PLAYERS field filled with worldwide starsSpain's Sergio Garcia and Sweden's Henrik Stenson help make up a star-studded field for the 2010 PLAYERS.April 30, 2010
Chris Reimer, PGA TOUR Staff
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- With the passing of Friday's 5 p.m. ET commitment deadline, the deepest field in golf is all but finalized for next week's THE PLAYERS Championship. The winner from Sunday's Quail Hollow Championship will be added, or if that player is already qualified for THE PLAYERS, Brendon de Jonge will round out a field of 145 that includes all 29 of the top 30 players from the Official World Golf Ranking as well as both last year's final FedExCup standings and this year's current FedExCup.
The current field includes every winner on the PGA TOUR dating back to last year's PLAYERS Championship, a total of 33 different players, except for Retief Goosen. Goosen missed the Quail Hollow Championship with a broken toe.
Fifty-two of the players headed to TPC Sawgrass are from outside the Unites States, representing 19 countries and highlighted by defending champion Henrik Stenson. Australia leads the way with 14 players. Players from England, however, seem to be making the most noise on the golf course coming into THE PLAYERS with nine English players committed and three inside the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking: No. 4 in the world Lee Westwood; last year's runner-up and winner of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship Ian Poulter (No. 6); and Paul Casey (No. 8). Sweden and South Africa each have five players each in the field. The other countries represented are: Argentina (2), Canada (2), Spain (2), Germany (2), South Korea (2), Northern Ireland (2), Colombia (1), Fiji (1), Ireland (1), Italy (1), Japan (1), Scotland (1), Thailand (1) and Zimbabwe (1). International players have experienced recent success at TPC Sawgrass as five of the last nine PLAYERS Champions have come from outside of the United States.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods will square off against a demanding field and equally demanding golf course. Woods comes to THE PLAYERS Championship after a top-10 finish at The Masters. The world's No. 1-ranked player and 2001 PLAYERS Champion, Woods has not missed a cut in 12 appearances at THE PLAYERS but recorded his first top-10 finish last year since his victory seven years ago. He is joined by the world's No. 2-ranked player and 2007 PLAYERS Champion, Phil Mickelson. Depending on how the Quail Hollow Championship finishes this weekend, Mickelson may come to TPC Sawgrass with an opportunity to pass Woods as the No. 1 player in the world.
Seventeen players are making their first start at THE PLAYERS: Ricky Barnes (USA), Kris Blanks (USA), Brendon de Jonge (ZIM), Rickie Fowler (USA), Derek Lamely (USA), Marc Leishman (AUS), Bill Lunde (USA), Bryce Molder (USA), Alex Prugh (USA), Francesco Molinari (ITA), James Nitties (AUS), D.A. Points (USA), Alvaro Quiros (SPN), Chris Stroud (USA), Roland Thatcher (USA), Jimmy Walker (USA) and Oliver Wilson (ENG).
Only one avenue remains for a player not otherwise qualified to gain entry into THE PLAYERS and that is to notch a victory at this week's Quail Hollow Championship.
At 56 years, 5 months of age, Jay Haas will be the oldest player in the field at THE PLAYERS. Haas earned an invitation to THE PLAYERS by virtue of his victory last fall at the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship. He will make his tournament-record 29th-career start at THE PLAYERS. Haas, along with his son Bill, will make history at THE PLAYERS, becoming the first father-son duo to compete in the event during the same year.
A total of 149 players qualified for this year's PLAYERS Championship. The following players qualified but chose not to participate - Edoardo Molinari (ITA), Miquel Angel Jimenez (SPN), Yuta Ikeda (JPN), Louis Oosthuizen (SAF), Ryo Ishikawa (JPN), Rich Beem (USA), Soren Hansen (DEN), Tom Watson (USA), Michael Campbell (NZ), Michael Sim (AUS) and Goosen (SAF). In order to fill the field to 144 players (not counting Jay Haas who makes 145) the following players qualified via their ranking in this year's FedExCup standings: Rickie Fowler (USA), Alex Prugh (USA), J.P. Hayes (USA), Chris Couch (USA), Kris Blanks (USA) and Brendon de Jonge(ZIM).