Power Rankings: THE PLAYERS Championship
May 04, 2015
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Day has finished in the top 20 twice at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
When you build a course with a definitive line between success and failure on many shots, you better be consistent. To be certain, TPC Sawgrass is iconic, but now in its 42nd year as host to THE PLAYERS Championship, it's not so much embraced and adored as it is wrestled and controlled. It's a tough love and you need to have a firm footing to keep it on a leash.
The winner's aggregate in each of the last four editions was 13-under 275, and it's not like it's golf in a dome within a bike ride from the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Moreover, identical scores are more coincidental than, say, getting all 18 greens on any course to measure the same on the Stimpmeter, which, by the way, should yield 12.5 on Pete Dye's creation this week. Rather, the field of 144 expects conditions to remain true throughout the 7,215-yard stroll.
This has been the case in recent memory. TPC Sawgrass, which is a stock par 72, averaged just +0.155 strokes to par last year. Its distance of all drives (ranked 10th among all courses), greens in regulation (22nd), proximity to the hole (T12) and scrambling (13th) were in line with previous editions. The golfers returning can essentially count on what they saw the last time they teed it up here. And that's valuable. THE PLAYERS features a world-class field deserving of the absence of a negative.
TPC Sawgrass also has a reputation of being a ball-striker's venue. That's rather obvious given the danger lurking around every railroad tie, and it's revealed in the statistical profile. The course ranked fourth in 2014 in proximity from the rough. With fast greens that average just 4,500 square feet, hitting approaches from the cleanest of lies is a premium. And from a pure scoring standpoint, TPC Sawgrass was once again steady, ranking inside in the top 20 in par-3, par-4 and par-5 scoring.
Remarkably, defending champion Martin Kaymer finished the week outside the top 10 in both par-4 and par-5 scoring, but he co-led the field in bogey avoidance. He placed third in greens in and fourth in scrambling. The 30-year-old German will be aiming to become the first to successfully defend a title in the tournament.
Scoring is always dictated by the wind, which is always a moving target well in advance. After moderate breezes from a northerly direction (read: not prevailing) in the first two rounds, the forecast is calling for gradually reduced winds from a more customary southerly direction. Temperatures will rise into the 80s and rain cannot be ruled out on any day.
POWER RANKINGS: THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 1 Rory McIlroy 2 Henrik Stenson 3 Jordan Spieth 4 Jim Furyk 5 Justin Rose 6 Hideki Matsuyama 7 Jason Day 8 Paul Casey 9 Louis Oosthuizen 10 J.B. Holmes 11 Jimmy Walker 12 Matt Kuchar 13 Sergio Garcia 14 Hunter Mahan 15 Billy Horschel 16 Lee Westwood 17 Zach Johnson 18 Gary Woodland 19 Adam Scott 20 Tiger Woods