The Players Championship 2018: Course and form stats for the 'Fifth Major'

Emiliano Grillo: Was 11th at Sawgrass in 2017
Emiliano Grillo: The stats suggest he could be worth an each-way punt this week
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TPC Sawgrass, home of the Players Championship for 36 years, is one of golf's best-known venues. Andy Swales provides course and current form stats for this week's 'Fifth Major'...

"Regarding tournament stats from 2017, Putting and Driving Accuracy appeared less important than Greens in Regulation."

The PGA Tour travels 400 miles from Charlotte in North Carolina, to Jacksonville in Florida, for this week's 45th staging of The Players Championship.

Known as 'The Fifth Major', The Players Championship was first held in 1974 and, after spending its early years moving from venue to venue, settled at its current address in Ponte Vedra 36 years ago.

Opened in 1980, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass has greens that are generally smaller than the Tour average.

It also has narrow fairways so, on paper, those who contended last week at Quail Hollow should figure highly again in north Florida, on another course which demands great accuracy from tee-to-green.

Pete Dye, who designed the original course, was brought in to make some changes ahead of the 2007 event when the tournament was moved from March to May.

This meant the course underwent a comprehensive renovation of its fairways and putting surfaces, in order to cope with the warmer weather.

But after 12 years in its current slot, The Players will be heading back close to its original date next year to accommodate the PGA Championship which is switching from August to May.

The Stadium Course, which was laid out among the Florida swamps, was given another upgrade in 2016.

On this occasion changes were made to increase the number of times water would come into play during a round.

According to the PGA Tour website: "Short grass was added around some greens, to promote creativity, while several greens were expanded to add hole locations."

High Quality

With most of the world's top 60 teeing-up on Thursday, the field for TPC Sawgrass remains arguably the strongest in professional golf.

Yet strangely, if you look at the World Ranking, just one of those currently occupying a top 24 spot managed to finish inside the top 10 at Sawgrass 12 months ago. This must surely be no more than a blip.

Regarding tournament stats from 2017, Putting and Driving Accuracy appeared less important than Greens in Regulation.

Of those who completed all 72 holes, nine of the top 15 finishers were among the top 15 in GiR, compared to five in both of the other two categories.

Crème De La Crème

With so many top stars chasing this prestigious title, which ones stand out from the crowd?

Regarding current form, last week's winner Jason Day is also a former Sawgrass champion.

The Aussie usually plays well on testing courses and certainly has the mental strength to win back-to-back titles in the space of eight days.

Masters champion Patrick Reed registered his sixth straight top 10 at Quail Hollow on Sunday.

However, no one has won both Masters and Players titles in the same year, since the latter moved to May. In fact, the only player to win both since the event's inception in the mid-1970s is Tiger Woods 17 years ago.

Elsewhere, 47-year-old Phil Mickelson continues to play great golf while Sawgrass has never been a happy hunting ground for either Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson.

Jordan Spieth has missed the cut on his last three visits, with the normally consistent Paul Casey posting just a single top-10 in 11 starts. Justin Rose has also generally under-performed in the tournament.

Outsiders

History seems to suggests it is a course which tends to polarise between those who like playing TPC Sawgrass and those who don't.

Francesco Molinari has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last three years and the Italian would be a sound each-way bet - although an unlikely winner of the tournament.

At Quail Hollow last week he finished in a tie-for-16th and remains fairly strong from tee-to-green.

Eight of the last 12 winners have been foreigners, and if Greens in Regulation remains a key stat at this year's tournament then Emiliano Grillo could be worth a shout.

The Argentinian tied-11th last year, was ninth over the weekend in North Carolina, and was fifth in Greens in Regulation at Sawgrass 12 months ago.

He is also doing well in this category for the 2018 PGA Tour season, as is Patrick Cantlay who is another who may offer good value to the punter this week.

MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut

Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive

Position

  • 1–5
  • 6–15
  • 16–25
Player W18 W17 W16 W15 W14 W13 W12 W11 W10 W9 W8 W7
Dustin Johnson 16 10 59 7 16
Justin Thomas 21 MC 17 4 2 1 9
Jon Rahm MC 1 4 52 20
Jordan Spieth MC 3 3 17 MC 14 9
Justin Rose 19 12 52 3 5 37
Rickie Fowler 21 2 43 14 37 MC
Rory McIlroy 16 5 36 1 MC 59 20
Hideki Matsuyama MC* 19 36 49
Brooks Koepka 42 MC
Patrick Reed 8 7 1 9 7 2 37 MC
Sergio Garcia MC MC MC 9 4 7 33
Tommy Fleetwood MC 4 17 17 26 14 4 37
Paul Casey 5 MC 15 17 1 12 49
Jason Day 1 34 20 36 22
Henrik Stenson 19 5 6 4 MC
Marc Leishman MC 9 52 7 37 MC
Alexander Noren MC MC 3 36 14 3 16
Bubba Watson 28 5 1 66 9 1
Phil Mickelson 5 36 24 17 1 6
Tyrrell Hatton 42 MC 44 9 69 3 MC
Matt Kuchar 28 51 23 28 8 9 40 58 26
Pat Perez 2 MC MC 52 20 41
Brian Harman 74 23 44 9 54 5 33
Kevin Kisner MC 15 7 28 2 MC 29 MC
Rafa Cabrera-Bello MC MC 38 MC 36 3 29 26
Ian Poulter 22 7 44 1 5 41 MC MC
Satoshi Kodaira 32 1 28 59 MC 54
Charley Hoffman 31 64 23 12 36 14 MC 20 41
Xander Schauffele 72 MC* 32 50 17 18 9
Louis Oosthuizen MC 3 12 9 MC 16 30 24
Francesco Molinari 16 49 20 17 26 25 MC
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 45 44 5 MC 1 5 68
Tony Finau 21 6 10 24 17 MC 27 2
Patrick Cantlay 7 7 MC 17 30 4
Branden Grace 24 29 8 30 37
Gary Woodland MC MC MC 29 MC 50 49
Daniel Berger 55 MC 32 18 59 14 29 MC
Matthew Fitzpatrick 14 38 36 MC MC 30
Cameron Smith MC 32 5 5 MC 46 6
Si Woo Kim 45 2 24 9 MC 59 MC
Webb Simpson 21 5 20 29 8 37 5
Ross Fisher 63 MC MC MC 36 MC 46
Kevin Chappell 30 MC MC 36 7 30 20
Brendan Steele 10 30 MC 17 20 49
Hao Tong Li 32 32 59 54 63 53
Adam Hadwin 16 24 17 12 9 6
Alexander Levy 14 1 36 4
Kyle Stanley 13 52 5 14 25 MC
Bryson DeChambeau 4 3 38 2 Wd 41
Russell Henley MC 15 8 36 58 24
Chez Reavie 22 53 MC 29 MC 52 73
Zach Johnson 15 5 42 36 36 26 16
Luke List 9 MC 3 24 59 7 16 2 26
Jason Dufner 42 2 MC MC 64 17 MC 55 17
Patton Kizzire MC MC MC 36 MC 12 MC
Jhonattan Vegas 42 MC 38 MC* 52 20 72 MC
Ryan Moore MC 7 16 28 5 MC 49 9
Charles Howell 21 55 18 9 14 40 MC 37
Andrew Landry Wd MC 1 42 MC MC
Peter Uihlein 5 MC MC MC 17 66 37 MC 26
Charl Schwartzel 9 3 MC MC 36 MC 49 48 68
Adam Scott MC* MC 32 41 16 13 53
James Hahn MC MC 32 36 58 14
Chesson Hadley 16 4 20 7 18 49 MC MC
Emiliano Grillo 9 MC 16 3 50 26 6 8
Keegan Bradley MC* MC 45 43 36 26 31 49 MC
Kevin Na MC MC MC 52 36 2
Billy Horschel 1 11 5 MC 54 MC MC MC
Bill Haas MC MC* 7 MC* 49
Brandt Snedeker MC 15 23 MC* MC 31 MC
Jimmy Walker 25 4 20 73 28 33 MC
Shane Lowry 34 28 14 MC 49 49 MC
Ted Potter 27 16 MC MC MC MC MC
Sean O`Hair 63 25 2 MC 64 7 12 MC 64
Byeong Hun An 63 MC 7 52 14 MC 5
Beau Hossler 34 51 16 2 66 MC MC
Ollie Schniederjans 34 36 42 41 49 64 MC
Tiger Woods 55 32 5 2 12 MC
Jamie Lovemark MC 10 30 24 41 16 7 26
Lucas Glover MC 22 32 32 49 74 17 MC
Anirban Lahiri MC 58 MC 75 34 59 26
Martin Laird 7 11 32 26 MC 9
Wesley Bryan MC MC 42 MC MC MC
Martin Kaymer 42 MC 73 48 MC Wd 53
JB Holmes 42 MC MC 32 41 46 49 60
Grayson Murray 59 16 MC 14 14 MC MC
Kevin Streelman MC 8 7 43 41 MC 41
Austin Cook 34 30 50 MC 36 40 49
Sung Kang MC 36 MC MC Wd 58 73 MC 16
Russell Knox 7 MC 40 MC 73 16 MC
Ryan Palmer MC MC 76 MC 28 MC
Jason Kokrak MC 36 MC MC* MC 8 20
Bud Cauley 67 MC 23 18 14 MC Wd 20
Brice Garnett 75 4 MC* 42 MC 1 31 MC MC
Hudson Swafford MC MC MC* MC 75 MC 64
William McGirt MC MC 70 MC 26 16 33 MC
Chris Kirk MC 8 55 MC 13 49 33
Scott Piercy 1 MC 16 24 60 MC 17
Steve Stricker MC MC 12
Scott Stallings MC MC 55 MC* MC 31 29 4
Patrick Rodgers 34 MC MC 22 7 59 33 26
Stewart Cink 72 MC 42 58 31 46
Brian Gay MC MC 70 22 MC MC MC
JJ Spaun MC 26 MC MC MC
Whee Kim MC 22 MC 50 MC MC 49 MC
Scott Brown MC 15 MC MC MC* MC 64 46 MC
Kelly Kraft MC MC MC MC* 3 31 8 63
Ryan Armour MC MC 55 43 77 40 MC 64
Trey Mullinax MC 31 2 22 8
Keith Mitchell 34 MC 26 55 6 2 MC
Rory Sabbatini 27 MC 23 70 43 5 17
Danny Lee MC MC 51 55 64 MC MC Wd MC
Chris Stroud 67 28 Wd MC MC 33 MC
CT Pan MC* MC MC 23 MC 41 MC 17 MC
Tom Hoge MC* 10 MC 55 60 26 MC MC 53
Abraham Ancer MC MC 58 8 13 16 52 MC 68
David Lingmerth MC 51 74 28 64 64 MC 75
Harold Varner 55 MC MC MC MC 45 78 72 60
John Huh 36 MC 23 32 26 MC 24 26
Aaron Wise 2 MC MC 32 41 68 33 MC
Harris English MC 36 32 MC 5 22 MC 33 MC
Mackenzie Hughes 59 MC MC MC MC 54 MC 59
Brandon Harkins 63 MC MC* MC 60 36 MC 41
Aaron Baddeley MC MC 16 55 74 49 14
Kevin Tway MC MC 36 67 32 28 58 MC MC MC
Ben Martin MC 45 55 MC 46 33
Nick Taylor MC MC MC MC MC MC 41
Robert Streb 42 MC MC MC MC MC MC MC
Brian Stuard MC 28 36 67 MC 36 MC MC MC
Robert Garrigus MC MC MC 18 MC 31 MC
Martin Piller MC MC 24 MC MC 67 67
Dominic Bozzelli MC MC 40 MC* 31 13 26
Vaughn Taylor 42 16 MC 59 20
Jonas Blixt 27 MC 14 MC 41
Alex Cejka 27 31 MC MC 40 Wd
Nick Watney 2 31 20 32 32 59 33
Andrew Putnam MC* 15 8 32 5 MC MC
Tyrone Van Aswegen MC* 19 MC 23 32 72 28 68 68
Derek Fathauer MC MC MC MC MC MC 13 16
Chad Campbell 19 MC MC 64 31 MC 49
Martin Flores 59 MC MC MC MC 13 77 74 MC
Michael Thompson 42 68 42 14 24
Richy Werenski MC 25 11 MC MC* 45 MC MC
Rod Pampling MC 68 32 MC 59
Ryan Blaum MC* MC MC MC 16 MC 60
DA Points MC MC MC MC MC MC MC MC
Danny Willett MC MC Wd 29
Cody Gribble 34 MC MC MC MC MC MC
Geoff Ogilvy MC MC MC MC 22 MC MC
Blayne Barber 67 MC MC MC 16 MC
Tyler Duncan MC* 7 MC 52 MC MC MC 24 MC
Michael Kim 15 MC 77 MC 43 MC 57 MC
JJ Henry MC* 10 MC 16 MC 65 74 MC MC
Scott McCarron
Player 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Dustin Johnson 12 28 69 59 Wd 57 34 MC* MC
Justin Thomas MC* 3 24
Jon Rahm MC*
Jordan Spieth MC MC MC 4
Justin Rose 65 19 MC 4 MC 51 45 MC 22 MC
Rickie Fowler 60 MC 1 MC* MC 2 MC MC
Rory McIlroy 35 12 8 6 8 MC MC MC
Hideki Matsuyama 22 7 17 23
Brooks Koepka 16 35 MC
Patrick Reed 22 MC 24 MC
Sergio Garcia 30 54 2 3 8 56 12 47 22 1
Tommy Fleetwood 41
Paul Casey 22 23 Wd Wd MC MC 14 MC
Jason Day 60 1 MC 19 MC 6 MC
Henrik Stenson 16 MC 17 34 5 15 MC MC 1 10
Marc Leishman MC 64 24 23 8 45 MC MC
Alexander Noren 10
Bubba Watson MC 43 42 48 37 45 MC 37 MC
Phil Mickelson 41 MC MC MC MC 25 33 17 55 21
Tyrrell Hatton 41
Matt Kuchar MC* 3 MC 17 48 1 54 13 14 MC
Pat Perez 22 17 48 MC 25 MC MC 68 42
Brian Harman 53 54 8 MC MC 51
Kevin Kisner 56 MC 2
Rafa Cabrera-Bello 4 MC
Ian Poulter 2 57 30 65 MC 25 57 MC 2 21
Satoshi Kodaira
Charley Hoffman 30 MC 30 38 37 MC 26 22 37 MC
Xander Schauffele
Louis Oosthuizen 2 28 69 MC 19 MC MC
Francesco Molinari 6 7 6 MC MC MC 9
Kiradech Aphibarnrat MC
Tony Finau MC MC
Patrick Cantlay 22
Branden Grace 48 57 42 48
Gary Woodland MC* 28 MC 11 MC MC
Daniel Berger 65 9 MC
Matthew Fitzpatrick MC MC
Cameron Smith MC
Si Woo Kim 1 23
Webb Simpson 16 66 MC 15 MC 69 MC MC
Ross Fisher MC MC MC MC
Kevin Chappell 35 2 MC 26 68 MC 69
Brendan Steele 6 57 MC 26 MC MC MC
Hao Tong Li
Adam Hadwin 30 39 MC
Alexander Levy
Kyle Stanley 4 71 33 MC
Bryson DeChambeau
Russell Henley 35 MC 24 17 MC
Chez Reavie 56 MC MC 60
Zach Johnson 48 54 13 26 19 2 12 22 32 MC
Luke List MC
Jason Dufner 60 49 MC 48 62 68 6 MC 32
Patton Kizzire MC 76
Jhonattan Vegas MC 57 42 7 MC
Ryan Moore 53 MC MC 26 MC 46 33 47 70 27
Charles Howell MC 56 MC 66 MC MC MC MC MC
Andrew Landry
Peter Uihlein
Charl Schwartzel MC 51 48 55 26 MC
Adam Scott 6 12 38 38 19 15 MC 26 MC 54
James Hahn MC 43 30 MC 62
Chesson Hadley MC 24 MC
Emiliano Grillo 11 MC
Keegan Bradley 60 35 MC MC MC 35 72
Kevin Na Wd MC 6 38 7 MC MC 3 54
Billy Horschel MC 28 13 26 MC
Bill Haas MC 43 4 26 MC 25 MC 39 MC MC
Brandt Snedeker MC MC 48 8 MC MC MC MC
Jimmy Walker 56 MC MC 6 15 35 MC 26
Shane Lowry MC 16 MC
Ted Potter MC MC
Sean O`Hair MC 64 MC 43 MC 19 22 MC MC
Byeong Hun An MC
Beau Hossler
Ollie Schniederjans
Tiger Woods 69 1 40 Wd Wd 8
Jamie Lovemark MC* 64
Lucas Glover 6 MC MC MC 50 3 MC MC
Anirban Lahiri MC MC
Martin Laird MC MC MC 5 2 69 MC MC*
Wesley Bryan MC
Martin Kaymer 69 39 56 1 43 15 19 34 55
JB Holmes 41 MC 51 MC MC 6 13 MC 10
Grayson Murray MC*
Kevin Streelman MC* 74 MC MC 2 51 19 MC MC
Austin Cook
Sung Kang 30 61
Russell Knox MC 19 17 34
Ryan Palmer MC 23 MC 59 5 MC MC MC MC
Jason Kokrak MC Wd MC MC MC
Bud Cauley MC MC
Brice Garnett MC
Hudson Swafford MC 57
William McGirt 22 43 MC MC 43
Chris Kirk 12 Wd 13 13 55 51 MC
Scott Piercy MC 23 MC MC MC MC 22
Steve Stricker 41 38 13 37 MC 12 22 MC
Scott Stallings 75 65 MC MC
Patrick Rodgers MC MC
Stewart Cink MC 38 MC 64 19 MC MC* 21
Brian Gay MC MC MC 46 12 MC Wd 32
JJ Spaun
Whee Kim
Scott Brown MC MC 30 62 MC
Kelly Kraft
Ryan Armour Wd
Trey Mullinax
Keith Mitchell
Rory Sabbatini 6 38 71 MC 26 39 MC 27
Danny Lee MC 35 MC
Chris Stroud Wd 42 MC* 33 MC 12 10
CT Pan
Tom Hoge
Abraham Ancer
David Lingmerth MC* MC MC 2
Harold Varner 35 57
John Huh MC MC MC MC* 68 23
Aaron Wise
Harris English MC MC MC MC 33 64
Mackenzie Hughes 16
Brandon Harkins
Aaron Baddeley 41 MC MC MC MC MC 6 MC 9 32
Kevin Tway
Ben Martin 30 MC 4
Nick Taylor MC 73
Robert Streb MC MC 30
Brian Stuard MC* MC MC 17 MC
Robert Garrigus MC MC MC MC MC 73 MC
Martin Piller
Dominic Bozzelli
Vaughn Taylor MC MC MC MC MC MC
Jonas Blixt MC 19 MC MC* 77
Alex Cejka MC* 9 74 MC 58 9 MC
Nick Watney MC MC MC 56 4 17 MC 63
Andrew Putnam
Tyrone Van Aswegen MC
Derek Fathauer MC 17
Chad Campbell MC 39 43 MC 26 MC MC 10
Martin Flores 38 48 MC
Michael Thompson MC MC 55 51
Richy Werenski
Rod Pampling 48 56 MC MC* MC
Ryan Blaum
DA Points MC MC 48 MC MC
Danny Willett Wd MC MC
Cody Gribble 48
Geoff Ogilvy 24 69 MC 12 Wd MC 22 MC
Blayne Barber 16
Tyler Duncan
Michael Kim 60
JJ Henry 28 48 MC 40 MC 58 MC 42
Scott McCarron MC MC
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