PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Diversity, thy name is Dye.
Pete Dye, the celebrated architect of TPC Sawgrass was announced as a World Golf Hall of Fame inductee earlier this week and freely admitted that he has no idea why his most-infamous layout, host site of the Players Championship, annually creates such a wild leaderboard full of players with seemingly so little in common.
Beyond their prescribed total of 14 clubs in their respective bags, it's a complete melange of a cornucopia of a smorgasbord of a jigsaw puzzle of a bric-a-brac mix.
There are a variety of reasons we don't need to reiterate to explain the amalgamation, since we covered that ground in a story earlier this week, but heading into the final round on Sunday, has the board ever featured a more scattershot selection of PGA Tour players of various sizes, ages and physical capabilities?
Doubtful. It's almost absurdly diverse. Consider that of the 13 players tied for seventh or better:
* There's a 50-year-old, Bernhard Langer, who is seeking to become the eldest winner in event history. He's been playing for the past few months on the Champions Tour.
* There are four 40-somethings, including the two players in the final group, Paul Goydos and Kenny Perry. Fellow graybeards Greg Kraft, who began the year with limited exempt status, and Tom Lehman are also in the mix. Lehman turns 50 next spring.
* In continuing the 2008 youth theme in which five of the past six winners have been under age 30, a slew of 20-somethings, Sergio Garcia, Jeff Quinney and J.B. Holmes, are also among the leaders. Holmes is 24 years younger than Langer.
But more crazed, still, is the array of firepower the group represents. It's like howitzers against guys shooting spitwads.
* Holmes, Garcia, Perry and Mickelson rank among the top 26 players on tour for length off the tee.
* Goydos, the wise-cracking leader, doesn't have a muscle in his entire body and officially ranks third-to-last on the tour in driving distance, ahead of plinkers Fred Funk and Corey Pavin at a meager 265.2 yards a poke. Quinney ranks No. 182, ahead of only 14 players. Kraft hits it a not-so-mighty average of 258 yards but doesn't have enough rounds to rank in the computer. If he did, Kraft would rank second-to-last, in fact. Several LPGA players could blow it past all three of them.
And yet the aforementioned Funk is a past Players winner. So is Mickelson. Verybody playing well seemingly has a shot at the title on this comparatively shortish, tricky track.
Care to take a crack at projections a winner Sunday, because I have no eartly idea. Not a whiff of a sniff of a clue.