May 06, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Matt Kuchar won the 2012 PLAYERS Championship. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- THE PLAYERS Championship is the PGA TOUR's showcase event, annually attracting the best the game has to offer.
So picking the best groups to watch is a challenge but PGATOUR.COM took a shot. Here's who we are watching. Use the comments section below to tell us your favorites.
Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Jonas Blixt (1:18 p.m. off No. 1 on Thursday; 8:08 a.m. off No. 10 on Friday): Blixt has shown a penchant for coming up big in big events with top-10s in each of the last two majors. Simpson tied for 15th in last year's PLAYERS while Bradley has top-10 finishes in two of his last four starts this year.
Henrik Stenson, Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk (1:28 p.m. off No. 1 on Thursday; 8:18 a.m. off No. 10 on Friday): Stenson won THE PLAYERS in 2009 and tied for fifth last year. Snedeker has found feast or famine at TPC Sawgrass with four missed cuts and two top-12 finishes. Furyk, who makes his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, didn't have a top-10 at THE PLAYERS until his ninth start -- and now he's had three in his last 10.
Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker (1:39 p.m. off No. 1 on Thursday: 8:29 a.m. off No. 10 on Friday): Scott won THE PLAYERS in 2004 and has three top-10s total in 12 starts. Fowler tied for second in 2012 but has missed the cut the other three times he's played at TPC Sawgrass. One of the TOUR's most consistent, Stricker has made 17 starts at THE PLAYERS and only posted one top-10 finish -- back in 1999.
Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar (1:49 p.m. off No. 1 on Thursday: 8:39 a.m. off No. 10 on Friday): All three of these players enter with momentum. Walker is a three-time winner this year and leads the FedExCup standings. Watson won the Masters and Kuchar, the 2012 PLAYERS champ, won the RBC Heritage in his last start.
Patrick Reed, Luke Donald, Jason Dufner (1:18 p.m. off No. 1 on Friday; 8:08 a.m. off No. 10 on Thursday): Reed enters his first PLAYERS Championship with three wins under his belt. Donald, who has finished fourth or better in two of his last four starts, has top-20 finishes in his last three PLAYERS while a tie for sixth in 2011 is the best Dufner, the reigning PGA champ, has done in five appearances at TPC Sawgrass.
Jordan Spieth, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson (1:28 p.m. off No. 1 on Friday; 8:18 a.m. off No. 10 on Thursday): Spieth, who tied for second at the Masters, is making his PLAYERS Championship debut. McDowell has missed the cut in his last two starts on the Stadium Course but he's got five top-10 finishes on TOUR in 2014. Johnson, who started 2014 with a bang, winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, has six top-25 finishes at THE PLAYERS, including a tie for second in 2012.
Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Harris English (1:39 p.m. off No. 1 on Friday; 8:29 a.m. off No. 10 on Thursday): McIlroy, who tied for eighth at the Wells Fargo Championship, missed the cut in his first three PLAYERS but tied for eighth last year. Rose, the reigning U.S. Open champ, has yet to post a top-10 at TPC Sawgrass but he has momentum after Sunday's tie for fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship. English won his second TOUR event earlier this year at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson (1:49 p.m. off No. 1 on Friday; 8:39 a.m. off No. 10 on Thursday): Mickelson is still looking for his first top-10 of the 2013-14 season but the 2007 PLAYERS champ showed signs of progress last week when he fired a 63 at the Wells Fargo Championship. Garcia, who won THE PLAYERS in 2008, has four top-10s on TOUR this season. Johnson has yet to post a top-25 finish at TPC Sawgrass but he has four top-10s, including a win at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, in the wrap-around season to date.