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12 Mar 2019 by Sam Vickers

The 2019 Players Championship Preview & Prediction

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THE FACTS

When is the 2019 Players Championship? Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th of March, 2019

Where is the 2019 Players Championship? TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA

What is the total prize fund of the 2019 Players Championship? $12,500,000

What television channel can I watch the 2019 Players Championship on in the UK? Sky Sports Golf

Where can I stream the 2019 Players Championship in the UK? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the tournament online via Sky Go

Where can I get tickets for the 2019 Players Championship? https://www.theplayers.com/tic...

What is the course yardage at the 2019 Players Championship? 7,189 yards (6,574 m)

What is the par at the 2019 Players Championship? 72

What is the predicted weather for the 2019 Players Championship?

THE HISTORY

The unofficial ‘fifth major’ returns to the March schedule for the first time since 2007 due to the PGA Championship’s rearrangement to May and has now become the largest purse in professional golf. The field includes the world’s top 50 players (those that commit) and is regarded as the strongest line-up in world golf around one of the games’ finest course designs – Pete Dye’s TPC Sawgrass; a course made for spectators.

For one of the biggest tournaments of the season, scoring around TPC Sawgrass in the last ten editions has been relatively low, with an average winning score of 14 under par. In the tournament’s history, there have only been five playoffs, suggesting that those in contention will require some luck around the notoriously difficult and sometimes unfair TPC Sawgrass, otherwise the leader could easily pull away from the field as has happened in the past.

The Players is one of the most difficult tournaments to contend around consistently – further evidence that Pete Dye’s design does not suit one style of golf – with only six players in history to have won twice or more. The most recent multiple winner is Tiger Woods who recorded his second victory in 2013 and will be looking to join the only other player on three wins in Jack Nicklaus.

THE FAVOURITES

Adam Scott

The Australian has started 2019 in good form, putting himself in contention twice to end his two-year winless drought. However, his last outing at The Honda Classic – a tournament that he has performed strongly in over the years – resulted in a MC, yet this could have given him the extra preparation time required for this week. With an average finishing result here of 21st since 2012 and only finishing outside the top 20 twice in that time, everything points towards Scott being in contention again this week.

Rory McIlroy

Once again, the Northern Irishman was in the final pairing at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. A final round 72 wasn’t quite what he was looking for, nonetheless he did not play badly in the final round in tough conditions, finishing the week in T6, his worst result of 2019 so far. With an average finishing result of 25th around TPC Sawgrass (three straight top-tens between 2012 & 2015), his game is in perfect shape to finally break his winless drought.

Tiger Woods

The American had to pull out last minute of the Arnold Palmer Invitational due to a neck injury, however he has since confirmed his recovery and is fully-fit to try and claim his third Players title. Like so many tournaments in recent years, Woods has missed the majority but a T11 here last year and a victory just two starts before that (2013) shows this really is a layout that suits his game. The conservative approach that he adopted in Mexico could be a tactic he applies this week as he led SG: approach-the-green, demonstrating he has every chance of making history this week.

THE OUTSIDERS

Tommy Fleetwood

A third round 76 at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational was the only thing preventing the Englishman from his maiden PGA Tour title as he finished T3, just three strokes behind the winner. With an average finish of 24th so far in 2019, having improved his final position during each tournament, this suggests Fleetwood is close to a breakthrough. His accuracy tee-to-green is ideal around TPC Sawgrass and a T7 finish here last year proposes he has a plan that could see him become the second English winner in the States this year.

Rafa Cabrera Bello

The Spaniard is having one of his most consistent seasons to date, having finished inside the top 25 in each of his four starts this year, including a T3 last week. With a T4 in 2017 around TPC Sawgrass followed by a T17, this is a course that suits Rafa’s game and if you factor in the kind of form that he currently holds, this could see him be in contention once again. Being ranked sixth in SG: putting so far this year suggests if he has a strong week tee-to-green, he could be adding a PGA Tour crown to his three European Tour titles.

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