Featured Groups: THE PLAYERS Championship
March 11, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 11, 2019
- Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed will be paired with defending champion Webb Simpson during the first two rounds. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Webb Simpson knows what it’s like to win THE PLAYERS Championship in May. This week, the defending champ will play the first two rounds with a player who knows what it’s like to win at TPC Sawgrass in both March and May.
Tiger Woods is the only two-time PLAYERS champion to win at the Stadium Course in different months, and he’ll get a chance to add another victory to his resume after the tournament’s return to March for the first time since 2006.
RELATED: Tee times for Rounds 1 and 2
Meanwhile, Simpson will be battling PLAYERS history – no defending champ has successfully defended. But given how he dominated last year, cruising to a four-shot win while matching the course record with a second-round 63, perhaps the confidence will spill over into a second straight win this week.
Here’s a look at some of the Featured Groups (FedExCup ranking in parentheses).
HOW TO FOLLOW (all times ET)
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 2-7 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (NBC).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.- 7 p.m. (Featured Groups). Saturday, 8:30 a.m.- 7 p.m. (Featured Groups). Sunday, 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. (Featured Groups).
LIVE ON TWITTER: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. – approx. 8:30 a.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – approx. 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. – approx. 9 a.m.
International subscribers (via GOLFTV): Thursday-Friday, 12:30 to 23:00 GMT. Saturday, 14:00 to 23:00. Sunday, 13:00 to 22:00.
Webb Simpson (42) – In addition to his 63, he set PLAYERS records for largest 36-hole (5 shots) and 54-hole (7 shots) leads last year.
Patrick Reed (54) – Due to the schedule change, he’s making his second PLAYERS start since winning the Masters last April.
Tiger Woods (107) – In his 17 opening rounds at TPC Sawgrass, just one was in the 60s -- a 67 in 2013 when he won for the second time.
Thursday: 1:27 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 8:32 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee)
Rickie Fowler (7) – Had three rounds in the 60s when he won in 2015; every other round since 2013 has been in the 70s.
Brooks Koepka (8) – His last competitive round at TPC Sawgrass was a course-record tying 63 in Round 4 a year ago.
Jordan Spieth (182) – Tied for fourth in his first PLAYERS in 2014, then missed the cut in his next three starts.
Thursday: 1:59 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 9:04 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee)
Martin Kaymer (201) – The 2014 winner of THE PLAYERS Championship is coming off a T33 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
Henrik Stenson (179) – The 2009 champion at THE PLAYERS is coming off a T17 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and making just his third start this season.
Adam Scott (27) – The 2004 champion here has a T7 (Genesis Open), 2nd (Farmers Insurance Open) and T10 (THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES) this season.
Thursday: 1:38 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 8:43 a.m. (No. 10 tee)
Jason Day (33) – Won THE PLAYERS in 2016 and practiced at TPC Sawgrass two weeks ago, but is coming off a WD (back injury) at Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Francesco Molinari (20) – With victory at Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Italian star has three victories in his last 12 starts, a nine-month run of excellence.
Tony Finau (24) – Usually plays a ton of golf, but is making his first start since a T25 (73-69-69-69) at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
Thursday: 1:48 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 8:53 a.m. (No. 10 tee)
Matt Kuchar (2) – Two top-10s in 14 career starts; of course, one of those was his win in 2012.
Phil Mickelson (9) – Won THE PLAYERS the first time it was held in May in 2007 but hasn’t had a top-10 finish since then.
Rory McIlroy (11) – Missed the cut in his first three PLAYERS starts, then had top-10 finishes in the next three.
Thursday: 9:04 a.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 1:59 p.m. ET (No. 10 tee)
Xander Schauffele (1) – FedExCup leader tied for second last year in his first PLAYERS start.
Justin Thomas (6) – Feast or famine on the weekend for the former FedExCup champion – four rounds of 68 or better, and three rounds of 75 or higher.
Justin Rose (13) – Reigning FedExCup champion. In 15 career starts at TPC Sawgrass, he has just one top-10 – a T4 in 2014.
Thursday: 8:32 a.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 1:27 p.m. ET (No. 10 tee)
Billy Horschel (52) – Ponte Vedra Beach resident got off to a good start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but 73-77 weekend dropped him into a T50 finish.
Bryson DeChambeau (14) – Won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open earlier this season but his gone quiet since T15 at Genesis Open last month.
Bubba Watson (65) – Enjoyed top-20 finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (T17), Genesis Open (T15), and Waste Management Phoenix Open (T4).
Thursday: 8:43 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee); Friday: 1:38 p.m. (No. 1 tee)
Sergio Garcia (95) – The 2008 PLAYERS champion, Garcia is in form after top-10 finishes at The Honda Classic (T9) and WGC-Mexico Championship (T6).
Dustin Johnson (10) – Making his first start since he dominated and picked up his second title in three years at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
Jon Rahm (32) – Superstar from Spain already has five top-10 finishes in seven TOUR starts this season. Is coming off a T45 at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
Thursday: 8:53 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee); Friday: 1:48 p.m. (No. 1 tee)