Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass: Love it or hate it?

Published

on

By the numbers, No. 17 on The Players Stadium at TPC Sawgrass would rank as one of the least remarkable holes on the PGA Tour.

It measures just 130 yards and is one of the largest greens on the golf course —  a combination that would ordinarily invite a barrage of birdies at most tour stops.

Except The Players Championship isn’t most Tour stops, and No. 17 isn’t any ordinary hole.

Over the years, the notorious island green has taken countless dreams of winning the Tour’s richest prize and buried them in a watery grave. It’s for that reason that No. 17, which requires nothing more than a straightforward wedge, has the uncanny ability to haunt the world’s best players before they even set foot on the first tee.

For proof, during NBC’s coverage of The Players, notice how many times it replays someone sneaking a glimpse of the island while standing in the 16th fairway.

Combine the mind games of No. 17 with the spectator-friendly design of TPC Sawgrass’ The Stadium Course and what you have is perhaps the best theater in all of golf.

Click here to read about the full day GolfWRX Managing Editor Zak Kozuchowski spent at No. 17 last year during the tournament.

Every fan can surely agree that the atmosphere surrounding the 17th on Sunday at The Players is one of the most dramatic and raucous in the game. Where many of us disagree, however, is our opinion of the hole itself.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the island green: love and hate. The lovers defend the 17th as a pure test of golf. Execute a relatively easy shot, or pay the ultimate price. Plain and simple.

The haters, on the other hand, decry the island green as a tacky abomination, and curse Pete Dye’s sick sense of humor. They argue a significant number of golfers are defeated before they even arrive, a fate that seems contrary to the spirit of this beautiful game.

I’ve been fortunate to tee it up on the 17th three times, and managed to find dry land — plus Old Man Par — on every occasion. Despite this string of good luck, however, I would have to align myself as a hater.

Yes, I love the drama that the 17th brings to Sunday at The Players, but the purist in me firmly believes that a truly great hole gives the golfer multiple ways to make par. With an island green, there’s only one.

But I’m just a lowly weekend warrior with a laptop. What do you think?

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

D.J. Jones is a lifelong golfer and plays to a 6 handicap when he’s not too busy pursuing his other great passion – travel. Tag along with his golf and travel adventures on his blog, The World of Deej.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. 8thehardway

    May 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    From the pgatour website

    No. 17 has yielded 518 three-putts or worse since 1992, the second most of any non-major hole on the PGA TOUR

    least/most water balls
    29 (2003, 2010) / 93 (2007)

    I guess it comes down to how you like your adrenaline. For me it’s a matter of balance; No. 17 places too much emphasis on one hole and isn’t in keeping with the rest of the layout.

    As a matter of balance, 17 forces ; were the course out of balance

  2. Gary Lee

    May 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    The 17th is a great finishing hole for a tornament. I played it once and birdied it.

  3. Dudley

    May 8, 2013 at 11:32 am

    From an architecture standpoint, I really do not see what is great about the #17th hole at TPC. A green in the middle of a lake….what is so genius about that? In golf terms, I guess it comes under the category of going to a auto race to see a wreck….watching PGA golf pros hit their ball into the water. A sign of the times…good for TV golf…..but there are 17 other holes and some of them are great architecture….#17 is not one of them….

  4. David

    May 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    It’s exiting of course, but its a bad hole.

    Up and downs after missing a green can be just as thrilling if not more.

  5. Puddin

    May 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Anyone have the stat for “in the water” vs. “on the green”? Pros or amateurs? I played there once in a company outing and 1 out 10 hit the green that day out of 40 players. Curious to know over the years what the Pros percentage is.

  6. Chris

    May 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    D.J. fun article.

    #17 is the defining hole on this course and I love the drama. If I were lucky enough to play TPC Sawgrass 17 would be on my mind all day and it would also be the first thing I would tell everyone about after my round.

    Golf IS a complete head game, especially at the Pro level. We’ve all weak wristed chips, choked on short puts and have holes that own us before the round even starts. Being able to overcome and produce when our mind is trying to hold us back is one of the best parts of golf.

    In the modern game it’s seems a stretch for anyone to be a purist anymore. Short putter vs Long putter, GPS vs Walking yardages, over sized drivers, super charged “premium balls,” Wedge grove size etc.

    Technology allows all of us to potentially play better, the emotional aspect is what keeps us all in check.

  7. Steve

    May 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. If it was like a 180 yard par-3, then I’d have an issue. But these guys should be able to hit this large green from 130 the heavy majority of the time. I understand wanting more than 1 way to make par, but it’s 130 yards. If it were a 130 yard par-3 with no water, it would be the easiest par-3 on tour. With the island, it tests the nerves of the greatest players in the world. I think it’s fun.

    And I don’t really think a “slight mishit” would take away par. If you go at the middle of the green, putting it in the water is a pretty large mishit for one of these guys with a wedge in their hands…

    • Steve

      May 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Obviously strong wind/gusts can make a huge difference with this as well though. I still like it though.

      • D.J.

        May 7, 2013 at 8:57 am

        You’re right, Steve. It takes a pretty big miss by these guys to put it in the water. But for the average amateur, that margin for error is a whole lot smaller…

        • Steve

          May 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm

          You’re absolutely right. I was just looking at it from the pro perspective. For amateurs, the margin of error is much much smaller and would make this hole a heck of a lot more difficult. I still think it’s fun though. It’s a unique challenge that most courses don’t have, so I enjoy it.

    • Harry

      May 9, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Exactly, this talk of purest is silly IMO. Even for a 10 hcap this is one of the easiest holes on the course….the only real test is mental which is the ultate test in golf 16 & 18 are much tougher holes which force you to shape either your tee shot or approach, 17 only requires you not to choke which is a demand on every hole anyway so where is this fuss coming from? I just don’t get it guys….I have played sawgrass 3 times and love the course am 2 for 3 hitting 17 green but have neverade par on 16 or 18….17 is only hard when there’s something on the line which is what a good closing hole should be! You “purest s” need to examine what that term really means…

  8. Troy Vayanos

    May 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I can see the positives and negatives with this hole. The drama and excitement it brings to a golf tournament is a positive. However, from a purist point of view it can extremely unforgiving and potential ruin a players chances of victory. A slightly miss-hit shot gives the players no chance of still getting up and down for par.

    • D.J.

      May 7, 2013 at 8:48 am

      I agree with you Troy. With the exception of that little pot bunker, there is no saving par after a miss hit. Well, unless you do like Freddy and hole it out from the tee after dunking the first in the water…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Published

on

Just as in 2017, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans will once again provide a change in format for the players this week. Players will team up once more at TPC Louisiana for a combination of Best Ball (Rounds 1 and 3) and Alternate Shot (Rounds 2 and 4). Unfortunately, the change in format means that there is no DraftKings this week.

The course is long at over 7,400 yards, but it’s also very generous off the tee. TPC Louisiana offers the opportunity to go low, and players took advantage last year despite the inclement weather conditions. It took a Monday playoff to separate them, but eventually Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt pipped Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown by making birdie on the fourth playoff hole to take the title after both teams had posted 27-under par in regulation.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson 7/1
  • Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay 12/1
  • Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley 14/1
  • Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar 14/1
  • Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer 14/1
  • Jon Rahm/Wesley Bryan 16/1
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello/Sergio Garcia 22/1

For the first time, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar (14/1) will team up for this event. Last year, Watson played alongside J.B Holmes. The two performed well, finishing in a tie for fifth place. TPC Louisiana has been a course that has suited Watson’s game over the years, his prodigious length being a significant factor. Along with his T-5 in 2017, Watson has a victory and three other top-20 finishes at the course when the event was an individual stroke-play tournament.

While Watson can be feast or famine at times, Kuchar is Mr. Consistent. He hasn’t missed a cut in over a year, and he has been a top-10 machine over the past few years on the PGA Tour. Despite this, Kuchar hasn’t been able to convert many of his top-10 finishes into wins, but playing alongside Watson this week — who has already notched two victories in 2018 — may help his cause. Over their last 24 rounds, Watson ranks third for Strokes Gained-Off the Tee and eighth in Strokes Gained Total. Over the same period, Kuchar has been predictably consistent, ranking in the top third in the field in every major Strokes Gained category. It’s an intriguing partnership, with Watson’s explosiveness combined with Kuchar’s consistency, and it’s a cocktail that should prove to be a formidable force at TPC Louisiana.

Two men with the hot hand coming into this event are fellow Americans, Jimmy Walker and Sean O’Hair (25/1). Last week at the Valero Texas Open both men excelled, posting the highest finishes of their year thus far. Walker finished solo 4th, while O’Hair grabbed a T-2. It’s the pairs first time playing TPC Louisiana together, but Walker has some good course form to lean on. Back in 2012 and 2013, he posted back-to-back top-20 finishes, which shows that TPC Louisiana is a course that fits his game. Accuracy off the tee has never been Walker’s strength, but the generous fairways may be one of the reasons that he has performed well at this course.

O’Hair has been in good form as of late. The Texan has three top-15 finishes in his last six events, and last week he recorded his highest Strokes Gained Total at an event in years. Walker also seems to have turned a corner with his game. Along with his excellent performance last week, he managed a top-20 finish at the Masters, and his Strokes Gained-Total at the Valero was his highest since his 2016 PGA Championship victory. With both men coming off their best performances in a long time, they should be confident. The duo looks to be a decent value to mount a challenge this week.

Last year’s runners-up Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown (40/1) are hard to ignore at their price this week. Brown has struggled mightily for form in 2018, missing six cuts out of 11 events played so far this year, but the prospect of playing alongside Kisner may be the boost that Brown’s 2018 is needing.

Kisner’s form has been strong as of late. He backed up his runner-up finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play with a T-28 at Augusta before grabbing a T-7 at the RBC Heritage. At Harbour Town, Kisner’s iron play was especially sharp, with his Strokes Gained-Approaching the Greens total being the highest since the Memorial last year. Despite Brown’s slump, in a highly tricky format to predict, the pair showed enough chemistry last year and an ability to excel in the format, which is enough for me to consider their price a little undervalued this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar 14/1
  • Jimmy Walker/Sean O’Hair 25/1
  • Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown 40/1
Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Podcasts

Gear Dive: Legendary club builder Larry Bobka speaks on Tiger’s old Titleist irons

Published

on

Legendary club builder Larry Bobka joins us in the first episode of our new podcast called “Gear Dive,” hosted by Johnny Wunder, GolfWRX’s Director of Original Content. Gear Dive is a deep look into the world of golf equipment, and Wunder will be interviewing the craftsman, the reps and the players behind the tools that make up the bags of the best golfers in the world.

Bobka, our first guest, is a former Tour rep and club builder involved in some of the most important clubs of the past 25 years. From his days at Wilson Golf working with legends such as Payne Stewart, Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer, he transitioned into the Golden Age of Titleist/Acushnet building clubs for Tiger Woods, Davis Love, David Duval and Brad Faxon. He currently runs Argolf where he builds and fits handmade putters for Tour players and amateurs alike. He’s one of the Godfather’s of modern golf equipment.

Skip to 45:30 for the discussion about Tiger’s Titleist irons.

Check out our podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

What do you think of the new podcast? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

Your Reaction?
  • 35
  • LEGIT7
  • WOW7
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP5
  • OB4
  • SHANK25

Continue Reading

Podcasts

Gary Player joins our 19th Hole podcast, talks past and future of golf

Published

on

Hall-of-Famer and career Grand Slam winner Gary Player joins host Michael Williams for an exclusive one-on-one interview at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament and Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri. Player talks about the past and future of the game, including his take on everything from reigning in the golf ball and golf courses, to advocating for more testing for performance enhancing drugs on the Tour. Steve Friedlander of Big Cedar Lodge also appears.

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending