Steve Williams has offered a contentious theory that the PGA Tour should flip the nines at TPC Sawgrass so that the famed par-3 17th is no longer the penultimate hole during its flagship tournament, the Players Championship.

Tiger Woods’ former caddie Williams suggested the alteration on the Chasing Majors podcast series. He declared it “unfair” that the island green hole was so late in the round there was no chance for a player to recover from a big number.

Williams was on the bag for Woods’ 2001 Players Championship victory, made famous by Woods’ triple-breaking putt on No.17 during the third round that Woods holed for birdie. It was immortalised by Gary Koch’s broadcast call, “Better than most!”

Williams’ theory is at the 10-minute mark of the podcast.

But New Zealander Williams referenced Len Mattiace’s disaster in the final round of the 1998 Players – when Mattiace was one shot off the lead before rinsing two balls at No.17 en route to a quintuple-bogey 8 – as proof the hole was not fair in its position.

“My theory is …  I like the hole but I don’t think it should be the 17th hole,” Williams, who was on the bag for 13 of Woods’ 15 Major wins and Adam Scott’s 2013 Masters. “I think that hole would be better if you swapped it around and made it the eighth hole.

“Whilst it’s a good hole, and spectacular hole for the galleries, there are a lot of good shots hit there that go in the water. The wind is very tricky and sometimes the green gets firm and it’s hard to hold that green.

“If you take a big number there, you can’t recover and I don’t think it’s a fair hole to lose the tournament on. I think back to Len Mattiace, who was having the week of his life, playing fantastic golf and he ran up a big number there … it just devastated him.”

Williams’ theory has merit from a routing perspective and while it may be fairer, the finishing stretch would be far less exciting during golf’s unofficial fifth Major.

The Players Championship is played on TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium course and the back nine is designed to elicit drama during the PGA Tour’s flagship event, which features the strongest field in professional golf. The front nine is considerably less exciting than the back.

The back nine features a reachable par-5 at the 11th before a shorter par-4 at the 12th, which can be driven by longer players depending on what set of tees are used.

TPC Sawgrass then enters an arena-style corner of the property where the 16th features a par-5 that is easily reachable in two but with water down the right-hand side.

The 17th is visible from the 16th and anticipation for the 146-yard par-3 builds. The 17th features a green out on the water that resembles an island. The 18th is a stern test with a tee shot featuring water all the way down the left side of the hole.