With Major League Baseball settling into regular season play and spellbinding events like the NBA Playoffs and NHL Playoffs in full swing, sports fans recognize the month of May as the time of year when things really begin to heat up, and Vivid Seats is proud to offer sports tickets for all of the outstanding events on the horizon. Three of the world’s most revered sports spectacles are scheduled to take place in May 2013, and while they’ve certainly been pulsing on the radars of PGA golf, horse racing, and IndyCar fans for nearly a year, everyone should know about them, so we’ve got the breakdown for what’s on tap.
THE PLAYERS Championship – May 6-12 – Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.
Commonly referred to as the season’s “fifth major,” THE PLAYERS Championship is one of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour schedule. The 2013 tournament will take place from May 6-12 on the Stadium Course at TPC at Sawgrass. Best known for its famous “Island Green” 17th hole, the 7,215-yard course is noted for its tremendous difficulty, but the winner will rake in over $1.7 million of the $9.5 million purse, which is the largest on the PGA Tour. Perhaps more importantly, the victor will earn a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, as well as priceless invitations to The Masters, The Open Championship, the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship, assuring a shot at one of golf’s four major championships.
In addition to some of the most riveting golf around, fans that purchase THE PLAYERS Championship tickets can look forward to seeing the world’s No. 1 golfer, Tiger Woods, who’ll take his first competition swings since finishing fourth at The Masters on April 14. Woods’ game is glistening in 2013, with three wins out of the six tournaments he’s entered, but TPC at Sawgrass has been a relative kryptonite to his success. Tiger won THE PLAYERS in 2001, but he hasn’t broken 40th place since finishing eighth in 2009, and reversing the trend will be an uphill battle. Defending champion, Matt Kuchar, and Masters winner, Adam Scott, are playing solid, and Rory McIlroy will be seeking redemption of his own, hoping to make his first cut at THE PLAYERS in three attempts.
Preakness Stakes – May 18 – Baltimore, Md.
The Preakness Stakes is the second race in the US Triple Crown, and the 138th installment of this esteemed event starts on May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” is one of the most anticipated events in all of horse racing, and attendees will bear witness to the top Grade I Thoroughbreds blazing through 9.5 furlongs with $1 million and a blanket of Viking daisies awaiting the winner. Lauded for being one of the most invigorating events in the sport, the Preakness is regularly the second-most attended horse race in the country, and past events have seen legendary horses like Secretariat, Man o’ War, and Smarty Jones etch their names in history with remarkable wins.
As always, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll win the lion’s share at “The Second Jewel of the Triple Crown,” but up to 14 three-year-old colts and fillies will have a shot at immortality. In the 2012 race, Mario Gutierrez jockeyed I’ll Have Another to a sensational win over Bodemeister, digging in on the last furlong to win by a neck, with a finishing time of 1:55:94. I’ll Have Another went on to suffer an injury and failed to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed sealed the deal in 1978, but that means that fans who purchase Preakness tickets could potentially be in attendance while a horse is in the midst of a historic run to become just the 12-ever Triple Crown winner.
Indy 500 – May 26 – Indianapolis, Ind.
As is the case every Memorial Day weekend, all eyes will be on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500, which will start up for the 97th time on May 26. Known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500 is the premier IndyCar race of the year, and “The Brickyard” stands proud as the world’s largest sporting venue, annually drawing in crowds of over 250,000 race fans. For the Indy 500 2013, 33 of the finest open-wheel drivers will speed through 200 laps on the famed 2.5 mile course with over $2.5 million at stake. Throughout it’s fine history, racing legends like Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, and Al Unser, Jr., have all chugged from the bottle of milk that’s traditionally presented to the winner, and this year, two elite drivers have chance to join a very special club.
Helio Castroneves or Dario Franchitti can become just the fourth driver to win the Indy 500 four times, succeeding A.J. Foyt, who did it in 1977, Al Unser (1987), and Rick Mears (1991). Castroneves won his third Indy 500 in 2009, but Franchitti has all of the momentum. The four-time IndyCar Series champion won the race in 2012, and he’s won three of the previous six races overall (2007, 2010). Of course, both drivers will have to fend off stellar drivers like Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti, and Takuma Sato, and they won’t be the only ones looking to make history. Al Unser and Al Unser, Jr., are the sole father and son duo to win the Indy 500, but if Graham Rahal wins this year, he’ll join his father, Bobby Rahal, who won in 1986.