Sheridan: Green Island Review at TPC Sawgrass; How many balls of water? • Swing Update

The Players' Championship - Day 3 Overview


View of the 17th green at a test session for the PLAYERS championship on the stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on March 13, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The 17th hole of the TPC Sawgrass is perhaps the most famous golf hole, the famous .. or "infamous" … green island that makes or breaks the championship THE PLAYERS, which takes place in March this year instead of May … the 17th a bit more than usual.

While sports betting is no longer illegal in the United States, an offshore site has posted an upper / lower bale count (37 1/2) on the number of bales that will end up in # 17 water. This is a curiously low number. , 53 took the glass last year and 69 in 2017. All players ranked in the top 50 are in the pack.

The PGA record for the highest score on No. 17 is held by Bob Tway, who gave four balls to the alligators before launching a fifth tee on the green and three times in the third round of the 2005 tournament .

Since 2003, the pros have hit 757 shots in the water at 17, nearly 11% of the total, including 93 in 2007, when 50 shots splashed in the first round. The 17th started in 1982, and Jack Nicklaus spoke for many at the beginning of the course: "Many guys would like to put a bomb under this thing."

Each year, divers recover more than 100,000 bullets from the lake.

There were eight holes in one over the PLAYERS, most recently by Sergio Garcia in 2017.

Among non-professionals, there is the story of Angelo Spagnola, a grocery store owner from Pittsburgh, who scored 66 on the score of 3. He is not one of those highlights:

The main story for this week's tournament was whether Tiger Woods's strained neck would force him to retire. Rod Bolton of quotes Justin Thomas as favorite, followed by Francesco Molinari, who has just won a Bay Hill victory.

But what will count the most, no doubt, is what will happen on Sunday the 17th.

Golf Digest has interviewed nearly 50 players, caddies, course architects and commentators to understand the nuances of what makes 137 meters on the dashboard such a torture for the best players.

Some of the best quotes:

BILLY FOSTER (Matt Fitzpatrick's caddy): The best players on the planet stand on the shaking tee-shirt like a boring dog – and that's just a corner. It's amazing what it does to them when you have 10,000 people sitting around making fun and hoping you hit them.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I lived there for 17 years and I probably played the course more than any human being. It's an amazing golf hole. The green has more square footage than any other hole in the golf course, but if it is firm and the wind blows very hard, it is a tiny target. The hole is nothing foolish, except for a few years when they have shaved the bangs to the brim, the slightest rotation of the ball and nothing stopped it. It was just silly.

JASON DUFNER: It's a pretty easy hole for me. I never hit the water there, nor did I hit any wood, right away.

These five following comments relate to the tournament in March as opposed to May:

ROCCO MEDIATE: I'm looking forward to having a day when it's 45 degrees and blowing. Then we will see who has nerves. And if it's hard as a brick, it could be a nightmare.

JERRY KELLY: I hit an iron a year ago in March. If you think a lot of balls are drowning when they touch a corner, wait.

LEE WESTWOOD: I remember having hit an iron 5. Not funny.

JIMMY WALKER: I think we're about to become a very good hole again.

For what it's worth, I have a friend who lives in San Antonio, but caddies in Westchester every spring, summer and fall. Last spring, he warned me that Shinnecock would be particularly tough last year, with a winning score of about +1. He succeeded.

And who does Matt Brophy like to win this year?

Dustin Johnson.