In case you haven't heard, The Players Championship has moved from Mother's Day weekend in May, where it had been since 2007, back to March, where it previously had been on the PGA Tour calendar. Now, the PGA Tour's crown jewel will be played again before the Masters and serve as the perfect lead-in to the four majors.
While the Tour has for many years held The Players in the same esteem as the majors (and there's a good case to be made for that), there's always been some mainstream backlash on where it belongs in the wider pantheon of great golf tournaments. However, the PGA Tour is using the new-old March spot as a chance to rebrand the tournament of sorts. The PGA Tour is now leading with the notion that The Players is the "gold standard" of golf tournaments, and they've come up with a new trophy to replace the classic Waterford crystal trophy that's been handed to winners at The Players Stadium Course for decades.
The new trophy was made by Tiffany and Co., who also created the FedEx Cup trophy among others. The gold-plated award represents a mix of classic metal-working techniques along with modern advances like computer-aided design and 3-D printing.
The trophy is made from sterling silver and has a 24-carat vermeil. The Players logo is the most visible part of the trophy, with Tiffany and Co. creating the golfer that incorporates aspects of each of the 38 different prior winners of The Players. The 3-D printed mold of that player was then used in a process called electroforming, which uses electrical current to build up layers of precious metal to create a seamless finish.
The golfer stands on top of the 17th green from TPC Sawgrass' Players Stadium Course, with Tiffany and Co. bringing out the intricate detail of the complex, including Pete Dye railroad ties and pilings, the surrounding water and more details.
“To mimic the texture of the water around the peninsula, the silversmith used a variety of special hammers to mark the silver on top of a hard surface,” said Andrew Hart, senior vice-president of diamond and jewelry supply at Tiffany & Co. “He used different angles of blow stokes and different spacing between blows to make the water come alive.”
In addition to the new trophy, the PGA Tour has bumped up the 2019 Players Championship purse to $12 million, currently making it tied for the richest tournament purse in professional golf.