All you need to know about Sawgrass’ 17th

The PGA Tour stops off at TPC Sawgrass for the Players Championship this week, which features one of the most recognisable holes in golf.

The signature par three has an island green surrounded by plenty of water. While not particularly long – it’s just 137 this weekend – the green is fairly small, measuring just 24 metres across, featuring very little ball-saving rough and just one tiny bunker at the front.

The 17th’s existence actually came about by accident, as designers, Pete and Alice Dye had intended it to be a straightforward par three flanked by a small pond.

However, the sand that surrounded the green – a crucial ingredient for course making – became more and more depleted as the course expanded over the marshlands, leaving an enormous crater.

While Alice had the vision of an island green in her head, Pete disagreed. His wife got her way, in the end, creating one of golf’s most iconic holes in the process.

The professionals at the Players will need nothing more than a pitching wedge to reach the green, but the it’s the trees that create the difficulty, as the wind is often an issue in Florida. These trees affect the consistency of the wind and with no bailout option on all four sides, it makes for a challenging shot.

In fact, it is estimated that the water surrounding the green swallows up over 100 000 balls every year.

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Such is the hype around the 17th that betting houses are offering all sorts of bets around who is going to hit it in the water and when. Golf fans always love a good splash, even more so when they can make some money out of it…

Watch the world’s best golfers try to dethrone defending champion Jason Day when the Players Championship – dubbed the ‘fifth major’ – tees off at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday.

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