Contoured fairways, small greens and multiple water hazards and bunkers are no walk in the park for even the most seasoned golf veterans. However, over Labor Day weekend, that is exactly what 78 of the world’s best junior golfers will face at the Junior PLAYERS Championship. This year will mark the second-annual Junior PLAYERS Championship at one of the most revered golf courses in the world, TPC Sawgrass- THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. TPC Sawgrass- THE PLAYERS Stadium Course is one of the most difficult courses in the United States and is know as one of the toughest courses on the PGA TOUR. However, its notorious reputation is what makes it one of the most recognized courses in the world.
The 7,220-yard course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was built in 1979 and was innovative in design. A masterpiece of Pete Dye, often credited as the father of modern golf course architecture, does not favor any specific style of play. The most famous hole on the course is No.17, the par-3 island green, which has seen only six holes-in-one since the course’s opening in 1982. The same hole saw 50 shots land in the water during the 2007 THE PLAYERS Championship.
The course is also a spectator’s dream as it was designed to be a stadium-like course. Dye designed 30-foot high mounds to optimize viewing around the Nos. 1 and 10 tees and Nos. 9, 16, 17 and 18 greens.
If the course isn’t enough of a draw, the year-old clubhouse is a sight to see. The Mediterranean-style building is 77,000 square feet, 40 percent larger than the White House. It is covered with more than 600,000 pounds of Spanish tile. The clubhouse serves as a hospitality center, banquet facility and meeting area for PGA players, their families, sponsors, spectators and TPC Sawgrass resort guests.
This Labor Day the course will once again host The Junior PLAYERS Championship. Last year’s champion was 18-year-old Morgan Hoffmann of Saddlebrook, N.J. Hoffmann finished with a remarkable 7-under-par 209. Runner-up Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, finished three strokes behind Hoffmann.
Former AJGA members that have won THE PLAYERS Championship include AJGA National Chairman Phil Mickelson (2007), Jodie Mudd (1990), Davis Love III (1992, 2003), Lee Janzen (1995), Justin Leonard (1998), David Duval (1999) and Tiger Woods (2001).
The 2008 Junior PLAYERS Championship will be held Aug. 29- Sept. 1, 2008. THE PLAYERS Championship will be held May 8-11, 2008.