The Players Championship 2017

Harold Varner III (Photo by Frank Powell)

By Denise Williams

The Players Championship opened on Tuesday, May 9th in Sawgrass to huge crowds this season. The Players Championship (TPC), sometimes referred to as the Fifth Major hosts the top athletes in the golfing arena. It is counted as one of the most elite courses in the world and was the brainchild of Deane Beman, a former commissioner of the PGA Tour. He was the driving force to bring this celebrated event to Ponte Vedra Beach and wanted to create an exclusive host arena for The Players Championship.

After failing to secure a location, Beman met with major landowners Paul and Jerome Fletcher. They wanted to be a part of the vision Beman shared. They eventually sold 415 acres to the PGA Tour for $1.00.

The 17th hole of the PGA is the most recognized in the entire world. The first championship played at TPC Sawgrass was in 1982.Since then, the sport has evolved to include fans from all over the world who convene in Ponte Vedra Beach to witness the creativity and skill of their favorite players. Fans have come out in large numbers to observe the players while they practice or secure an autograph while sharing lasting memories with loved ones.

Players Zac Blair was spotted in the kid zone signing autograph for the young people. Blair was an All-American in 2012. In addition, veteran golfer Phil Mickelson also acknowledged his many fans during a practice session early this week. This year, the purse for the winner of the tour is $10,500,000 U.S. dollars.

On opening day, the TPC honored the men, women, and families of the U.S. military. The evening event began with the National Anthem, sung by Bryon Rowe, the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air Guard offered a flyover. The tribute included remarks by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan recognized red and blue coat dignitaries in attendance. Retired General Ray Odierno was also invited to speak to the attendees of this year’s festivities. He recognized veterans across all military branches. After the ceremony, a free concert by Sam Hunt followed.

The The Players Championship dates span from Tuesday, May 11th to Sunday, May 14th.