Players Championship symbolic of a fickle season

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 6, 2014 at 11:17 am •  Published: May 6, 2014
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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Imagine the odds that could have been offered on this at the start of the year. Going into the second weekend in May, Michelle Wie has made more money on her tour than Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson combined have made on theirs.

"You probably could have gotten some action there," Pat Perez, no stranger to the Las Vegas casinos, said Tuesday once he digested the absurdity of it all.

Some of that speaks to Wie finding her form, having some fun and playing to her potential.

A large part, obviously, is due to Woods hardly playing at all because of a back injury that led to surgery. In just three PGA Tour starts, Woods missed a 54-hole cut in San Diego, withdrew in the middle of the final round at Honda and tied for 25th at Doral.

And then there's Mickelson. The PGA Tour record book shows that he has never gone this deep into the season as a pro without a single top 10. Of course, that would be overlooking that runner-up finish in Abu Dhabi against a strong field. Mickelson has coped with a pair of injuries that forced him to withdraw from two tournaments. He also has been more unpredictable than usual.

Skewed statistics aside, it provides a snapshot on what kind of fickle season this has been on the PGA Tour.

Through 25 tournaments in the wraparound season, seven winners were not among the top 100 in the world while only two winners were in the top 10. The average ranking of PGA Tour winners this year is 83.4.

What better place to celebrate — or bemoan — parity than at The Players Championship, the tournament that is said to be the most difficult to predict.

"There's no favorite. There's no style of golf here that has to win," Kevin Chappell said. "It's the ultimate test of making it yours. You create your game plan, and whoever establishes that game plan and sticks to it the best is going to win."

Woods last year became only fifth two-time winner of The Players since it moved to the former swamp known as the TPC Sawgrass in 1982. He also has had more finishes out of the top 20 than at any other tournament, including the majors.

Mickelson won in 2007. He hasn't finished in the top 10 at Sawgrass since. The list of winners is almost as impressive as the list of those who have never won — Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington.