2008 provided plenty more of that after the tournament went to a play-off. Paul Goydos was up first but he succumbed to the pressure as he hit hit his first shot into the water. Knowing a shot onto the green would likely hand him the championship, Garcia masterfully landed his shot — with a little help from the wind — just a few feet from the pin before he two-putted for the victory to become just the second European Players Championship winner.


Rickie Fowler – Masters the 17th 

 

In the final round of The 2015 Players Championship, Rickie Fowler hit his tee shot to four feet, before sinking the putt for birdie on No. 17, the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff to claim his second win on the PGA Tour. Remarkably that was the American’s third time playing that hole on the Sunday and each time he hit his approach shot within seven feet. Of the six times he played the hole that week he made birdie on five occasions.


Hal Sutton – Be the right club, today!

Arriving onto the 18th with a one-stroke lead over Tiger Woods, Hal Sutton produced one of the greatest shots at The Players Championship along with one of the greatest quotes. After Tiger missed the green with his approach, Sutton launched a six-iron from 179 yards with a tight little swing before raising his head to see the ball heading directly to the pin, and exclaimed: “Be the right club today!” The ball dropped eight feet from the pin and Sutton would go on to two-putt for a one shot victory.


Fred Couples – Improbable Eagle

As the tense, final holes of the 1996 Players Championship approached, Fred Couples was his usual, cool self. That all changed on the 16th after the American’s second shot with a 2-iron on the landed near the water’s edge and bounced onto the fringe of the green. From there, Couples sunk an improbable 30-foot eagle putt. He raised his putter in the air as the ball neared the hole, stretched his right arm upward for a fist pump as the ball rolled in and the gallery went crazy. The eagle propelled Couples from one shot behind to one ahead of Colin Montgomerie and Tommy Tolles. Two holes later, Couples was the champion for a second time.


Craig Perks – Miraculous finish 

Not many people had heard of Craig Perks before the 2002 Players Championship, but that all changed with his heroics on the closing stretch during the final round. Having started the day in second it was looking promising for the American to pick up a first PGA but after seven bogies over his first 15 holes, it looked as if Perks was going to fade away against challengers like Stephen Ames who would finish with the round of the day, a closing 67. Suddenly Perks shot into life with a momentum-changing 21-foot chip-in for eagle on 16, which was quickly followed by monster 28-foot birdie at 17, and a par-saving chip-in from 28 feet on 18 for a two-stroke victory over Ames.


Tiger Woods – Better than most!

Tiger Woods’ “better than most” putt is one of the most famous putts in golf history, and also one of the most famous calls of a putt by a broadcaster. The 15-time Major champion faced a 60-foot, downhill, triple-breaker from the back fringe of the island green for a birdie and few would have been expecting him to make it, especially after the majority of players that day had been in a similar position had suffered a disastrous fate on the Sunday. Woods started his ball to the right of the hole before it drifted left down the slope and then turned sharply right before finding the right edge of the cup and dropping in, all this accompanied by three calls of “better than most” from Gary Koch in the commentary box.


Jerry Pate – Making a splash

Jerry Pate’s pin-seeker on the 72nd hole is arguably the most memorable shot in the history of  the tournament, but not just beacuse of the brilliance of the shit. After securing the first Players Championship to be held at TPC Sawgrass, Pate threw PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman and course designer Pete Dye into the lake beside the 18th green before swan diving into the lake himself.
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