The Players Championship's new trophy turns heads

Tournament director says goal was to honor event's history, 38 different winners

By Allyson Henning - Reporter

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - As day one of The Players Championship kicked off Thursday, big crowds were out on The Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass following some of the featured groups.

Thousands were on the first tee trying to get a glimpse of Tiger Woods. But something else was also turning heads on the first tee: the tournament's new trophy.

Fans were able to get their first look at what the winner will be hoisting overhead come Sunday afternoon. The new trophy designed by Tiffany and Co. is made of sterling silver and coated in 24-carat gold. To create the trophy, according to The Players, a Tiffany designer worked with the PGA Tour to replicate a golfer with the perfect swing on the famous 17th Island Green.

There were mixed reactions from fans about the change, as many have become familiar with the Waterford Crystal over the years. 

"I love it. I think it is kind of gives it a fresh look and dimension to it," spectator Cornellius Frazier said. "We’ve been dealing with the crystal for a few years and I think that the new trophy is a great added dimension."

But spectator Ryan Bird had a different reaction when he first saw the new trophy. 

"I was a little appalled," he said. "I have lived here for 30 years and I’ve watched them give out the Waterford Crystal every single year, so I would like to see them keep giving it out. If I had won, I would want the Waterford Crystal."

But News4Jax was told the new trophy stands for something different. The Players Tournament Director Ryan Hart said the goal was to honor the history of the event and its 38 different winners. He said the intricate design came to life using state of the art technology.

"The face was actually a combination of the faces of all the past champions through some 3D modeling and a process called electroforming," Hart said. "It brought them all together. So it was like someone said to Mr. (Jack) Nicklaus yesterday, 'I guess, technically, you’re in the trophy three times as our only three-time winner.'"

The players themselves seem to love the new look. Rickie Fowler said the only thing that would make his Waterford Crystal look better is having the new trophy sitting beside it.

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