As the “fifth major,” the PLAYERS field is about as star-studded as it gets, including 48 of the world top-50 players.
The elite golfers teeing it up this week at TPC Sawgrass will be vying for a career-defining win, as well as a big payday worth $1,890,000.
With that, let’s get on to the power picks for one of the most exciting tournaments of the season, THE PLAYERS Championship.
World. No. 1 Dustin Johnson returned to competition last week at the Wells Fargo Championship, following a freak injury which forced him to withdraw from the Masters.
- With an impressive T2 finish at the Wells Fargo, highlighted by a pair of 67s on the weekend, Johnson’s last five starts are: 3, 1, 1, 1, T2.
- Johnson’s tournament history at THE PLAYERS includes just one top-30 finish in eight starts – a T28 last year.
- Johnson’s only sub-70 opening round at the Stadium Course is a 4-under 68 in 2014 (T59).
- Last year’s final-round 68 matched his low round in 26 total rounds at this event.
- OWGR: No. 1
THE PLAYERS will be Rory McIlroy’s sixth start of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.
- McIlroy’s T30 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was his only finish outside the top-10.
- McIlroy will make his eighth appearance at THE PLAYERS.
- After missing the cut in his first three starts at TPC Sawgrass, McIlroy posted three consecutive top 10s in his next three starts (T8-2013, T6-2014, T8-2015).
- A T12 last year included a second-round 8-under 64, his lowest 18-hole score at TPC Sawgrass.
- OWGR: No. 2
With his 9th career win at the 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Jordan Spieth is tied with Jason Day and Dustin Johnson for most victories since the start of the 2013 PGA TOUR season.
- Spieth is the second-youngest player since World War II to win nine times on the PGA TOUR: 1.) Tiger Woods 2.) Spieth 3.) Jack Nicklaus
- In 10 starts this season, Spieth has finished inside the top 10 five times.
- Spieth makes his fourth appearance at THE PLAYERS following two missed cuts after a T4 in his tournament debut in 2014.
- Spieth finished T2 in the Junior PLAYERS at TPC Sawgrass in 2010.
- OWGR: No. 5
Former PLAYERS champion Sergio Garcia mkes his first tournament start since his dramatic win at the Masters Tournament.
- The last two Masters winners have missed the cut at THE PLAYERS the month after their major title win (Danny Willett/2016, Jordan Spieth/2015).
- Garcia owns the longest active-cuts-made streak at THE PLAYERS with 13 in a row, dating to a T53 finish in 2004.
- In 17 previous starts at THE PLAYERS, Garcia has a victory (2008) and five additional top-10 finishes in 2002 (T4), 2007 (2), 2013 (T8), 2014 (3) and 2015 (T2).
- Garcia is seeking to become the seventh player to win THE PLAYERS more than once.
- With $5,253,948, Garcia has earned the most money of any player at THE PLAYERS Championship.
- OWGR: No. 6
In seven starts at THE PLAYERS, Rickie Fowler has finished 1st (2015), T2 (2012), T77 (2014), and missed four cuts.
- During his victory in 2015 Fowler played the 17th hole six times including the two playoff holes and recorded five birdies on those six attempts.
- Fowler played the final four holes on Sunday in 2015 to birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to force the playoff, the best finishing stretch over those holes in tournament history.
- In 2015, Fowler was the 29th player from the United States to win the event, and the most recent American winner at TPC Sawgrass.
- Fowler won The Honda Classic earlier this season for his fourth career PGA TOUR title.
- OWGR: No. 9
Credit: PGA Tour