What: The 17th hole at the Players Championship at Sawgrass, which begins today in Jacksonville, Florida:

Listen to the 17th speak! (No, really, click on the link and hear a golf course talk!)

Why: You heard the course: On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a 17. The "Island Green" is the cruelest hole in golf. Designed with malice in the heart by new World Golf Hall of Famer Pete Dye, the par-3 17th is a mere 130 yards. 130 yards of doom, that is. From the tee, you can see nothing but water and a postage stamp of green, maybe 15 yards by 25 yards. Oh, and that green isn't exactly flat. There's a better than average chance that even if you hit the edge of the green, it'll roll right off the cliff. Bob Tway, who has won a major, once scored a twelve on the hole. Steve Lowery had a seagull pick up his ball off the green and drop it into the lake. There are snapping turtles and alligators in the water, should you decide to go after your ball. But when you handle the Island Green, you might just do something no one has seen:

Impact: The 17th at the Players is the only golf hole where you can watch every shot live (click on "Live@the17th"). That's because fans love watching golfers who are way better than them drop ball after ball into the drink. It's rare when a normal duffer can feel superior to a pro player, but at the hole of doom, that's exactly what happens. I'm enjoying watching Ernie Els plunk one into the lake as I type this. It's a hole entirely made out of schadenfreude.

Personal Connection: The 17th is the one hole in golf that my wife can identify on sight. I couldn't imagine her sitting down and watching, say, Davis Love III navigate Amen Corner at the Masters. But give her a glimpse of the 17th, and she's popping popcorn and pulling up a chair.

Other Contenders: the ivy at Wrigley Field, which has its own rule (if a ball gets lost in the ivy, it's a ground rule double); the gorgeous blue "Smurf turf" of Boise State's Bronco Stadium; the wild red clay at the French Open at Roland Garros; the hellacious mountains of the Tour de France, especially if Lance Armstrong is making his move; the strawberries and cream stands at Wimbledon.