The USPGA Tour has been marketing the Players Championship as the 5th Major since changing the name from Tournament Players Championship to Players Championship in 1988.
With US $9.5 million total prize money on offer with the winner taking home US $1.7 million, its the single richest tournament but still no recognition as the 5th Major.
In 1982 the PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman's idea of a permanent home for the championship came to fruition.
The renowned course designer was Pete Dye and the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach Florida was built. It was the first purposely built "Stadium Course" designed to improve the overall on-site spectator experience.
The design of the course which plays 7,215 yards from the "tips" is not overly long by todays standard and does not favour any particular style of play.
With the world famous 17th hole par three island green as its signature hole and the tough 18th hole with water down the entire left hand side its a guarantee of a nail biting finish for players and spectators alike.
So who is going to win the Players Championship this year? If you go by last years results length off the tee was not required but accuracy did help!
In the table above are the top six placings in last years Players Championship and their 2012 driving length and accuracy statistics.
Except for Martin Laird all the others are ranked in the top 50 in driving accuracy and that seems to be the trend looking back at previous winners going back to 1982.
Players like Tim Clarke, K. J. Choi, Fred Funk, Justin Leonard, Hal Sutton, Steven Ames who have won the Players Championship are renowned for their ability to hit more fairways than their competitors from the tee and accurate irons to the smaller greens at the Stadium Course.
There have been long hitters who have won like Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson but only when they used their 3 woods extensively and kept the driver in the bag.
Favorites will be former winners Tiger Woods (2001), Adam Scott (2004) and last years winner Matt Kuchar attempting to be the 1st player since the tournament started 40 years ago to go back to back with victories.
This tournament has the strongest field of all the majors and that makes it even more difficult to predict a winner but I believe it will come from Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell. All three are residents in Florida so should feel at home.
All the above three Europeans are excellent all round ball strikers and apart from Stenson's win in 2009 and Garcia's in 2008 you would have to go back to Sandy Lyle's win in 1987 to find another European win.
From the USA side my picks will be Brandt Snedeker and last years runner-up Rickie Fowler who is ready to make a break through and become a world top five ranked player.
The players from South Africa will be strongly represented and are due to add to Tim Clarke's victory in 2010.
I'm sure you will enjoy watching the tournament like I will and watching the short par three 17th strike fear into the world's best golfers is always an interesting highlight.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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