Previously played a few weeks prior to the season's first major, the Masters, THE PLAYERS was shifted to May to balance out the schedule. The tournament is now situated between the Masters and the U.S. Open, giving the month of May a big-time tournament of its own.
Last year, Stephen Ames ran away from the field to beat Retief Goosen by six strokes for his second tour win.
The course will play different than it did last year. The TPC Sawgrass will likely play as firm and fast as it ever has. The greens were rebuilt with the sub-air system put in, while the fairways have a new irrigation and drainage system.
An additional 122 yards have added to the course and the famous island green at 17 has been re-contoured to allow for some new pin positions. Some 200 trees have also been added with Nos. 6, 9 and 18 gaining a significant amount of those new trees.
In 2006, Brad Faxon extended his streak of consecutive cuts made at THE PLAYERS Championship to 13, the best in tournament history. Tiger Woods owns the next-best streak at 10 straight.
Craig Perks (2002), Hal Sutton (1983) and Jack Nicklaus (1974) are the only players to win in their first appearance at this event. Perks, who chipped in for eagle on 16 and chipped in on 18 for par, also became the first player to make this event his first PGA TOUR title.
Minus No. 27 Justin Rose and No. 45 Shingo Katayama, 48 of the top 50 players in the world rankings will tee it up this week at THE PLAYERS. Also in the field this week are Ken Duke and Bobby Wadkins. Duke was the money leader on the Nationwide Tour last year, while Wadkins won last year's Senior Players Championship
GOLF CHANNEL will have the action the first two rounds, and NBC will cover weekend play. Next week is the AT&T Classic, which the last several years had preceded the Masters. Phil Mickelson ran away with the title in '06 as he won by 13 strokes the week before collecting his second green jacket at Augusta.