You Oughta Know: The Players Championship


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Heading into the final round of The Players Championship, here are some things you should know.

1. Rickie Fowler is in position to win for the second consecutive week. Fowler shot 6-under 66 on Saturday to trail Kevin Na by three shots.

Fowler won last week at Quail Hollow for his first PGA Tour win. David Duval, the 1999 Players champion, was the last player to earn his first pair of PGA Tour wins in consecutive weeks. In 1997, Duval won at Kingsmill and Disney as the first of 11 wins over three seasons.

Tiger Woods was the last player to win on the PGA Tour in back-to-back weeks, winning the 2009 Buick Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Fowler would also become the youngest champion here at 23 years, 4 months and 30 days. Adam Scott, who won in 2004 in his second try, is the current youngest champion.

2. The odds do not favor 54-hole leader Kevin Na. Of the 38 players to have at least a share of the lead in The Players after three rounds, just 16 have gone on to win. None have won since Stephen Ames in 2006. 

Since the move to May in 2007, no 54-hole leader has won. Here's how far back the May winners of The Players were after three rounds.

2011 - K.J. Choi, 1

2010 - Tim Clark, 2

2009 - Henrik Stenson, 5

2008 - Sergio Garcia, 3

2007 - Phil Mickelson, 1 

3. The leaderboard is American-heavy, with the top five players all representing the United States. An American has not won this championship since Phil Mickelson in 2007.

Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson both live in Sea Island, Ga. Neighbor and Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has won a pair of Players titles, taking the trophy in 1992 and 2003.

4. Players history tells us but a handful of competitors have a chance to win on Sunday. The largest final-round comeback in championship history is six shots, completed by Raymond Floyd across the street in 1981 at Sawgrass Country Club. 

Two players have come from five back on the final day to win at the Stadium Course – Justin Leonard in 1998 and Henrik Stenson in 2009.

Only five players are within five shots of the lead.

5. A pair of major winners are in contention for their first Players title.

The 2007 Masters champion, Zach Johnson, could become the seventh man to win the Players and a green jacket. Phil Mickelson was the last to complete the double when he won here in, yes, 2007.

Ben Curtis is resurgent after winning the Valero Texas Open. The British Open winner from 2003 would become the ninth Players champion to also have been Champion Golfer of the Year.

6. Barring an unlikely charge from far off the lead, the 2012 Players champion will be the 20th different person to win in the last 20 years. Dating back to 1993 when Nick Price began the streak, no player has won here twice. 

Davis Love III, a winner in 1992, took the 2003 title for his second Players Championship.

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