925 balls in the water at 17th hole during last 20 years at The Players

Bernie McGuire

The 17th green at TPC Sawgrass (Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Here’s a statistic!

Since 2003, 925 balls have been lost into the water at the island-like 17th green during the course of the Players Championship at Ponte Vedra in Florida.

That is an average of 46.25 golf balls a year over the past 20 Players Championships. Indeed, 2007 alone saw 93 balls disappear into the drink.

At just 137 yards, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass actually played as the second-toughest hole under 200 yards, on last year’s PGA Tour.

Hereunder was the four toughest holes last 2021/22 season under 200-yards:

* Harbour Town Golf Links 14th (192 yards) – 3.273 scoring average
* TPC Sawgrass 17th (137 yards) – 3.265 scoring average
* TPC Potomac 17th (190 yards) – 3.249 scoring average
* Augusta National 12th (155 yards) – 3.233 scoring average

Despite playing just 137 yards, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass was the 10th toughest par-3 on the PGA Tour last season. The other 9 toughest par-3s averaged 224 yards in distance – showing it stands out on its own as the toughest short hole in the game.

And it’s getting harder! From 2010 – 2015, the average # of balls hit into the water was 37.5 per tournament. But from 2016 – 2022, the average stands at 54.5 per tournament.

Over the years, Tom Lehman has the lowest cumulative career score at 17, with a score of – 11, while the worst cumulative career score at 17 is held by former PGA Champion Bob Tway with a score of +30, and that includes in 2005 when Tway took a ’12’ at the 17th. See the video hereunder.

In stark contrast, fellow PGA Championship winner, Jason Dufner holds the record for the most times playing the 17th hole (since 2003), without putting a ball in the water – keeping his ball dry on all 41 occasions he has played the hole.

Of the current crop of players who will be again tackling the 17th in this week’s Championship, Australia’s Adam Scott has the most scores of birdie or better – with 18. Only Hal Sutton (19) and Bernhard Langer (26) have scored more.

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