Sawgrass 17: a black hole that separates Rahm and Sergio García from the Players

The famous par 3 with an island green has decided the tournament on more than one occasion and has already done its thing this week. Neither the Basque nor the Castellón have 'wet' for now.


Of all the traps housed at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach (Florida, USA), home of The Players, the most deadly is the famous par 3 of 17. A gigantic, almost 24-meter-long island-shaped green flanked by a lagoon. A black hole that swallows some 100,000 balls every year (48 only in the first two rounds of this edition) and that tolerates around 16% birdies, 69% pairs, 9% bogeys and an incredible 7 % of double bogeys or worse results. A work of art, a major challenge and a headache at the same time.

Whoever wants to win the 'big fifth' must win the fight against the monster (which, if that wasn't enough, links up with the 18th, another very complicated hole). Not all have succeeded and there are several high-profile collapses that have occurred there. For example, Len Mattiace, who if you will allow the joke in 1998 made a batter: he reached the starting tee with a blow to the head and came out with a quintuple bogey after going twice through the water and once through the sand. Or Phil Blackmar, who in 1991 was tied for the lead with Steve Elkington and sent the ball with the ducks. The double bogey ended their aspirations. Or one of unfortunate memory for Spanish golf: Sergio García in 2013, when he was co-leader in the last round with Tiger Woods and he got 'wet' twice.Ironically, Sergio doesn't have a bad relationship with this hole. His career record is below par and this week, apart from not touching the water, he left a dart on Saturday's third lap that did not result in a birdie due to a putter mistake. Rahm even allowed himself a birdie on matchday one. Good omens for the outcome of this Sunday, in which this hole will be the last great obstacle faced by the aspirants to lift the precious golden statuette, almost an Oscar of golf, which is awarded to the champion of The Players.

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