THE PLAYERS Championship — Don’t Know Why the Tournament Name is Shouting

From crappy, cold California, to warm sunny Florida. It’s the Tour’s main event — THE PLAYERS. Don’t know why they capitalize all the letters though. And sorry, you’re going to have to wait until next year to find out since I didn’t research that for this week.

About the Sponsor

First thing I did when I found out that PWC was sponsoring the Players was text my sister who currently works there. Here’s our conversation:

Me: I’m writing the preview for the players in 2 weeks and the sponsor is….. PWC!! 9:16 PM
Sister: Yesssss!!!!!!! 9:17 PM
Sister: We run the worst commercials 9:17 PM
Me: Did you know that? 9:17 PM
Sister: Yes 9:17 PM
Sister: Well I didn’t know when it was coming 9:17 PM
Sister: Just that we sponsor the players 9:18 PM
Me: Gotcha. Well hopefully the about the sponsor section is up to your standards 9:18 PM
Sister: I expect a shout out 9:18 PM
Me: Oh don’t worry, I’m already planning on quoting you saying how “(PWC) runs the worst commercials” 9:19 PM
Sister: Oh dear 9:19 PM

Example commercial:

According to that commercial, I’m a hospital and my daughter is a team of researchers. Pretty sure I’m a childless (thankfully) 24 year old guy. If that wasn’t confusing enough, I still don’t know what PWC does by the end of it. Other than cost a lot of money. Yeah, that commercial could use some improvement.

First thing I learned when looking up PWC is that the abbreviation is actually PwC. I was giving that W too much credit.

Secondly, according to wikipedia, the most significant thing about PwC is the number of controversies that its been involved in. Seriously, look at this screenshot of the table of contents. Favorite one is how Willie Nelson sued PwC in 1990 (actually just Price Waterhouse at the time as we learned above) after the IRS seized most of his assets claiming he owed $32 mil in back taxes that was caused by messed up tax shelters. According to this article from the New York Times, PW was advising a bunch of clients to use this tax shelter that they set up which worked by using “… a series of complex financial maneuvers built around both long- and short-term contracts for Government-backed securities.” I’m not too worried about the details, I’m more impressed that an article from 1995 is online today. Nice work New York Times.

Ahhhh controversy!

Ahhhh controversy!

Now the only thing more impressive than that giant list of controversies, is the giant list of all the names that have been a part of the firms that all merged to become the PwC we know today. So to honor of all the people not named P, W, or C, I want to list their names below.

Current Headliners:

Samuel Lowell Price
Edwin waterhouse
William Cooper

Past Names Dropped:

William Cooper’s Brother #1
William Cooper’s Brother #2
William Cooper’s Brother #3
Robert H. Montgomery
William M. Lybrand
Adam A. Ross Jr.
T. Edward Ross
William Hopkins Holyland

Moment of silence for the fallen names.

About the Tournament

This section of the preview is going to be in bullet point form, starting with this paragraph.

  • The Players began back in 1974, a creation of then commissioner Deane Beman, and has been played at Sawgrass since 1982.
  • It has a field of 144 (instead of the normal 156), the criteria can be seen on the tournament’s wikipedia page. I guess the idea is that it’s more “exclusive” than other events, or maybe it’s because it takes so long to play the course that having 12 fewer players allows them to finish before dark.
  • The Players has the largest purse of any golf tournament ($10 mil) with the winner getting an astounding $1.8 mil, double than what David Duval won back in 1999. Sorry Players, no matter how hard you try, you can’t buy yourself into a major.
  • The winner gets this little crystal trophy that looks like it could be some sort of sex toy. Goes nice on the mantle.

Never knew there was a dude putting engraved on that thing.

  • The tournament was moved from March to May in 2007 after a restructuring of the overall tour schedule. Remember back in 2005 when Fred Funk won threw his hat on the green after they needed a Monday finish because of all that cold and crappy weather? Yeah, no more of that in May. Check out the video below at the 4 minute 17 second mark.

About the Course

I’m getting a little tired of having to type TPC in these previews. Pretty soon, every single tour event will be played on a TPC course. The 2035 Masters being played at TPC Augusta National, I’m calling it. Though actually, that wouldn’t be the worst idea ever for the tour. Control over the courses means you get to call the shots year round, and it adds a little interest

Either way, TPC Sawgrass puts all the other TPC courses to shame with it being the flagship course for the Tour. The Tour’s headquarters are actually on site with Commish Tim Finchem showing his face every once in a while (not actually sure about this, but I remember seeing him when I played the course back in 2008).

Usually courses are built into the natural terrain so that the course doesn’t look out of play. Kind of like someone stumbled on the land and a course was already there. Well Pete Dye (another name I’m getting tired of writing) didn’t have that option with TPC Sawgrass since the natural landscape is a swamp. So keep that in mind when thinking about when watching the tournament that all the doglegs, and all the little hills that make it easy for spectators to see were man made.

And the making of those man made hills leads to one of the more famous stories in golf course design. All the dirt for those mounds came from the area around 17 green. See where I’m going with this? Instead of bringing in outside dirt to fill in that hole, Pete’s wife Alice suggested to make it an island green. And thus was born one of the most famous flip 9 irons in golf.

Little thought at the end of this: What would the 17th hole look like if there wasn’t water all around it? I can’t even imagine a Sawgrass without it. Maybe you can.

What to Watch For

Tiga Tiga Woods Y’all — Funny to think about how he actually had to wait to play again because he wasn’t ranked high enough to get into the WGC Match Play last week. The Players marks Tiger’s second tournament since out at Torrey in early February which brings into question how much will his lack of tournament play hurt him. He played well at the Masters, but that’s a huge part because he knows the course after playing it for 20 some years, and that you can pretty much hit it all over at Augusta and still be in play. Well he’s played Sawgrass for that long too, actually winning the 1996 US Amateur there. But this time, there’s water freaking everywhere. Tiger hasn’t exactly done well there since winning in 2001 with the Better than Most putt (see below). To me, it’s another one of these situations where I expect him to play alright, but I don’t see him winning.

Players missing the fairway right on 18 — I’m not a fan of water on 18 holes. It just seems like such a cop out putting water on the last hole of a course. Sure it’s going to lead to dramatics and people getting really nervous over their final drives, but all that means is that they’re going to hit it so far away from the water so it isn’t in play. And that leads to people purposefully missing the fairway. Dumb to watch. I’m not one to complain about something without offering a solution, so if you still want dramatics, put some sort of hazard that is a half shot penalty instead of the full shot (or two shots) that water is. If a player wants to take on the dogleg for an easier second shot, then this lighter penalty would entice more players. Much better solution. I really need to start designing golf courses…

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