The 2019 PLAYERS Championship

Ross Houston
March 17, 2019

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most famous par 3s in the world, featuring an island green surrounded by water.

Fellow Australian Cameron Smith also has a lacklustre history at the Players despite the Ponte Vedra Beach resident using Sawgrass as his home base to practise and play.

The victor at TPC Sawgrass this week will take home $2.25m, the highest-ever winner's cheque in professional tournament golf, and Johnson says the event, which has been moved back to March for the first time since 2006, is already a major championship in many players' minds. If you sign up to a service by clicking one of the links, we may earn a referral fee. Plus, he's proven he has what it takes to compete at the Players Championship, finishing seventh or better in three of his last four starts at this event.

"The wind picked up and there were some tough holes there", he said.

The world's top 50 golfers, winners on the PGA Tour during the past year and the top 125 on the previous season's FedEx Cup point list are among those who qualify. "But I drove it so well I was always in a good position".

"The way I've been hitting the ball, I find the 17th a lot easier", Baddeley said.

McIlroy also finished second to Johnson at the WGC-Mexico Championship, continuing a steady run that has also featured a fourth-place performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a fifth-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open.

With a win this week, Woods would tie Jack Nicklaus for the most Players victories.

"Expectation's a tricky thing".

It should also serve a nice lead-in to the 2019 Masters, which is just one month away. However, I think I've nearly secured my card for next season, so it releases some stress a little bit and this will allow me to play my own game.

"If you're in the fairway the course feels very, very different". I'm working on my swing and there's a little process of getting the confidence back.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the morning was a 74 by world number two Justin Rose, who had a nightmare triple-bogey at his 10th hole, the par-four first.

After a 282 yard drive on the 523-yard par-5 16th, Taylor chipped his third shot to 6 feet, which he rolled for one-putt birdie on the hole.

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