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Stenson, Molinari, Poulter Previewed Players on Video and TV

Kathy BissellCorrespondent IMay 8, 2010

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 07: Ian Poulter of England  reacts on the tenth fairway during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 7, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The next generation of golfers learned about The Players Championship from worldwide television and even computer games.

“It's got all the tradition and the history from this event, and I had watched it a lot before I came over and played it the first time, and I think that goes for everybody that's a keen golfer,” said defending champions Henrick Stenson earlier in the week.

“Especially if you're a professional golfer, from whatever corner of the world you come from, you will have seen this event.”

From the standpoint of the tournament, that’s an important difference that it did not have 20 or 25 years ago.

The reach of television to worldwide golfers has increased the stature of the tournament outside the US even if all those inside the US are not quite convinced. 

Francesco Molinari of Italy had to chose between the Italian Open in his hometown and The Players.

“When I saw it was clashing with THE PLAYERS, this is one of the tournaments you dream of playing as a kid and you watch on TV,” Molinari said.

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“I think it's easy to say now that I'm 11-under. But even if you miss the cut, it's one of those tournaments that takes you to a different level, and it's really good for your experience.”

Ian Poulter learned the course on Playstation in the golf shop as a kid. 

“When you set it up, you always set it up to play the back nine, I guess, with the island green,” Poulter explained. “I hadn't played a round of golf in America until I was 20, so, you know, as a kid and spending a lot of time in a pro shop playing Playstation, yeah, I guess I got to know the golf course.”

When he got to the golf course for real, and had a first hand look at the 17th His first thought was

“That green was enormous. I've made birdie there all the time on the computer.”

He said he’s played many more rounds on Playstation than in reality.

“I like the golf course. It's a tough golf course. It's always set up that way, and it's meant to be that way," Poulter added. “This is supposed to be the fifth major, and I like the way the golf course sets up. It's difficult. There's tough par-fours, there's challenging par-threes, and there's some par-fives which are all reachable.”

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