The Players 2024: Preview

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler could become the first ever back-to-back winner at The Players as golf’s ‘fifth Major’ tees off at TPC Sawgrass. Here’s everything you need to know.

The American won this event by five shots in 2023, and fresh off the back of winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, also by five shots, he’ll start as clear favorite.

The only weakness the 27-year-old traditionally has is his putting, but armed with his new mallet he ranked fifth last week in Strokes Gained: Putting, finishing in the top five of this metric for just the third time in his career.


The 2022 champion Cameron Smith didn’t defend his title in 2023 following his move to LIV Golf, and the 2021 winner, Justin Thomas, finished 33rd in 2022. When Adam Scott finished eighth in 2005 it was the last time a defending champion finished inside the top-15.

Scheffler will also attempt to become only the seventh golfer to win The Players twice. Rory McIlroy, champion in 2019, could also be crowned a double winner.

No LIV golfers

LIV Golf players are banned from PGA Tour events, with this also applying to The Players. This means a number of former champions will not be eligible. As well as Smith, Martin Kaymer (2014), Henrik Stenson (2009), Sergio Garcia (2008) and Phil Mickelson (2007) will be absent.

phil mick

Jon Rahm will also not feature along with Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and last year’s runner-up Tyrrell Hatton.

Golf’s ‘fifth major’

The Players Championship is widely considered to be golf’s fifth Major in all but name. Inaugurated in 1974 as the Tournament Players Championship, 2024 will be the 50th edition. It’s now the PGA Tour‘s flagship event, played at the same venue each year, TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

The quality of the field has traditionally been the strongest of the year, though that is now arguable due to the LIV Golf big name absentees, who are allowed to play at the Majors.

the players

For this year’s Players, the world’s top 50 in the world rankings compete, providing they’re eligible to play on the PGA Tour, along with major champions from the past five years, plus winners in the last three years of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Genesis Invitational, The Memorial and any World Golf Championship events.

Winners of PGA Tour events over the past year and the top 10 in the FedExCup standings at the conclusion of the Cognizant Classic also get to feature.

2024 field

As well as Scheffler and McIlroy, the other world top 10 players competing among the 144-man field are Viktor Hovland, Wyndham Clark, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Brian Harman and Ludvig Aberg. Other big names include Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Fitzpatrick and Jason Day, who won the trophy eight years ago.

Who are the favorites?

the players

Scheffler enters this week as favourite followed by McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay and Will Zalatoris.

When does it start?

Thursday, March 14-17

Is Tiger playing?

Two-time winner Tiger Woods (2001, 2013) qualifies as a major winner in the past five years, with the 2024 Players the last where Woods gets an exemption for his win at The Masters in 2019. But he has chosen not to play. He last played at the Genesis Invitational in February, where he withdrew six holes into his second round citing illness.


Pairings to look out for

Scheffler begins title defence alongside Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler; McIlroy plays alongside FedExCup champion Viktor Hovland and Jordan Spieth for first two rounds.

Thursday and Friday tee times

Round 1: First tee, Round 2: 10th tee

7:40 a.m., 12:45 p.m.: Ryan Moore, Chesson Hadley, Zac Blair
7:51 a.m., 12:56 p.m.: Brandon Wu, Ben Taylor, Carson Young
8:02 a.m., 1:07 p.m.: Alex Noren, Thomas Detry, Joseph Bramlett
8:13 a.m., 1:18 p.m.: Camilo Villegas, Lee Hodges, Tom Hoge
8:24 a.m., 1:29 p.m.: Kurt Kitayama, Chad Ramey, Adam Schenk
8:35 a.m., 1:40 p.m.: Vincent Norrman, Sepp Straka, Chez Reavie
8:46 a.m., 1:51 p.m.: Brice Garnett, Russell Henley, Steve Stricker
8:57 a.m., 2:02 p.m.: Emiliano Grillo, Taylor Moore, Scott Stallings
9:08 a.m., 2:13 p.m.: Billy Horschel, Sungjae Im, Webb Simpson
9:19 a.m., 2:24 p.m.: Keegan Bradley, K.H. Lee, Adam Hadwin
9:30 a.m., 2:35 p.m.: David Lipsky, Justin Lower, Tyson Alexander
9:41 a.m., 2:46 p.m.: Robert MacIntyre, Ben Silverman, Ryo Hisatsune

Round 1: 10th tee, Round 2: First tee

7:40 a.m., 12:45 p.m.: Troy Merritt, Taylor Pendrith, Taylor Montgomery
7:51 a.m., 12:56 p.m.: Michael Kim, Aaron Rai, Carl Yuan
8:02 a.m., 1:07 p.m.: Joel Dahmen, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Min Woo Lee
8:13 a.m., 1:18 p.m.: Jason Day, Si Woo Kim, Matt Kuchar
8:24 a.m., 1:29 p.m.: Sam Burns, Xander Schauffele, Tommy Fleetwood
8:35 a.m., 1:40 p.m.: Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth
8:46 a.m., 1:51 p.m.: Ludvig Åberg, Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott
8:57 a.m., 2:02 p.m.: Nick Taylor, Tom Kim, Justin Rose
9:08 a.m., 2:13 p.m.: Erik van Rooyen, Lucas Glover, Brendon Todd
9:19 a.m., 2:24 p.m.: C.T. Pan, Kevin Streelman, Ryan Fox
9:30 a.m., 2:35 p.m.: Martin Laird, Justin Suh, Greyson Sigg
9:41 a.m., 2:46 p.m.: Nate Lashley, Robby Shelton, Ben Kohles

Round 1: First tee, Round 2: 10th tee

12:45 p.m., 7:40 a.m.: Doug Ghim, Hayden Buckley, Kevin Yu
12:56 p.m., 7:51 a.m.: Peter Malnati, Beau Hossler, Alex Smalley
1:07 p.m., 8:02 a.m.: Cam Davis, Sam Ryder, Stephan Jaeger
1:18 p.m., 8:13 a.m.: Jake Knapp, Matthieu Pavon, Nick Dunlap
1:29 p.m., 8:24 a.m.: Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Fitzpatrick, Max Homa
1:40 p.m., 8:35 a.m.: Scottie Scheffler, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas
1:51 p.m., 8:46 a.m.: Wyndham Clark, Collin Morikawa, Brian Harman
2:02 p.m., 8:57 a.m.: Tony Finau, Will Zalatoris, Shane Lowry
2:13 p.m., 9:08 a.m.: Austin Eckroat, Sahith Theegala, Akshay Bhatia
2:24 p.m., 9:19 a.m.: Garrick Higgo, S.H. Kim, Andrew Novak
2:35 p.m., 9:30 a.m.: Ben Martin, Eric Cole, Harry Hall
2:46 p.m., 9:41 a.m.: Charley Hoffman, Sam Stevens, Sami Valimaki

Round 1: 10th tee, Round 2: First tee

12:45 p.m., 7:40 a.m.: Byeong Hun An, Patrick Rodgers, Matti Schmid
12:56 p.m., 7:51 a.m.: Denny McCarthy, Matt NeSmith, Nicolai Højgaard
1:07 p.m., 8:02 a.m.: Keith Mitchell, Mark Hubbard, Dylan Wu
1:18 p.m., 8:13 a.m.: Grayson Murray, Seamus Power, Francesco Molinari
1:29 p.m., 8:24 a.m.: Nick Hardy, Matt Wallace, Adam Svensson
1:40 p.m., 8:35 a.m. Nico Echavarria, J.T. Poston, Harris English
1:51 p.m., 8:46 a.m.: Davis Riley, Corey Conners, J.J. Spaun
2:02 p.m., 8:57 a.m.: Luke List, Gary Woodland, Cameron Young
2:13 p.m., 9:08 a.m.: Chris Kirk, Mackenzie Hughes, Andrew Putnam
2:24 p.m., 9:19 a.m.: Aaron Baddeley, Ben Griffin, Davis Thompson
2:35 p.m., 9:30 a.m.: Tyler Duncan, Maverick McNealy, Callum Tarren
2:46 p.m., 9:41 a.m.: Chan Kim, David Skinns, Jimmy Stanger

Prize money

The Players has a $25m purse, just as it did last year, more than the funds on offer at any of the four Majors, with the winner collecting a $4.5m first prize. The last prize money place is finishing 65th which offers $53,750.

1st: $4,500,000

2nd: $2,725,000

3rd: $1,725,000

4th: $1,225,000

5th: $1,025,000

6th: $906,250

7th: $843,750

8th: $781,250

9th: $731,250

10th: $681,250

What else does the winner receive?

The winner also receives 750 FedExCup points and a five-year Tour exemption as well as exemptions into all the Majors for the next three years.


A new trophy was unveiled in 2019 which incorporates aspects of each of the first 38 winners of The Players, with a golfer made of metal standing on top of a replica of the signature 17th Island Green.

TPC Sawgrass, The Stadium Course

As with the Masters, The Players is held at the same course each year: the 7,275-yard, Par-72 TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, home of the PGA headquarters. The event has been played here since 1982. 2024 will be the 43rd staging at this venue.

The Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course was built in 1980 and underwent renovations in 2006 and 2016 when all the greens were changed from mini verde to TifEagle Bermudagrass. Last year, a new back tee was built on the par five ninth, stretching the hole to 602 yards.

The course has become one of golf’s iconic venues, with its distinctive stadium concept of grass banks for spectators and one of the world’s most recognizable holes, the treacherous 137-yard, par-3 17th ‘Island Green’. There have been 13 holes-in-one at the 17th in the tournament’s history, including three in 2023. There has also been plenty who have found the water with players racking up huge scores.


With 88 bunkers and 17 water hazards coming into play on 17 holes, it’s easy to post big numbers. Doglegs go both ways and the routing is designed so that no two consecutive holes ever play in the same direction. It’s a typical Dye risk-reward course and players will need to decide when to attack and when to play away from danger off the tee with all the water and cross bunkers.

The closing holes usually deliver drama. The 16th is a par five with water running down the right where eagles can be scored, but a wayward approach could result in a double-bogey, or worse. The 18th is a fearsome par four with water on the left which can make or break careers.

Keys to success

The greens usually run around a speedy 13 on the stimpmeter and are smaller than Tour average, which means proximity and Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green will be a priority. Precise iron and approach play combined with strong play around the green, scrambling and short game skills will position a golfer among the leaders come Sunday.

In 2023, Scheffler ranked first for Driving Distance, Greens In Regulation and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, as well as 14th for Driving Accuracy and fourth for Scrambling.


Weather forecast

The course has softened after rainfall in Ponte Vedra Beach last weekend, but the course should be able to dry out ahead of Thursday’s opening round. There’s a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms from Friday through to the weekend, but no substantial rainfall. Temperatures will range between a max of of 25-28 degrees through the day with partly cloudy skies and light winds.

Most wins at The Players

Jack Nicklaus won in 1974, 76 and 78, but never at TPC Sawgrass, as it wasn’t held there until 1982. Two-time winners are: Fred Couples (1984, 1996), Steve Elkington (1991, 97), Hal Sutton (1983, 2000), Davis Love III (1992, 2003) and Tiger Woods (2001, 2013).

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