The Players Championship Preview 2023

The Players Championship Preview 2023

  • March 6-12
  • Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
  • TPC Sawgrass • Par 72 • 7,275 yds.
  • Purse $25 million • Winner $4.5 million + 600 FedExCup pts.
  • 144 players • 72-hole stroke-play
  • 2022 champion Cameron Smith

TV Times

ESPN+GolfNBC
R16:45 a.m.-6 p.m.12-6 p.m.
R26:45 a.m.-6 p.m.12-6 p.m.
R37:45 a.m.-6 p.m1-6 p.m
R47:45 a.m.-6 p.m1-6 p.m

THE PLAYERS Championship is the first of five events during the 2022-23 season offering 600 FedExCup points to the winner, along with the four major championships. The field includes 44 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and 29 of the top 30 players in the FedExCup standings.

This is the 49th playing of THE PLAYERS Championship and 41st since the tournament moved to TPC Sawgrass in 1982. The purse is $25 million and the winner’s share of $4.5 million are the largest in PGA TOUR history.

Jon Rahm

With three wins this season (Sentry Tournament of Champions, The American Express, The Genesis Invitational), Jon Rahm currently holds the No. 1 position in both the FedExCup standings and the Official World Golf Ranking. He is the third player (fourth instance) to enter THE PLAYERS as the FedExCup leader and World No. 1 (second consecutive year competing at THE PLAYERS as World No. 1). Rahm has one top-10 (T9/2021) and has not missed the cut in five previous starts at THE PLAYERS.

Rahm is the first player since Johnny Miller in 1975 to win three times in a calendar year before March 1. The last player to win four times before April 1 was also Miller, in 1974. Rahm opened the season with six consecutive top-10s and snapped the streak with a T39 at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, his worst finish on TOUR since the 2022 Genesis Scottish Open (T55). He leads the PGA TOUR in several statistical categories, including Scoring Average (68.855), Birdie Average (5.32), Par-3 Scoring Average (2.82) and top-10 finishes (6)

Scottie Scheffler

Reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler is making his third start at THE PLAYERS Championship (MC/2021, T55/2022). Scheffler successfully defended his title at the WM Phoenix Open in February and finished T4 in his second attempt to do so at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Scheffler will also be the defending champion at two tournaments in the four weeks following THE PLAYERS (WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Masters Tournament). Scheffler leads the PGA TOUR in Greens in Regulation Percentage (73.61%), which he led for the 2021-22 season (72.29%).

Rory McIlroy

2019 winner and reigning FedExCup Champion Rory McIlroy finished runner-up at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, his second top-two result in four starts this season (Won/THE CJ CUP in South Carolina). McIlroy made his tournament debut in 2009 (MC), which was his eighth career start on the PGA TOUR, and has four top-10s in 12 starts at the event.

World No. 1

For the fourth time in the last five weeks, the No. 2 and No. 3 players are contending for the No. 1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking. Both Scheffler and McIlroy, who have previously held the World No. 1 position this season, have a chance to return to No. 1 (scenarios TBD).

Recent World No. 1 Timeline

March 27, 2022 Scottie Scheffler wins WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, moves to No. 1
October 23, 2022 (30 weeks later)Rory McIlroy wins THE CJ CUP in South Carolina, moves to No. 1
February 12, 2023 (16 weeks later)Scottie Scheffler wins the WM Phoenix Open, moves to No. 1
February 19, 2023 (1 week later)Jon Rahm wins The Genesis Invitational, moves to No. 1

2021 FedExCup Champion Patrick Cantlay has finished in the top five in each of his last two starts and is the onlyplayer to do so at the last two designated events (The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational). Cantlay hasmissed the cut in each of the last three PLAYERS Championships and has not finished better than T22 (2017).

World No. 6 Xander Schauffele, who won three times on TOUR during the 2021-22 season, finished T2 at the 2018 PLAYERS Championship but has missed the cut in each of his three appearances since.

Max Homa, one of two players with multiple titles on TOUR this season (along with Jon Rahm), is making his third start at THE PLAYERS and is coming off a T13 in 2022.

2021 PLAYERS Championship winner Justin Thomas holds a scoring average of 70.48 at THE PLAYERS, the lowest of any player with a minimum of 15 rounds played on record (1983-present). With a win, Thomas would become the seventh player to win multiple titles at THE PLAYERS and first to accomplish the feat since Tiger Woods in 2013. Thomas is the only player that won on the PGA TOUR in each season from 2015-16 through 2021-22 and can extend his streak to eight seasons with a win at THE PLAYERS.

Most PLAYERS Championship victories (*not held at TPC Sawgrass)

  • 3 Jack Nicklaus 1974*, 1976*, 1978*
  • 2 Tiger Woods 2001, 2013
  • 2 Davis Love III 1992, 2003
  • 2 Hal Sutton 1983, 2000
  • 2 Steve Elkington 1991, 1997
  • 2 Fred Couples 1984, 1996

Debuts

Both players who won on the PGA TOUR last week are making their PLAYERS Championship debut: Kurt Kitayama (Arnold Palmer Invitational) and Nico Echavarria (Puerto Rico Open).

Three players have won the week before THE PLAYERS and won THE PLAYERS: Raymond Floyd (1981), Tom Kite (1989) and Tiger Woods (2001).

Including Kitayama (No. 19), there are four players in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking making their tournament debut at THE PLAYERS Championship (others: No. 17 Tom Kim, No. 32 Ryan Fox, No. 50 Min Woo Lee).

Returns

Harris English finished runner-up at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and is making his first start at THE PLAYERS since 2019.

English has missed the cut in his last six appearances at TPC Sawgrass and most recently made the cut in 2013 (T33).

Doug Ghim has been T3 or better through 54 holes three times in his PGA TOUR career, including the last two years at THE PLAYERS Championship (T3/2021, T2/2022). He went on to finish T6 in 2022 (T29/2021).

Strength of Field

CategoryNumberNotes
Top 10 FedExCup10Jon Rahm (1)
Top 30 FedExCup29Jon Rahm (1)
Top 10 OWGR9Jon Rahm (1)
Top 50 OWGR44
PGA TOUR winners90Rory McIlroy (23)
Past Champions8Most Recent: Justin Thomas (2021)
FedExCup Champions6Most Recent: Rory McIlroy (2021)
Players winners8Most Recent: Justin Thomas (2021)
Major Winners19Rory McIlroy (4)

Tournament Records

CategoryValuePlayerYear
Low 18-hole score639 players; most recent: Dustin Johnson2022 (R4)
Low 36-hole score1292 players; most recent: Webb Simpson2018
Low 54-hole score1972 players; most recent: Webb Simpson2018
Low 72-hole score264Greg Norman1994
Holes-in-one (1983-present)35Most recent: Shane Lowry, Viktor Hovland2022 (R3)
Largest 18-hole lead32 players; most recent: Roberto Castro2013
Largest 36-hole lead5Webb Simpson2018
Largest 54-hole lead7Webb Simpson2018
Best come-from-behind win6Raymond Floyd1981
Largest margin of victory7Steve Elkington1997
Playoffs5Most recent: Rickie Fowler def. Sergio Garcia, Kevin Kisner2015
Wire-to-wire winners5Most recent: Jason Day2016

The Players Championship Preview 2023 is via PGA TOUR


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