Rory McIlroy won The Players in 2019 but missed the cut in last year’s title defense at TPC Sawgrass; Watch round-the-clock coverage of the PGA Tour’s flagship event live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Players Championship channel
Last update: 03/22/09 8:30 p.m.
Open champion Collin Morikawa says competitors treat the Players Championship like golf’s fifth major and that players “breathe differently” when they show up at TPC Sawgrass.
Brad Faxon backed Rory McIlroy to bounce back from his disappointment at Bay Hill and tap into the memories of his past success at Sawgrass to impress the players.
McIlroy has posted top-20 finishes in all world events since August, but squandered the chance for a first win of the year at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, carding consecutive innings of 76 in the over the weekend to slip away.
The four-time Major winner also struggled in the delayed defense of his 2019 Players Championship title last March, missing the cut from wide range and encountering issues with his swing, although Faxon believes McIlroy’s game is in better shape for challenge for a second TPC Sawgrass Title.
Nick Dougherty and Rich Beem discuss which European players could be in contention to win The Players at TPC Sawgrass this week, with three of the top 10 in the world being European.
“He got off to a great start at Bay Hill last week to follow a top 10 at Riviera, but top 10s aren’t enough for McIlroy,” Faxon told Sky Sports. “In his mind, he played the worst tournament ever last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and still finished tied for 13th!
“I know he can bring back fond memories of his 2019 win at Sawgrass, with how well he hit the ball and rolled well that week. He also has the two wins from last year, which were won differently from how he usually wins.
2019 Players Champion Rory McIlroy says he feels more comfortable this year after missing the cut after shooting 79 in the final round of the competition.
“Last year’s titles were both won with great putting, great short game and great attitude and mindset, which is exactly what you’ll need here. no player that’s going to hit it on every green and two putts apiece, you’re going to have to hit some shots that might be scary to make, so I think that can help McIlroy.
“A lot of his consistency has to do with returning to his former coach, Michael Bannon, who is someone he really shared everything in his life with, on and off the course. McIlroy has had some great weeks of putt and he’s a lot more confident in his putt, which is technically as solid as I’ve ever seen.”
PGA Tour players reminisce about 40 years of the tour’s flagship event held at the iconic TPC Sawgrass.
Prediction to favor experience?
Widespread rain and the threat of thunderstorms dominate the forecast for the first two rounds, with rain expected to continue Saturday and bring winds of up to 30 miles per hour.
Sky Sports Golf’s Rich Beem explains the challenges of the infamous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. So how will current players fare this week at The Players?
The cold, wet and windy weather will bring additional challenges to an already demanding TPC Sawgrass, with the tournament potentially experiencing its first weather shutdowns since the second-round disruption in 2016.
“The forecast for the next three days is dreadful, so there are going to be delays and slow play,” admitted Faxon. “It’s very likely that the players won’t finish their game every day because there isn’t much daylight here.
Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas discuss the impact bad weather could have on this week’s Players Championship.
“Course conditions earlier this week weren’t very firm to start with and coming out of Bay Hill where it was so fast, firm and windy, it will be a big adjustment for players to hit a shot that lands on the green and stop immediately, then later in the week they may have to spin the ball too much.
“I asked a few players how the rough compared to last week at Bay Hill, which was incredibly difficult, and they said it was just as difficult. If players miss the fairway, they will really struggle to put the ball. the green.
The Live Players Championship
March 10, 2022, 11:30 a.m.
“Predictions can be beneficial for players who have played here a few times, where they have seen the wind blow in a different direction, because they will know that it can completely change the game plan and how they have to deal with it.”
The race for world No. 1 heats up at Sawgrass
Scottie Scheffler explains why so many young players now dominate men’s football.
Jon Rahm starts the week at the top of the world rankings, a position he has held since July, although Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler could all move the Spaniard to the top spot in the world.
“If you went back 10-15 years ago, it was always Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson in contention every week, but now you have a dozen players in their twenties who could win almost any tournament,” Faxon added.
The Live Players Championship
March 10, 2022, 4:00 p.m.
“The two players you’ll see in the rankings on Sunday, in my opinion, are Patrick Cantlay – who’s an assassin when he gets near the head – and Hovland. I like Hovland’s self-mockery, especially when he talks of his chipping and pitching where he is almost the last dead!
“Hovland and Collin Morikawa have very similar games – they like to cut the ball and they never seem to miss the left fairway. They are both very good with their putters and extremely confident when vying or chasing . “
Watch the players throughout the week live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Players Championship channel. Live coverage of the opening round begins Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports The Players.