March 09, 2020 By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
Pete Dye's ability to construct something majestic out of the ordinary shaped the swampland outside of Jacksonville, Florida into what is now known as TPC Sawgrass, the birthplace of stadium golf and home of THE PLAYERS Championship.
THE PGA TOUR has announced the featured groups for the first two rounds of THE PLAYERS Championship to be held at TPC Sawgrass.
Fans will be treated to a showcase of the best players in the world, with defending PLAYERS Champion and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy to be joined by world No. 2 Jon Rahm and No. 3 Brooks Koepka. Other groupings include fan favorites and rising stars in the game.
Full groupings and starting times for the first two rounds of the TOUR’s flagship event will be released officially at approximately 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 10. While subscribers to PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold will have the unprecedented ability to watch every single shot shot of the tournament thanks to Every Shot Live, some marquee groupings will get special attention.
To watch the featured groupings on Thursday-Friday, fans in the United States can tune into the Golf Channel telecast (1-7 p.m. ET). In addition to PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold, you can stream on Amazon Prime Video Channels. Audio coverage is available on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio (Sirius 208, XM 92), and streams free via PGATOUR.COM, as well as the TOUR’s official iPhone, iPad and Android apps.
Here’s a closer look at the Featured Groups for THE PLAYERS Championship.
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka
Thursday: 1:51 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 8:46 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee)
Notable: McIlroy is the defending champion at TPC Sawgrass in addition to the current FedExCup champion and PGA TOUR Player of the Year. The Northern Irishman sits atop of the world rankings, with Rahm and Koepka his closest challengers. McIlroy has contended in every start this season, taking five straight top-five finishes into the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard, including a win at the World Golf Championships – HSBC Champions. Rahm has also been a serial contender, with four top-10s in five starts this season, including a runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open and a T3 at the recent World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship. Koepka, a three-time winner last season, continues his return from a knee injury looking to assert the dominance he has displayed in recent years.
Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff
Thursday: 1:18 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 8:13 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee)
Notable: The leaders of the youth movement on the PGA TOUR – all three have already won prior to their 23rd birthdays. Wolff won the 3M Open in just his third PGA TOUR start as a professional in July last year before Morikawa took the Barracuda Championship in just his sixth pro PGA TOUR start later that month. Hovland recently became the first Norwegian to win on the PGA TOUR with his triumph at the Puerto Rico Open.
Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Xander Schauffele
Thursday: 1:40 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 8:35 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee)
Notable: Scott is a former PLAYERS champions who recently cashed in for a victory on the West Coast swing at The Genesis Invitational. Rose is a former FedExCup champion and Olympic Gold Medalist. Schauffele is in just his third PLAYERS Championship, but the former PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year already has a runner-up finish at TPC Sawgrass to go with his four PGA TOUR wins.
Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson
Thursday: 8:35 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee); Friday: 1:40 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee)
Notable: Mickelson suits up for his 27th PLAYERS Championship looking to add to his 2007 victory, despite missing six of his last seven cuts at TPC Sawgrass. The veteran contended not long ago in his title defense at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and can never be discounted. Simpson won THE PLAYERS just two years ago and comes in with confidence from his Waste Management Phoenix Open win last month. With 20 PGA TOUR wins to his name, Johnson’s record at the PLAYERS was a bit of an enigma until he posted a fifth-place finish a year ago with the move back to March.
Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth
Thursday: 8:46 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee); Friday: 1:51 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee)
Notable: It arguably does not get more fun than this trio of friends. TPC Sawgrass is one venue where Fowler gets bragging rights over his buddies, having won THE PLAYERS in incredible fashion five years ago. A birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie finish in regulation to join a playoff that he would win after four extra holes goes down as possibly the best PLAYERS ever. The other two can lay each claim to a FedExCup title and major championship success. Thomas is now heading to his sixth PLAYERS, with a T3 in 2016 his best finish, while Spieth’s best at TPC Sawgrass remains his T4 from his debut in 2014, an effort he hasn’t come close to since with four missed cuts and a T41.
Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay
Thursday: 8:24 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee); Friday: 1:29 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee)
Notable: Matsuyama has his sights firmly set on being the first player from Japan to win THE PLAYERS Championship. With a couple of top-10s to his name already at TPC Sawgrass, it is a not a dream beyond the young man. Reed is riding confidence from his recent win at the World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship and hopes to leverage that into, at very least, his first top-20 at TPC Sawgrass. Cantlay has two career wins, one from each of the last two seasons, and has knocked on the door for another this season thanks a playoff loss at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas and a fourth place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Matt Kuchar, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia
Thursday: 1:29 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee); Friday: 8:24 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee)
Notable: A salute to former champions at TPC Sawgrass. Garcia collected the trophy in 2008 and has five additional top-10s at THE PLAYERS, including runner-up results in 2007 and 2015 and a third-place finish in 2014. Kuchar was the winner in 2012 and also ran third in 2016. Stenson, a former FedExCup champion, won THE PLAYERS in 2009, was third in 2006 and fifth in 2013.
Bryson DeChambeau, Sungjae Im, Gary Woodland
Thursday: 8:13 a.m. ET (No. 10 tee); Friday: 1:18 p.m. ET (No. 1 tee)
Notable: Im, the reigning the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, is coming off his first victory at last week's The Honda Classic. Woodland already has four top-10s this season and the experience of his U.S. Open victory last season in his back pocket. DeChambeau is trending towards adding to his trophy case after finishing runner-up at the World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship, his fourth top-15 result of the season.
Source: THE PGA TOUR