The Players Championship Preview, TV Times

An incredibly strong field will do battle for big money this week at TPC Sawgrass

players championship preview
(Image credit: Getty Images)

An extremely strong field has gathered in Ponte Vedra Beach this week to contest The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Webb Simpson defends and the world’s best will be out to claim victory.

The Players Championship Preview, TV Times

Webb Simpson defends The Players Championship but an incredible cast list has assembled to try to deny the American back-to-back victories.

Webb Simpson defends The Players Championship

Webb Simpson defends The Players Championship

Tiger Woods is back in action after withdrawing from the Arnold Palmer with a neck strain and he'll be joined in the field by Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and last week's winner Francesco Molinari.

There’s a huge prize fund this week: $12,500,000 (the highest prize fund of any tournament in golf) and the best will be looking to grab a share of it.

There are also big World Ranking points on offer this week. The winner will pick up 80 which, outside the Majors, is the biggest winner’s points total in any tournament. The champ also receives a five-year exemption to the PGA Tour and three-year invitations to each Major.

The list of winners of The Players Championship reads like a who’s who of elite golf through the last 40+ years. Jack Nicklaus won in 1974. Since then Lanny Wadkins, Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Fred Couples, Sandy Lyle, Tom Kite, Nick Price, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day have all taken the title.

Last season, Webb Simpson won by four shots and the American will be looking to become the first player ever to win back-to-back at Sawgrass.

This event has been contested over Sawgrass’ Stadium course since 1982. A Pete Dye design, originally dating from 1979, the layout was redesigned by Dye in 2006. It’s one of the most recognisable courses on the PGA Tour.

The tournament has shifted in the schedule this year back to March. For its first 33 editions the tournament was contested in mid-March but it moved to May in 2007. It’s back to March this year as the USPGA Championship has been shifted into May.

The weather forecast is for decent weather on Thursday and Friday with things turning decidedly cooler over the weekend.

Venue: TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida Date: Mar 14-17 Course stats: par 72, 7,189 yards Purse: $12,500,000 Defending champion: Webb Simpson (-18)

How to watch The Players Championship

TV Coverage: Thursday 14 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 5pm. Featured groups on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 11.30am Friday 15 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 5pm. Featured groups on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 11.30am Saturday 16 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 6pm Sunday 17 – Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm

Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch The Players Championship?

BUY NOW: Now TV Sky Sports Pass – £8.99 for a day, £14.99 for a week or £33.99 for a month

Players to watch:

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy – He can contend even when seemingly not at his best but he’s finished no worse than tied sixth in his last five starts on the PGA Tour. If he plays his very best, he will win.

Rickie Fowler – A former champ here in 2015, Fowler has won in 2019 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and was tied second at the Honda Classic.

Tommy Fleetwood – Tied third last week at Bay Hill shows Fleetwood is on his game – one bad round cost him there. He was tied for seventh at Sawgrass last year.

Key hole: 17th. One of the most famous holes in world golf, this 137-yard par 3 plays to an island green, totally surrounded by water. It may be no more than a 9-iron but, with a swirling wind and the pressures of a green or bust scenario, it’s one of the most intimidating challenges on the PGA Tour.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?