Players Championship Preview 2020

Players Championship Preview 2020

Dates: March 9-15, 2020
Where: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Course: THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass
Defending champion: Rory McIlroy
Purse: $15,000,000 ($2,700,000/winner)
FedExCup: 600 points to the winner
Field size: 144
Format: 72-hole stroke play

Players Championship Preview HIghlights

  • World No. 1 Rory McIlroy seeks his first successful title defense on the PGA TOUR; no defending champion has ever won THE PLAYERS
  • McIlroy is on an active streak of seven consecutive top-fives, becoming only the second player to reach that mark since 2000
  • 110 players in the field have won on the PGA TOUR, the most of any tournament in the FedExCup era
  • Notable first-timers include the last three players to win in their first 20 career starts: Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff, Viktor Hovland

Players Championship Preview Notes on the Field

  • 110 PGA TOUR winners, is the most of any tournament in the FedExCup era (previous: 109, 2017 THE PLAYERS)
  • 122 players that qualified for the previous season’s FedExCup Playoffs, the most of any tournament in the FedExCup era; Tiger Woods, Kelly Kraft, and Jonas Blixt are all missing the event due to injury
  • All of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the first such field since the 2019 BMW Championship, and 47 of the top 50
  • 10 past PLAYERS winners: Adam Scott (2004), Phil Mickelson (2007), Sergio Garcia (2008), Henrik Stenson (2009), Matt Kuchar (2012), Rickie Fowler (2015), Jason Day (2016), Si Woo Kim (2017), Webb Simpson (2018) and Rory McIlroy (2019)
  • Eight of 11 FedExCup champions: Jim Furyk (2010), Brandt Snedeker (2012), Henrik Stenson (2013), Billy Horschel (2014), Jordan Spieth (2015), Rory McIlroy (2016, 2019), Justin Thomas (2017), Justin Rose (2018)

A look back at THE PLAYERS Championship 2019

Pos. Player R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1 Rory McIlroy 67 65 70 70 272 (-16)
2 Jim Furyk 71 64 71 67 273 (-15)
T3 Eddie Pepperell 72 68 68 66 274 (-14)
T3 Jhonattan Vegas 72 69 67 66 274 (-14)
  • Rory McIlroy won his first of three titles during the 2018-19 season en route to winning the FedExCup and PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors
  • Became the first player to win THE PLAYERS and the FedExCup in the same season
  • Became the third player to win THE PLAYERS, a major championship, a World Golf Championships event and the FedExCup in his career (joining Tiger Woods and Henrik Stenson)
  • Marked his third victory at a Pete Dye-designed course, including The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (2012 PGA Championship) and Crooked Stick Golf Club (2012 BMW Championship)
  • Dustin Johnson, who recorded his first top-10 in the event (T5), became the first player since Steve Elkington in 1997 to record all four rounds in the 60s at THE PLAYERS

THE PLAYERS Championship and the FedExCup

  • 23rd official FedExCup event in the 2019-20 season
  • 11 of the 13 winners of the event have advanced to the season-ending TOUR Championship in the FedExCup era (Henrik Stenson/2009, Si Woo Kim/2017 did not)
  • In 2019, Rory McIlroy became the first player to win THE PLAYERS and go on to win the FedExCup in the same season

Current FedExCup standings

  • The top 10 in the FedExCup at the conclusion of the PGA TOUR Regular Season will be recognized through the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 program and be well-positioned entering the FedExCup Playoffs
  • With the winner of THE PLAYERS receiving 600 FedExCup points, each player currently in the top 10 is within reach of the No. 1 position this week
  • Sungjae Im holds the lead for the first time, becoming the third-youngest player to take over the FedExCup lead (21 years, 344 days)
Pos. Player Points Wins Top-10s Pts. Behind Starts Projected Bonus
1 Sungjae Im 1,458 1 5 14 $2 million
2 Justin Thomas 1,403 2 5 55 8 $1.5 million
3 Rory McIlroy 1,179 1 6 279 6 $1.2 million
4 Brendon Todd 1,110 2 3 348 14 $1.1 million
5 Webb Simpson 1,083 1 4 375 5 $1 million
6 Patrick Reed 1,077 1 4 381 8 $850,000
7 Marc Leishman 1,059 1 3 399 9 $700,000
8 Lanto Griffin 1,026 1 3 432 16 $600,000
9 Sebastián Muñoz 1,006 1 3 452 15 $550,000
10 Hideki Matsuyama 869 0 4 589 11 $500,000

Defending champion and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy

  • No player has ever won THE PLAYERS back-to-back
  • McIlroy has never successfully defended a PGA TOUR title (0-for-11; did not defend three of 14 titles won prior to 2019 THE PLAYERS Championship)
Tournament Result
2020 THE PLAYERS Championship TBD
2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard T6
2017 TOUR Championship Did not qualify
2017 Dell Technologies Championship MC
2016 Wells Fargo Championship T4
2016 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play 4th
2015 PGA Championship 17th
2015 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational DNP
2015 The Open Championship DNP
2013 BMW Championship T59
2013 Deutsche Bank Championship T47
2013 PGA Championship T8
2013 The Honda Classic WD
2012 U.S. Open MC
2011 Wells Fargo Championship MC
  • McIlroy has multiple wins at four different PGA TOUR events
Tournament Years
TOUR Championship 2016, 2019
Deutsche Bank Championship 2012, 2016
Wells Fargo Championship 2010, 2015
PGA Championship 2012, 2014
  • McIlroy holds the No. 1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking for the 100th week, becoming the third player in history (est. 1986) to reach that mark (Tiger Woods/683, Greg Norman/331)
  • McIlroy has five wins when entering the week No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking: 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship, 2012 BMW Championship, 2014 PGA Championship, 2015 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, 2015 Wells Fargo Championship
  • Last World No. 1 to win THE PLAYERS: Jason Day (2016)
  • Last World No. 1 to win on TOUR: Brooks Koepka (2019 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational)
  • McIlroy is No. 3 in the FedExCup standings with one win (WGC-HSBC Champions) and five top-10s in six starts
  • McIlroy leads the PGA TOUR in the following statistical categories:
Statistic Value
Scoring Average 68.437
Par-5 Scoring Average 4.40
Scrambling 70.40%
Top-10s 6
  • With a T5 at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, McIlroy became the second player since 2000 with top-fives in seven or more consecutive starts on TOUR (Tiger Woods holds the longest streak in that span at 14)
Tournament Finish
2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard T5
2020 WGC-Mexico Championship 5th
2020 The Genesis Invitational T5
2020 Farmers Insurance Open T3
2019 WGC-HSBC Champions Win
2019 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP T3
2019 TOUR Championship Win

Jon Rahm (FedExCup No. 21, World No. 2)

  • Making fourth start at THE PLAYERS (T72/2017, T63/2018, T12/2019)
  • Held the 54-hole lead in 2019, the first of his PGA TOUR career, before closing with a 4-over 76
  • Three-time PGA TOUR winner (2017 Farmers Insurance Open, 2018 The American Express, 2019 Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Ryan Palmer)
  • Four top-10s in five starts during the 2019-20 season, highlighted by a runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open and T3 at the WGC-Mexico Championship

Brooks Koepka (FedExCup No. 213, World No. 3)

  • Limited to five starts to date during the 2019-20 season due to knee injury (withdrew from THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES on October 18 and did not return until The Genesis Invitational in February)
  • Seven-time PGA TOUR winner and four-time major champion (2017 U.S. Open, 2018 U.S. Open, 2018 PGA Championship, 2019 PGA Championship)
  • Tied the course record at TPC Sawgrass with a final-round 63 in 2018
  • Best finish in five starts at the event: T11/2018

Justin Thomas (FedExCup No. 2, World No. 4)

  • One of two players with multiple wins during the 2019-20 season (THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, Sentry Tournament of Champions), along with Brendon Todd
  • One top-10 in five starts at the event (T3/2016)
  • Can become the fourth player to win THE PLAYERS, the FedExCup, a major championship and a World Golf Championships event (Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy); Justin Rose can as well
  • 49 career top-10s on the PGA TOUR

Dustin Johnson (FedExCup No. 111, World No. 5)

  • Two top-10s in four starts during the 2019-20 season (T7/Sentry Tournament of Champions, T10/The Genesis Invitational)
  • In 2019, became the first player since Steve Elkington in 1997 to record all four rounds in the 60s at THE PLAYERS (69-68-69-69)
  • T5 in 2019 marked his first top-10 in 11 starts at the event
  • 20-time PGA TOUR winner (tied for 34th all-time)
  • In search of first victory of the season; active streak of wins in 12 straight seasons to start his career is the fourth- longest of all-time (17/Jack Nicklaus, 17/Arnold Palmer, 14/Tiger Woods)

FedExCup leader Sungjae Im (World No. 23)

  • Took over the FedExCup lead after a third-place result at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
  • At age 21 years, 344 days, is the third player to hold the FedExCup lead before turning 22 and the second this season (youngest: Joaquin Niemann/after 2019 A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier; second-youngest: Jordan Spieth/after 2015 Masters Tournament)
  • Won his first PGA TOUR title at The Honda Classic two weeks ago
  • Top-three results on TOUR this season (4): Won/The Honda Classic, P2/Sanderson Farms Championship, 3rd/Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, T3/ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
  • Missed the cut in his debut at THE PLAYERS in 2019; made a hole-in-one at the par-3 13th (R2)

Notable players making first start at THE PLAYERS

  • Collin Morikawa, who has not missed a cut in 20 starts as a professional, holds the TOUR’s longest active made- cuts streak (21) and second-longest made-cuts streak to start a professional career since 1990 (longest: Tiger Woods/25)
  • Viktor Hovland became the first PGA TOUR winner from Norway and the first rookie to win in 2019-20 when he won the 2020 Puerto Rico Open
  • Matthew Wolff, a teammate of Hovland’s at Oklahoma State, won the 2019 3M Open in just his fourth career start at age 20 to become the PGA TOUR’s youngest winner since Jordan Spieth at the 2013 John Deere Classic

Balls in the water at No. 17 (since 2003)

Year R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
2019 14 6 8 17 45
2018 24 21 6 3 54
2017 19 29 10 11 69
2016 6 9 17 4 36
2015 21 16 3 5 45
2014 12 12 1 3 28
2013 15 9 7 13 44
2012 18 11 4 6 39
2011 12 14 8 6 40
2010 7 8 5 9 29
2009 16 6 4 6 32
2008 20 18 10 16 64
2007 50 21 10 12 93
2006 19 17 12 9 57
2005 7 8 25 28 68
2004 9 10 4 7 30
2003 6 10 3 10 29
Average 16.18 13.24 8.06 9.71 47.18

Tournament records

  • Lowest 18-hole score: 63 (eight times; most recent: Brooks Koepka/R4, 2018)
  • Lowest 36-hole score: 129 (Jason Day/2016, Webb Simpson/2018)
  • Lowest 54-hole score: 197 (Greg Norman/1994, Webb Simpson/2018)
  • Lowest 72-hole score: 264 (Greg Norman/1994)
  • Largest margin of victory: 7 strokes (Steve Elkington/1997)
  • Playoffs: 5 (most recent: Rickie Fowler def. Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner, 2015)
  • Best come-from-behind win: 6 strokes (Raymond Floyd/1981)
  • Youngest winner: Si Woo Kim, 2017 (21 years, 10 months, 16 days)
  • Oldest winner: Fred Funk, 2005 (48 years, 9 months,
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