TPC Sawgrass' No. 17: Phil Mickelson leads Tiger Woods in water balls at notorious island green

Richard Heathcote

The short par-3 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is where many a golf has lost a Players Championship.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson do not exactly own The Players Championship, with the superstars possessing just one win apiece for their years-long efforts at the PGA Tour’s so-called fifth major.

With the TPC Sawgrass course itself always playing a critical role in the outcome of the event, we’re guessing Mickelson would gladly cede his dominance over Woods in one key category at the Ponte Vedra Beach venue: balls in the water on the famed 137-yard par-3 17th. Since 2003, according to PGATour.com, Lefty has plunked seven in the drink surrounding the peninsula green, while Tiger has rinsed a measly three.

Some more fun facts and figures (per PGATour.com) about the short, but often rally-killing, hole that intrigues even the most casual of golf fans:

  • 29 -- Fewest number of balls in the pond during competition (2003, 2010)
  • 518 -- Number of 3-putts or worse since 1992 (the second most of any non-major hole on tour)
  • 93 -- Number of rinsed balls in the 2007 Players in (the most in the tourney since 2003)
  • 9 -- Most balls in the water of any player since 2003 (Bob Tway)
  • 12 -- Highest all-time score (Tway, 2005/round 3)
  • 1 - Lowest score (six times, with Miguel Angel Jimenez the last player to fire an ace, 2002/round 1)
  • 36 -- Number of consecutive rounds in which Robert Allenby (the leader in this particular category) has avoided the water

Additional numbers for stats geeks:


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(Source: PGATour.com)

Sure, for us weekend warriors knocking it anywhere on the expansive putting surface of the hole where tour players’ dreams of glory go to die would be priceless. But it’s a place that intimidates the best in the world, many of whom can’t help but glance over at the island in trepidation before they’ve even hit their approach shots on 16.

Fore, please.

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