PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Reigning U.S. Open champion and winner of The Honda Classic last month, Rory McIlroy is one of 13 PGA TOUR winners in 2012 who have officially committed to THE PLAYERS. McIlroy, who returns to THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass after a one-year absence in 2011, has failed to make the 36-hole cut in his first two appearances at THE PLAYERS in 2009 and 2010.
The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland collected his first major championship with a record-breaking victory last June at the U.S. Open and earned his fourth PGA TOUR victory with a two-shot triumph at The Honda Classic in March.
Joining McIlroy on the list of 2012 winners already committed to THE PLAYERS is American Hunter Mahan, the current FedExCup points leader and the only multiple winner on the PGA TOUR this year after victories at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in February and the Shell Houston Open two weeks ago. With five wins to his resume, Mahan, who turns 30 the week after THE PLAYERS (May 17), is tied with Dustin Johnson for most PGA TOUR victories by a player currently in his 20s. He produced his first top-10 finish at TPC Sawgrass in 2011 with a T6.
Sweden's Carl Pettersson, who claimed his fifth PGA TOUR title over the weekend with a five-shot victory at the RBC Heritage, is also among the 2012 winners committed to THE PLAYERS. In seven previous starts at THE PLAYERS, Pettersson's best finish came in 2006 when he finished T8.
Other PGA TOUR winners in 2012 who highlight the list of those already committed to THE PLAYERS include 12-time PGA TOUR winner Steve Stricker (Hyundai Tournament of Champions), Masters champion Bubba Watson, 2007 PLAYERS champion Phil Mickelson (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) and 2001 PLAYERS champion Tiger Woods (Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard). Johnson Wagner (Sony Open in Hawaii), Mark Wilson (Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation), Brandt Snedeker (Farmers Insurance Open), Kyle Stanley (Waste Management Phoenix Open) and George McNeill (Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com) have also committed. PGA TOUR rookie John Huh, winner of the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February, will make his first start at THE PLAYERS next month.
Justin Rose (World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship) and Luke Donald (Transitions Championship) are the only winners this year that have yet to commit to THE PLAYERS. Players have until 5 p.m. ET on Friday, May 4, to officially commit to the event.
New in 2012: THE PLAYERS introduces recycling initiatives
THE PLAYERS has "Gone Green" in 2012 with a number of new recycling efforts at the event. THE PLAYERS is working with a new trash removal company, Jacksonville-based Southland Waste Republic Services, to recycle as much as possible during and after the event, including approximately 100,000 square feet of carpet from hospitality venues.
"We've found carpet to be one of the most expensive products to dispose of each year that also cost our environment," said Executive Director Matt Rapp. "By working with Southland Waste Republic Services, we hope to eliminate much of that waste and as an added benefit, the savings helps the tournament to continue to support local charities."
THE PLAYERS will use approximately 700 trash boxes from Southland, which are fully recyclable and/or reusable. In prior years, trash boxes had a waxy coat, which prevented them from being recycled. Fans will also see an increase in the number of recycling boxes (approximately 350) and a greater effort to have a recycle bin paired with every trash receptacle.
THE PLAYERS has also expanded its partnership with JEA, bringing solar cell-phone charging stations on site for fans to access, as well as using reclaimed water in PwC's First Tee Challenge, which represents a savings of 75,000 gallons of fresh water.
Community update: THE PLAYERS to feature "Charity of the Day" Tuesday-Sunday
In an effort to give local organizations the opportunity to utilize THE PLAYERS to raise their profile, the event is designating a different charity as "Charity of the Day" from Tuesday, May 8, through Sunday, May 13. Charities selected are beneficiaries of THE PLAYERS.
Tuesday -- Teach for America Wednesday -- The Boy Scouts of America Thursday -- Wolfson Children's Hospital Friday -- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Saturday -- The National MS Society Sunday -- The 26.2 with Donna Foundation
Each day, the designated charity will staff the main entry gates at THE PLAYERS to distribute charity messaging and ribbons to fans to raise awareness of their organization. They will also be featured in THE PLAYERS pairings guide that day, receive exposure via on-course LED boards in addition to other creative elements around TPC Sawgrass that will coincide with the charities' themes.