The PLAYERS Championship: Featured Groups

By Carl Conrad
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The flagship event of the PGA Tour season starts tomorrow with the PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Considering the fact that the event is basically a major championship, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to go extremely low in the first two rounds. While the event can’t be won in the first two rounds, the key is going to be for the players to not play themselves out of the championship before the weekend starts. Let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing groupings for the first two rounds.

Probably the most talked about group is that of Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker, which tees off at 1:49 pm on Thursday and 8:39 am on Friday. Kuchar is the defending champ here, Woods has won three times so far this year and Snedeker is the defending FedEx Cup champion.

Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Steve Stricker get underway at 8:39 am Thursday and 1:49 pm on Friday. Scott is the reigning Masters champion, which may not be a good thing. The only player to ever win the Masters and the PLAYERS in the same was Woods, in 2001. McIlroy’s game is starting to round into form, while Stricker has come out of his semi-retirement to tee it up this week.

A group that might fly a little under the radar but will be fun to watch is that of Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson and Ernie Els. They’ll go off at 8:29 am on Thursday and 1:39 pm on Friday. Horschel broke through last week for his first career win but has been red hot over the last month. If Johnson can control his ball striking, his distance could be a big advantage, but it could also cost him dearly if he starts hitting errant shots. The big question is whether or not Els will use the belly putter again?

Carl Conrad is the Senior Golf Writer for Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.

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