The History of the Players Championship

By Michael J. Brna Ph.D.

THE PLAYERS Championship is considered golf's "fifth major" championship because it is the PGA Tour's richest event and it rewards the winner with tournament exemptions and points toward the FedEx Cup standings and the World Golf Rankings.


The tournament is sponsored by the PGA Tour and was first played in 1974. Then known as the Tournament Players Championship, it was renamed THE PLAYERS Championship in 1988.

The Field

The elite field of players is selected using a formula consisting of various criteria, including rankings, and Tour and "Majors" victories. Players also join the field through invitations from THE PLAYERS Championship Committee.

Winner Trivia

Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural 1974 event with a 272 score and is the only three-time winner. Greg Norman set the scoring record in 1994 with a 264 and there have been several two-time winners.

Winner Exemptions

In addition to the largest purse on the PGA Tour, winners receive the following exemptions: PGA Tour - 5 years; Masters and British Open -- three years, and exemptions to the U.S. Open and PGA Championship for that year.

TPC Sawgrass

The May tournament has had several host courses from 1974 through 1981, but its home since 1982 has been THE PLAYERS TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, which is famous for the island green on the 17th hole.

About The Author

Michael J. Brna, Ph.D., conducts public speaking and small group facilitation training and is a member of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Quarterly Newsletter Editorial Review Committee. He considers himself a Jack Lemmon-type golfer who writes fact sheets for


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