6 Takeaways From The 2024 Players Championship

What a week it was at TPC Sawgrass. Scheffler is king and Schauffele's time will come as we look at six takeaways from the 2024 Players Championship...

Wyndham Clark, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Players Championship was easily the best week of viewing we've seen so far in 2024.

From Rory McIlroy's dynamite start to the dropgate drama, Wyndham Clark and Xander Schauffele's stunning charges and then Scheffler's epic comeback title defense, it was box office viewing for golf fans.

The Players might have dropped down the pecking order from golf's unofficial fifth Major to 'just' the PGA Tour's top event, but the golf on show was of a supreme high quality and it showed us that when the PGA Tour gets it right, it can get by without its former star names who now play in the LIV Golf League.

So here are my takeaways from what was a fantastic 2024 Players Championship.

Scheffler is king

Scottie Scheffler holds the Players Championship trophy

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Despite almost pulling out with a neck injury, Scheffler somehow got it done against three world class players who were all playing near their top level. Schauffele, Clark and Harman will all have felt gutted after coming up one stroke shy - but the man who beat them is on another level right now.

Scottie has re-found his putting boots and seems to be able to rise to the occasion when it matters. He'll be favorite for every Major this year and for good reason. He's a ball striking machine, he remembers how to putt and he clearly has the mental strength to produce his best stuff when it's needed.

It's hard to believe he's only won one Major, and he'll be disappointed at the end of the year if he isn't at least a two-time Major champion.

It's time for him to keep his foot on the gas and start catching up the likes of Rahm, Thomas, Spieth, McIlroy and Koepka.

It felt like a Major

Xander Schauffele hits his tee shot on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass

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The Players Championship simply can't be considered a Major until it has all of the world's best in the field, but the grandstand finish really did give off Major vibes.

The 16th and 17th holes in particular have got to be some of the best two-hole stretches in professional golf, and the 18th isn't bad either. 

Schauffele clearly got nervous towards the end and the pressure and atmosphere really did feel like the pros were competing for something big.

If Scottie strolled it by five it might have been different, but with the finishing stretch and the players involved towards the end right around the lead it was far and away the best golf viewing since the Ryder Cup. 

It's got the course, the history, the prestige, the huge galleries and the prize money. It's missing just one thing right now  - the top LIV pros - before it basically is a Major.

I don't necessarily want the men's game to have five Majors but if The Players Championship gets it right and the golf world does eventually come back together, it's going to a Major in all-but name.

A much needed week for the PGA Tour

Jay Monahan holds his chin

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The PGA Tour has had a slow start to the year all the while Joaquin Niemann's stock has been rising on LIV Golf and Dustin Johnson also returned to form. TV ratings have been mixed up until this point, but it's likely that The Players knocked everything else out of the park - and it was much needed.

The tour has created a couple of stars from nowhere in Jake Knapp and Nick Dunlap so far this year, and there were some other good stories dotted in too, but it needed their big stars to rise to the top and Scheffler has done just that over the last two weeks.

Jay Monahan, who was booed at the trophy presentation, will be feeling very happy with what went down at Ponte Vedra Beach HQ.

Wyndham is clutch

Wyndham Clark raises his cap to spectators at TPC Sawgrass

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wyndham Clark didn't have anywhere near his best stuff on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass yet was a brutal lip-out away from taking an in-form Scheffler into extra holes.

We saw in Full Swing Season 2 how Clark had been working with psychologist Julie Elion to transform his mindset and career, and it's clear that the US Open champion is deserved of his no.4 ranking in the world. Based on these last two weeks, he's the second-best golfer on the planet right now and how he propelled himself back into the tournament on 16 and 17 was truly commendable.

Clark is certainly another who will be hoping to pick up more Majors this year.

Schauffele's time will surely come

Xander Schauffele walks off the course at the 2024 Players Championship

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Again, it seemed clear to me that Xander was feeling it late on. On a Thursday or Friday he holes that six-footer on 17 and finds the fairway on 18. If he can keep himself in the moment and freed up, he will surely start picking up Majors.

He looked like he was trying to steer the ball on his birdie effort on 17 and the tee shot up the last, but he once again has got some great experience under his belt.

The American has now made 41 consecutive cuts, nine more than Scheffler and Hovland in T2nd, and has jumped back up inside the world's top five. Data Golf has him as the world's second-best player right now and it really is only a matter of time before he breaks through.

Schauffele has two runners-up and a third-place in Majors, and he's still only 30. If he continues the way he's going, he's surely going to be a multiple Major champion in the not-too-distant future. He's too good not to be.

The big events need a cut

Jordan Spieth looks on during the Players Championship

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One of the reasons why an event is captivating comes from having a 36-hole cut. Friday afternoon viewing is always heightened when there are players fighting to make it through to the final two days, and we saw that again this week at TPC Sawgrass.

A number of big names missed the cut at the Players Championship and the tournament didn't suffer by not having them at the weekend. Instead it ensured that everyone playing on the final two rounds had fully earned their spots, and money, so the PGA Tour's decision to reduce field sizes and get rid of cuts in five of the Signature Events seems like it's the wrong one.

A big field is what we see in three of the four Majors and it gives the chance for the rank and file pros to have the week of their life, and the cut certainly adds an extra dimension to the tournament. Nobody was watching the action at TPC Sawgrass wishing the field was smaller or that every player received a pay check, that's just not part of the PGA Tour's tradition.

Cutting the Signature Event fields to 70 has clearly angered some of the pros who aren't in them, and it seems unfair. The Players is 'THE' Signature event as Lucas Glover said, and it's got a big field and a 36-hole cut. That needs to remain for all of the tour's regular season tournaments.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV