THE PLAYERS again boasts world-class fieldMay 04, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- With the passing of today's 5 p.m. ET commitment deadline, the field is set for the 39th installment of THE PLAYERS with 145 of the world's best players ready to challenge THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, May 7-13. If not otherwise qualified, only the winner of this week's Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA TOUR can gain entry into the deepest field in professional golf. The 145-player field features 29 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup points list and nine of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). Masters champion Bubba Watson, who is No. 2 in the FedExCup standings and No. 4 in the OWGR, announced earlier this week he would not play in order to spend more time with his wife and baby son.
The field features 10 past champions of THE PLAYERS, including defending champion K.J. Choi, Phil Mickelson (2007), who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday, May 7, Tiger Woods (2001) and Sergio Garcia (2008). Watson is the only 2012 PGA TOUR winner who is not competing, while 40 of 43 PGA TOUR winners since THE PLAYERS 2011 are in the field (Darren Clarke -- British Open, Dustin Johnson -- The Barclays).
Of the 145 players in the field, 52 were born outside of the United States (19 countries represented) and will look to continue the trend of success by international competitors at THE PLAYERS. Each of the last four winners of THE PLAYERS and seven of the last 10, dating to 2002, were born outside of the United States. The last six winners of THE PLAYERS have been from six different countries, the longest such streak of any event on TOUR.
For the second consecutive year, Australia leads the way with 10 players in the field, including 2004 PLAYERS champion Adam Scott. England checks in next with seven players, highlighted by Transitions Championship winner Luke Donald and Justin Rose, who won the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. Choi is one of six Koreans in the field, while South Africa also has six players competing, including 2010 PLAYERS champion Tim Clark and Ernie Els, who finished runner-up last week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Carl Pettersson, winner of the RBC Heritage in April, and 2009 PLAYERS champion Henrik Stenson are among the five players from Sweden in the field. Argentina, Canada, Northern Ireland and Spain each have two players in the field while Colombia, Fiji, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Venezuela and Zimbabwe all have one.
Scott Stallings, who won the 2011 Greenbrier Classic, Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Kyle Stanley and Mayakoba Golf Classic champion John Huh headline a group of 16 players making their first appearance at THE PLAYERS. Also included in the group are Korea's Sang-Moon Bae and Sung Kang, England's Simon Dyson and Canadians David Hearn and Graham DeLaet. Jacksonville native Bud Cauley and Jacksonville Beach resident Matt Every are joined by fellow Americans Harris English (St. Simons Island, Ga.), J.J. Killeen, Colt Knost, David Mathis, Michael Thompson and Cameron Tringale. The first-timers will gather in the media center for their annual press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, May 9.
Past champion Fred Couples, who won THE PLAYERS in 1984 and 1996, is the oldest player in the field at the age of 52 years, 4 months and 7 days (as of May 7). Couples earned an invitation to THE PLAYERS by virtue of winning the 2011 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship on the Champions Tour. He is making his first start at TPC Sawgrass since 2009 and the 27th of his career. On the opposite end of the spectrum, John Huh is the youngest player in the field at the age of 21 years, 11 months and 16 days (as of May 7) and will be making his first start at TPC Sawgrass.
A total of 147 players qualified for THE PLAYERS in 2012. The following players qualified but are not participating: Thomas Bjorn (DEN), Darren Clarke (NIR), Paul Goydos (USA), Anders Hansen (DEN), Dustin Johnson (USA), Anthony Kim (USA), K.T. Kim (KOR), Paul Lawrie (SCO), Steve Marino (USA), Charl Schwartzel (ZAF) and Bubba Watson (USA). In order to fill the field to 144 players (Fred Couples is an addition to the field and does not count towards the 144), the following players qualified via their ranking in the current FedExCup standings: Matt Every (USA), Bud Cauley (USA), Colt Knost (USA), Ken Duke (USA), John Mallinger (USA), Harris English (USA), Graham DeLaet (CAN) and Jeff Maggert (USA).
Should the winner of this week's Wells Fargo Championship not already be in the field for THE PLAYERS, they would qualify and Maggert would become the first alternate.
Tickets to THE PLAYERS Championship 2012 are still available and can be purchased at First Coast Publix Super Markets locations, at TPC Sawgrass, online at www.PGATOUR.COM/theplayers and via telephone by calling Ticketmaster at (888) 401-8000. The Family Plan is also available at local Daily's convenience stores.