Featured Groups: THE PLAYERS Championship
May 04, 2015
By Sean Martin , PGATOUR.COM
- Rory McIlroy will play the opening two rounds at TPC Sawgrass with Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A strong field is assembled at golf’s original stadium for THE PLAYERS Championship. Tiger Woods is making his first appearance here since his victory in 2013. Jordan Spieth, the recent Masters champion, was in the final group here last year before finishing fourth. And, of course, Martin Kaymer is defending after winning both this title and the U.S. Open in 2014.
Here’s a look at some groups to watch over the first two rounds at TPC Sawgrass’ PLAYERS Stadium Course. Players' FedExCup ranking is in parentheses.
Justin Rose (15), Dustin Johnson (5), Zach Johnson (70): Rose, who finished fourth at last year’s PLAYERS, won the recent Zurich Classic of New Orleans after finishing second at the Masters. Zach Johnson was runner-up at the 2012 PLAYERS. Dustin Johnson won this year’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and is No. 5 in the FedExCup. Tee times: Rd. 1 -- 1:17 p.m. ET off No. 1; Rd. 2 -- 8:07 a.m. ET off No. 10
Jim Furyk (16), Brandt Snedeker (11), Henrik Stenson (31): Three former FedExCup champs are in this group. Furyk won in 2010, while Snedeker won in 2012 and Stenson won the following year. Stenson also is the 2009 PLAYERS champion. Furyk was runner-up at last year’s PLAYERS. Tee times: Rd. 1 -- 1:28 p.m. ET off No. 1; Rd. 2 -- 8:18 a.m. ET off No. 10
Phil Mickelson (54), Sergio Garcia (44), K.J. Choi (134): Three past PLAYERS champions are in this group. Mickelson, who is coming off a runner-up finish at the Masters, won the 2007 PLAYERS. Garcia won the following year, and Choi was the 2011 champion. Tee times: Rd. 1 -- 1:38 p.m. ET off No. 1; Rd. 2 -- 8:28 a.m. ET off No. 10
Martin Kaymer (150), Adam Scott (113), Tiger Woods (196): This also is a group of three past champions at TPC Sawgrass. Kaymer won last year’s PLAYERS by one shot over local resident Jim Furyk. Woods won this tournament in both 2013 and 2001; he missed last year’s tournament because of back surgery. Scott won THE PLAYERS in 2004. Tee times: Rd. 1 -- 1:49 p.m. ET off No. 1; 8:39 a.m. ET off No. 10
Jimmy Walker (2), Hideki Matsuyama (9), Ernie Els (163): Walker is No. 2 in the FedExCup after winning both the Sony Open in Hawaii and Valero Texas Open. Matsuyama is No. 9 in the standings, thanks to seven top-10s in 13 starts. Els was teammates with Matsuyama on the 2013 Presidents Cup team. Tee times: Rd. 1 -- 8:07 a.m. ET off No. 10; Rd. 2 -- 1:17 p.m. ET off No. 10
Brooks Koepka (17), Patrick Reed (4), Rickie Fowler (67): Koepka will play alongside two other 20-somethings from the States in his PLAYERS debut. Koepka won his first TOUR title earlier this year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Reed earned his fourth TOUR title at this year’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions; he missed the cut last year in his PLAYERS debut. Fowler was runner-up in the 2012 PLAYERS. Tee times: Rd. 1 -- 8:18 a.m. ET off No. 10; 1:28 p.m. ET off No. 1
Bubba Watson (6), Billy Horschel (55), Matt Kuchar (22): This group is comprised of players who have won the Masters, FedExCup and PLAYERS. Watson is a two-time Masters champ, claiming the Green Jacket in 2012 and 2014; he has never finished better than 37th at TPC Sawgrass, though. Horschel is the reigning FedExCup champ and lives near TPC Sawgrass. He finished a career-best T26 at last year’s PLAYERS. Kuchar won the 2012 PLAYERS. Tee times: Rd. 1 -- 8:28 a.m. ET off No. 10; Rd. 2 -- 1:38 p.m. ET off No. 1
Rory McIlroy (19), Jordan Spieth (1), Jason Day (8): Three of the top seven players in the Official World Golf Ranking are in this group, including Nos. 1 and 2. They’ve all won this season, too. McIlroy earned his first TOUR title of the season Sunday at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play; it was his 10th PGA TOUR victory. He has finished in the top 10 of the past two PLAYERS. Spieth is the reigning Masters champion, and he had success in his PLAYERS debut last year. He played with Martin Kaymer in the final group before finishing fourth. Day won the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open and finished a career-best sixth at the 2011 PLAYERS. Tee times: Rd. 1 -- 8:39 a.m. ET off No. 10; Rd. 2 -- 1:49 p.m. ET off No. 1