Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Five reasons to love the Players Championship

Forget that The Players Championship isn’t officially a major championship.

It doesn’t need to be.

The Players (that’s what the PGA Tour wants us to call it) has its own special place in the game.

Here are five reasons to love The Players:

1. It’s Part Two of the best two-week stretch on the PGA Tour schedule.

Putting the Quail Hollow Championship and The Players back to back on the schedule makes May a big month on the tour schedule. Playing Quail and the Stadium course on consecutive weeks is like having steak and lobster.

2. Everybody Plays

The tour loves to trumpet the fact that The Players annually has the best field in golf but it ain’t bragging if you can back it up. John Daly’s not there but if you’ve seen those clown pants he’s wearing these days, that’s a good thing.

3. Paul Goydos

The tour’s ultimate everyman nearly won The Players last year, losing in a playoff to Sergio Garcia.

Goydos may never be a big star but he’s as real as it gets on the tour. Other players get paid to wear corporate logos on their cap. Goydos wears a Long Beach State cap.

4. It’s Familiar

Because it’s played across the same reclaimed swamp land every year, The Players has a history.

It’s where Jerry Pate jumped in the water after winning and took commissioner Deane Beman with him. It’s where Hal Sutton said, “Be the right club, today,” where Fuzzy Zoeller toweled off a record-setting Greg Norman and where Craig Perks pulled off a stunning upset.

That’s what you want.

5. The 17th Hole

I know it’s contrived and gimmicky. I know it’s unfair when the wind is howling and there’s an artificial feel to it.

But I know it’s great fun to watch, whether you’re parked on one of the viewing areas around the hole or on your couch at home. Mention The Players Championship and it’s the first thing that comes to mind.

Play the golf course and the first question anyone asks is ‘What’d you do on No. 17?”

They’ll be asking the same question to players this weekend.