The First Look: THE PLAYERS Championship
March 07, 2021
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy Round 4 highlights from THE PLAYERS
THE PLAYERS Championship returns to TPC Sawgrass after 2020’s unprecedented cancellation after the first round due to the emerging coronavirus pandemic. Dustin Johnson – the reigning FedExCup champion and current world No. 1 – leads a field that includes 28 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings and 48 of the world’s top 50.
With no champion crowned last year, Rory McIlroy – who would go on to win the FedExCup for the second time after winning THE PLAYERS in 2019 – will look to defend his title from two years ago.
FIELD NOTES: There will be 112 PGA TOUR winners teeing it up at TPC Sawgrass … Brooks Koepka withdrew Sunday due to injury ... Golfers who were eligible but will not play also include Matthew Wolff, Zac Blair, Bud Cauley, and two-time PLAYERS Champion Tiger Woods… Ten past PLAYERS winners are in the field… Jerry Kelly tees it up after winning the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS in 2020… Will Zalatoris will make his PLAYERS debut after his marked climb up the Official World Golf Ranking. Zalatoris, who still leads the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List, is 47th in the OWGR.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 FedExCup points.
COURSE: TPC Sawgrass (Stadium), 7,189 yards, par 72. There will be a minimized fan footprint compared to years past due to COVID-19 precautions, but the iconic TOUR venue, which went through some renovations in 2016, will again provide a tough test to the best golfers in the world. This is set to be the first PLAYERS Championship completed since the passing of the course's famed architect, Pete Dye.
STORYLINES: Hideki Matsuyama shot a 9-under 63 in the first round of 2020 – tying the tournament record – before cancellation. … No golfer has won THE PLAYERS in back-to-back years, a streak that will continue in 2021, with no tournament completed in 2020… Since 2000, more than half the winners at TPC Sawgrass have been international, including four of the last six… The TOUR Policy Board amended the eligibility for THE PLAYERS to include the Top 125 Finishers from the 2019-20 FedExCup Points List, which bumped the field from its usual 144 to 154.
72-HOLE RECORD: 264, Greg Norman (1994).
18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Fred Couples (3rd round, 1992), Greg Norman (1st round, 1994), Roberto Castro (1st round, 2013), Martin Kaymer (1st round, 2014); Jason Day (1st round, 2016); Colt Knost (2nd round, 2016); Webb Simpson (2nd round, 2018); Brooks Koepka (4th round, 2018).
LAST TIME: Darkness halted the first round in 2020 with a few players still out on the course prior to the event being cancelled that night. Hideki Matsuyama fired a 9-under 63 to tie the tournament record, while Harris English, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, and former PLAYERS Champion Si Woo Kim shot 65.
Rory McIlory won the 2019 PLAYERS by one over Jim Furyk.
HOW TO FOLLOW (All times ET)
Television: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC)
Every Shot Live: Live streaming of every shot hit at THE PLAYERS Championship will get underway Thursday morning from TPC Sawgrass. Nearly 100 cameras will capture roughly 31,000 strokes taken over approximately 430 rounds played. It will be available free through PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold on Thursday. See schedule below.
Saturday, 7:45 a.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Groups), 12 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes), 7:50 a.m.-8 p.m. (Every Shot Live).
Sunday, 7:45 a.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Groups), 12 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes), 7:50 a.m.-6 p.m. (Every Shot Live)
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).
TOUR Pulse: Get the PGA TOUR app to utilize TOUR Pulse, which provides users the ability to experience a mix of content, such as video highlights, written hole summaries and stat graphics on every player after every hole they complete.