With the start of The Players Championship just days away (May 11-14) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum in nearby St. Augustine has opened a new exhibition, “The Players Experience.” Inside the 1,800-square-foot exhibition are stories and imagery from the tournament’s history, including an impressive list of past champions that features 11 World Golf Hall of Fame Members.
“From the deepest field in golf to World Golf Hall of Fame Member Pete Dye’s masterful and dynamic golf course, The Players Championship has evolved into one of the most prestigious tournaments and best fan experiences in all of golf,” Jack Peter, president of the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum said. “The number of World Golf Hall of Fame Members associated with the Championship makes The Players Experience exhibition a natural fit for the Museum and our guests. We felt the time was right to celebrate the pageantry and history of the event with an immersive, interactive and fun exhibit.”
The Players Experience highlights five areas of interest pertaining to the championship:
The Field brings together the most outstanding PGA Tour players to compete against each other in, as former PGA Tour Commissioner and World Golf Hall of Fame Member Deane Beman said, “a championship they could call their own.”
The Champions of THE PLAYERS. Since its inception in 1974, 11 World Golf Hall of Fame Members have claimed the championship. Jack Nicklaus has captured The Players a record three times, while Fred Couples and Love have each won twice.
Great Moments are showcased in the exhibit through imagery and actual player memorabilia and artifacts. From Greg Norman’s gold Ping putter to commemorate his 1994 win to Rickie Fowler’s Sunday outfit from 2015, key pieces of equipment and memorabilia are on display.
The Course is renowned for having a design that does not favor any particular style of play. The Players Experience unpacks the genesis of the iconic TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, which was conceptualized by Beman and designed by course architect and World Golf Hall of Fame Member Pete Dye.
Immediately following the 2016 tournament, construction began to make several significant modifications to the Stadium Course, including new greens that were rebuilt and re-grassed with TifEagle Bermudagrass to provide the best possible putting surface for the players. Hole 12 was redesigned to create a new risk-reward drivable par-4 for enhanced final round excitement.
Still beckoning players on the course is the dramatic 17th hole. Included in The Players Experience is an area where guests stand “on the tee box” of No. 17 in front of a large panoramic video screen that projects the iconic Island Green. As part of the experience, the No. 17 green is displayed without water. The narrator minimizes the difficulty of the hazardless and straightforward 137-yard tee shot. Suddenly, water appears and surrounds the green, while large towers of fans emerge to create a stadium-like setting. Finally, the sound of crowd noise and a heartbeat emphasize the real pressure that awaits players at what is one of the more famous holes in golf.
Giving Back has been one of the pillars of The Players Championship. Since 1977, more than $85 million has been raised for more than 300 Northeast Florida charities.
This portion of the exhibit also highlights the event’s devotion to the military and its more than 2,000 volunteers who help drive the success of the event each year.
In celebration of The Players, the World Golf Hall of Fame is offering free Museum admission to all tournament ticket holders throughout the month of May.
The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon – 6 p.m.