The Players Championship Preview

The flagship event on the PGA Tour is here and with 48 of the world’s top 50 committed to the event, it is guaranteed to be the greatest golfing spectacle of the year to date.

The Player’s Championship has long been a revered event and an appealing trophy to obtain; it’s the one that all of the players want on their resume.

Away from a major championship, this could be the most alluring title, although we’re sure the Golf World Championships may have something to say about that.

Bryson DeChambeau has pulled out of this tournament, similarly to last week, and he will not be competing – alongside Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker.

The Previous Edition

When Lee Westwood worked his way into the final pairing for the second consecutive week, he must have thought this was his time.

It’s not like he hadn’t won in America before, he had, but no victory since 2010 would rightfully be stinging and he had a golden opportunity to record the biggest win of his career – at the age of 47.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational final pairing took place again the following week at Sawgrass, with Westwood looking to inflict revenge on DeChambeau, the API champion.

It’s ironic that, with so much coverage built around the tournament being a two-horse race, Justin Thomas would support his riveting 64 from Saturday with another 68, setting the clubhouse lead in the process.

Neither DeChambeau nor Westwood could get close to the 14-under score that secured Thomas’ first trophy in two years, although Brian Harman saw his valiant attempt fall just short, finishing T2 alongside DeChambeau.

The American carded 132 on the weekend, the lowest in the history of The Players Championship.


The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a Pete Dye masterpiece that has toyed with the world’s best golfers since its opening in 1980.

Through the architect’s intelligent hazard positioning, there are ample opportunities for the balls to go for a quick swim, meaning accuracy is a vital asset to have this week.

Measuring 7,256 yards and boasting a par of 72, this might not be the longest course that the players will tackle this year, but the guileful use of water allows for eventful viewing.  

The Stadium Course underwent renovation in 2016 – which sparked fantastic feedback from the players returning the following year – but many of its signature greens have remained original – including the par-3 17th.


Considering the magnitude of the field, this looks likely to be an event for the ages – how often are 48 of the world’s top 50 bunched together?

If Justin Thomas can successfully defend his title, he’ll become the first golfer in history to have done so.

Due to Tiger Woods’ recovery and Mickelson’s absence, this will be the first Players Championship to feature neither of them since 1994.

Tommy Fleetwood makes the field narrowly, occupying the final OWGR spot to secure his tee time in Florida.

He played well last week and produced a T20 finish, with a highlight being his putting that he has evidently worked tirelessly on.

The Englishman had back-to-back top 10s at this event during 2018 and 19, so we know he’s got the game to challenge – but does he have the form?

Sergio Garcia is the king of Sawgrass and he’ll be returning, looking for his second title whilst recording his 18th successive cut in the process.

Every hole is a test at TPC Sawgrass

The Spaniard has an excellent record here: winning once, twice runner-up and eight top 15s.

Jon Rahm, on the other hand, is leaving shots out on the green currently. This is highly frustrating considering he is leading the tour for SG: Off-the-Tee, greens in regulation and SG: Tee-to-Green.

This means he’s doing everything perfectly up until he gets to the green, where he’s dramatically struggling with the putter at the moment.

Can we see one of Spain’s striking duo triumph at Ponte Vedra Beach, or is this an event too soon for the pair?

Rory McIlroy will be disappointed with his finish at Bay Hill, but a new week sparks fresh opportunity – and the Northern Irishman will be looking to forget his final three days in Orlando.

He missed the cut by ten strokes last year, which is obviously well below the level he expects of himself, but he’s looking sharper this year and will be targeting the cut as an absolutely minimum.

Finally, Collin Morikawa makes only his second start at a Players Championship, although he did conclude las year’s involvement with the lowest score of the day.

His 66 on the Sunday helped elevate him to a T41 position, but we all know Morikawa does not belong in the T41 position – expect big things this week, as you should whenever he features.

The Players Championship is the ultimate PGA Tour tournament: it is packed with every component that makes golf great.

The high-quality field, a difficult golf course that is encapsulated by water and the return of unrestricted fans all blend to create the perfect golfing environment.

Do you think a revered name like McIlroy will win the event or do you believe a new star will be birthed?