THE PLAYERS Championship Viewing Guide

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11: A flagstick is seen during a practice round prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2016 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The 2019 golf season has been underway for a number of months already, but the true surge of momentum officially kicks off this week at The PLAYERS Championship. On and off the course many players, analysts and fans agree that this memorable tournament is indeed the PGA Tour’s (unofficial) fifth major. Regardless of its official labeling, all 144 competitors that step onto the grounds at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass are ready to fight from tee to green to become the 2019 PLAYERS Champion.

There’s no doubt the most iconic piece to TPC Sawgrass is the island par-3 17th hole. But this Ponte Vedra Beach oasis isn’t defined by just one landmark, rather 18 grueling holes that require players to bring their very best in order to win. With the tournament being moved from May to March this season the weather conditions are projected to make this an even tougher path to victory than in years past.

With so much to see and a Tour high $2.25 million for the winner (with $12.5 million purse) from TPC Sawgrass this week, Last Word on Golf has your guide to the course, featured opening round groups and how to watch and listen to all the action at the 2019 PLAYERS Championship.

The Course

The first true “Stadium” course on the PGA Tour was conceptualized in 1982 by former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman. In working with one of the best course designers in the game Pete Dye, the Tour looked to provide a balanced playing field for golfers to compete at the highest caliber as well as fans to enjoy around the property. While Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural Tournament Players Championship in 1974, played at the Atlanta Country Club, it was Jerry Pate who took home the first trophy from TPC Sawgrass.

The switch from May to March doesn’t seem to have angered Mother Nature too much as the weather around Ponte Vedra Beach is projected to stay in the mid 70’s to low 60’s by Sunday. While little to no rain is projected, the two-month bump in date has certainly changed the speed around the Stadium Course. With temperatures near 15 degrees lower than average at The PLAYERS, club selection and ball control will be a major key to victory.

Factoring in the time of year and new weather patterns even champion golfer Jordan Spieth, in speaking with Golf Digest, noted “The 17th and 18th are dicey now… When the weather was warm and with less wind [in May], 17 was a pitching wedge. Now it could be an 8-iron. That’s a big difference.” Over the past two years 122 golf balls have found the water around the par-3 17th.

TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course plays just around the Tour average at 7,189 yards with par 3’s and 5’s evened out with two of each on both the front and back nine. The length may not concern many on paper but it’s the layout that challenge even the most seasoned golfers on tour.

From tee to green water threatens players on over two-thirds of the Stadium Course. Perhaps nothing is more daunting at TPC Sawgrass than the final three holes. Starting with a 523-yard par-5 and closing with a 462-yard par-4, players are more than capable of going back to back to back with birdies. Also in play, namely the knee-knocking 17th, is a quick free fall down the leaderboard if the wheels come off down the stretch.

Featured Groups

Marquee groups featuring champions and fan favorites will be out in full force on Thursday and Friday at The PLAYERS Championship. Most notably is always two-time PLAYERS  champion, Tiger Woods. “The Big Cat” will kick off the first two rounds with defending champion Webb Simpson and 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed. This trio of top title contenders start their round Thursday at 1:27 p.m. Eastern and Friday at 8:32 a.m. Eastern.

Looking for his second PLAYERS victory, Rickie Fowler is paired with U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and perennial fan favorite Jordan Spieth. Spieth’s best appearance was in his inaugural outing in 2014 with a tie for 4th. Since then the three time Major winner has failed to make the cut in his last three starts at TPC Sawgrass. These three crowd pleasers will tee it up at 1:59 p.m. Eastern on Thursday and 9:04 a.m. Eastern on Friday.

Three of the FedEx Cup’s top-12 will hit the tee box together in the early morning Thursday. Matt Kuchar (2) and Phil Mickelson (9) will each look to capture their second PLAYERS title while Rory McIlroy (11) eyes his first victory at the Stadium Course. Going off opposite the previous featured group, these three begin their tournament at 9:04 a.m. Eastern on Thursday and 1:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday.

Elsewhere on the course Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm join Dustin Johnson Thursday at 8:53 a.m. and Friday at 1:48 p.m. Meanwhile, FedEx Cup leader Xander Schauffele seeks his third victory since October 2018 alongside Justin Thomas and reigning FedEx Cup Champion Justin Rose (Thursday at 8:32 a.m. and Friday at 1:27 p.m.). Don’t forget to check the full set of official tee times to see when your favorite players will start their rounds.

Viewing and Listening Schedule

The 2019 PLAYERS Championship begins Thursday, March 14, and is scheduled to conclude Sunday, March 17 (with a three-hole aggregate tie-breaker playoff in effect if needed). Coverage throughout the week can be found on both radio and television broadcasts. Below are the dates, times and locations for your listening and viewing needs (all times Eastern Standard time).

Thursday March 14 – Round 1

PGA Tour Live 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday March 15 – Round 2

PGA Tour Live 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday March 16 – Round 3

PGA Tour Live 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
NBC 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday March 17 – Final Round

PGA Tour Live 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
NBC 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Main Photo
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