The Players Preview
It’s The Players championship this week, the unofficial fifth Major and a marquee tournament on the PGA Tour. It is dubbed as one of the strongest fields of any golf tournament played throughout the year which is also owned by the players. Since 1982 the tournaments home has been TPC Sawgrass, a course designed by renowned course architect Pete Dye that become a must see golf event for fans attending and watching at home alike. The majority of the fans will at some point find themselves around the 17th Green; the penultimate hole is designed to create drama and the setting for some of the most famous moments in golfing history.
The PGA Tour has latched onto the excitement that is surrounding golf since the return of its most famous son, Tiger Woods. Tiger moves the needle more than anyone else and since his return to competitive golf he has shown that he can compete with fans worldwide switching their TV’s to the golf coverage.
Some magical groups have been conjured for the first two rounds of competition this week. Tiger will be joined by his long time adversary Phil Mickelson as well as the ever popular Rickie Fowler. Although Tiger and Phil seem to have mellowed recently and possibly now consider each other friends, Phil hasn’t missed trick by suggesting that they forgo focusing on the main tournament and instead go head-to-head. He even mentioned that he wouldn’t mind having a wager on the game, which Tiger was more than happy with, saying that he would be happy to play for an amount that would make Phil “uncomfortable”.
Another marquee group for rounds one and two is the last three Fedex Champions, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. From this group JT is having the best season and is considered by most in the game as the rightful number one golfer in the world at present, he will want to put on a show in front of his fellow competitors Rory and Jordan.
From a European Ryder Cup perspective, the all English group of Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose is another one to watch out for. All three have had a great last 18 months in their own way but they will be focused on a win to set themselves up for the rest of the season and secure a Ryder Cup place.
Tips For The Week
Ian Poulter: Having regained his Tour Card after a medical exemption last year, he has climbed back into the Top50 in the world and stepped back into the winners circle.
Sergio Garcia: The 2008 champion, has the best record around this course of any current player, he will want to continue this trend and add another trophy to the collection.
Tiger Woods: Since his return from injury he has endured a fairytale return, his golf has to be beyond even his own expectations. If he can get all areas of the game firing on all cylinders he will be hard to beat.
Jason Day: having won last week, it will take all of his energy to compete at the same level but he is a streaky player and if he gets going he is very hard to stop.