The Players takes center stage

Field Level Media’s Golf Glance provides weekly news and storylines from each of the major North American golf tours.


Webb Simpson
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

LAST TOURNAMENT: Arnold Palmer Invitational (Francesco Molinari)
THIS WEEK: The Players Championship, March 14-17
TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra, Fla. (Par 72, 7,189 yards)
Purse: $12.5 million (Winner: $2.25 million and 600 FedEx Cup points)
Defending champion: Webb Simpson
FedEx Cup leader: Xander Schauffele
Television: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, 2-7 p.m. ET (NBC); Sunday, 1-6 p.m. ET (NBC).
The event moves back to March after being played in May since 2007. The field features the top 50 players in the world golf rankings and the top 50 players in the FedEx Cup entering the week. … There has never been a defending champion at The Players and more defending champions have missed the cut (seven) than posted a top-10 finish (five). The last to do so was Adam Scott (T-8, 2005). … Tiger Woods is the only player to win the event in both March and May (2001, 2013). He is paired in the first two rounds with Simpson and Patrick Reed. … Only 24 players in the 144-player field have competed at TPC Sawgrass in March, and Scott is the only other one to win the event in March. … Jack Nicklaus holds the record with three Players victories. … Brooks Koepka has never posted a top-10 in the event, while Jordan Spieth has three missed cuts in five tries. Koepka did tie the course record with a final-round 63 last year. … Four Tour rookies are in the field: Cameron Champ, Sungjae Im, Adam Long, Martin Trainer. … Since 1995, the scoring average in March is 73.40 compared to 72.48 in May. … Fifty-four balls found the water last year at the par-3 17th hole featuring an island green, down from 69 in 2017. Kyle Stanley last year became just the second player (Paul Azinger, 1987) to birdie the 17th hole in all four rounds.
NEXT WEEK: Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor, Fla.


LAST TOURNAMENT: HSBC Women’s World Championship (Sung Hyun Park)
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Phoenix, March 21-24


LAST TOURNAMENT: Hoag Classic (Kirk Triplett)
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Rapiscan Systems Classic, Biloxi, Miss., March 29-31
–By Derek Harper (@DerekAHarper), Field Level Media

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