The Players Championship: Scheffler targets historic defense as PGA Tour’s strongest field assembles

Celebrating 50 years since Jack Nicklaus’ inaugural title, the PGA Tour’s finest target a statement win ahead of Major season.

Players Championship 2024: Tee Times

Historically dubbed ‘golf’s fifth Major’, The Players Championship has traditionally attracted a field as high in caliber as the four official Majors themselves.

The landscape in 2024 is somewhat different, however, with its fractures now so deep thanks to the LIV Golf breakaway tour, that the game’s top talents rarely face off.

For this reason, it seems a bit of a stretch to continue that tagline, with so many of the sport’s elite ineligible to line up at TPC Sawgrass for the event’s 50th running.

THE PLAYERS Championship - Round Two

For once in the world of sport, the league tables actually do lie. So much so it seems that LIV has even given up the ghost of arguing for recognition from the Official World Golf Rankings.

Talor Gooch, LIV’s 2023 Individual Champion and World No.449 ruffled some feathers by saying that should McIlroy win the Masters to complete a career majors grand slam, it would come with an “asterisk.”

Politics aside, strength in depth on the PGA Tour still runs deep, a pointed stressed by tour commissioner Jay Monahan in his address to the media at Sawgrass.

He said: “You’ve got 144 players competing in this championship, and they’re the greatest players in the world, and this is the greatest tour in the world.”

Wyndham Clark wins the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Fresh off the back of his second Arnold Palmer Invitational title, World No.1 Scottie Scheffler goes into the week as the defending champion. His commanding five-stroke victory last time around also saw 2023’s strokes-gained leader regain his position at the top of the world rankings.

A roll call of recent winners at Sawgrass speaks for itself. Scheffler, Smith, JT, McIlroy, Day, Fowler, Garcia, Mickelson, Woods – the list goes on. There’s no doubt, that the best raise their game for The Players, and whoever prevails will have more than earned it come Sunday evening.

Scottie Scheffler won The Players Championship.

Where is The Players Championship played?

TPC Sawgrass’s par-72 Players Stadium Course at Ponte Vedra Beach is home to The Players Championship, playing 7,275 yards, and is considered one of the best golf courses in the USA.

Greg Norman holds the 72-hole record of 264 around Sawgrass with 63 being the best 18-hole round, shot on nine occasions, most recently in 2022 by Dustin Johnson.

With its bleacher-esque grass mounds, the Stadium Course was designed specifically by Pete and Alice Dye to host The Players Championship and is recognized worldwide for its signature ‘Island Green’ hole – the par-3 17th.

Read more about how today’s picture-perfect TPC Sawgrass went from swap to spectacle, including how the iconic 17th came to fruition.

Sawgrass' famous par-3 17th hole.

Who is playing in The Players Championship?

Eight former Players Champions and six FedExCup winners will tee it up in 2024, along with all 14 players who have won silverware on the PGA Tour this season.

Forty-nine of the top 50 players on the current FedExCup Playoffs and Eligibility Points List will compete, as well as 43 of the top 50 on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).

There will be at least 30 players making their Players Championship debuts, including Min Woo Lee, qualifying through his top 50 OWGR. The top 125 in the FedExCup standings following the FedExCup Fall are also eligible to compete, along with Major champions from the past five years and the last three winners of the Arnold Palmer, Genesis, and Memorial Invitationals, plus any World Golf Championship events.

A full list of the field in 2024 can be found here.

Min Woo Lee wins Australian PGA Championship 2023.

Who is not playing in The Players Championship?

With no exemptions for LIV players, we will not see the former Sawgrass winners of Mickelson, Garcia, Stenson, Kaymer, and Smith in action. Neither will we the likes of Koepka, DeChambeau, DJ, Rahm, and Hatton – all of whom would have featured toward the shorter-priced end of the betting markets.

Another notable absentee will be Tiger Woods. Newly dressed in Sun Day Red, Tiger was expected to feature at The Players for the first time since 2019 as part of his ‘one tournament a month’ plan. The 15-time Major winner is eligible as a Major winner from the last five years but has elected against playing.

Having split with Nike, Tiger Woods wears his own Sun Day Red clothing line.

Who will win The Players Championship?

Scottie Scheffler enters the week as an overwhelming favorite to secure a second Players title. The World No.1 would claim another piece of history in doing so, however, as there has never been a back-to-back winner at the event.

This is likely in part due to the course not favoring one particular type of player, presenting a great opportunity for those with a well-balanced game to prosper. Form going into Sawgrass appears important however with 11 of the past 13 winners finishing T4 or better since the start of the season.

If Scheffler can find the same stroke with the flat stick that took him to victory at Bay Hill where he finished 5th for putting, it’s going to be difficult for even McIlroy and co to deny him that piece of history.

Despite seeing an international mix of winners since the turn of the millennium, an Englishman has never lifted The Players. With Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood hovering just outside the world’s top 10, perhaps 2024 is the year that bucks this trend.

Justin Thomas won the Players Championship in 2021.

How much does The Players Championship winner receive?

With a prize fund of $25 million, The Players Championship offers the PGA Tour’s biggest regular season purse, $5 million more than 2024’s Signature Events.

The winner takes home a $4.5 million cut and 750 FedExCup points. Further still, champions lock in a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour in addition to a three-year exemption for The Masters, the PGA Championship, the US Open, and The Open. You even get your own locker at Sawgrass!

The 17th at TPC Sawgrass, home of the Players Championship.

How to watch The Players Championship?

UK viewers can catch all the action on Sky Sports Golf.

All times GMT

Saturday, March 16: Sky Sports Golf, 14.00

Sunday, March 17: Sky Sports Golf, 14.00

US viewers can catch all the action on Golf Channel.

All times EDT

Saturday, March 16: The Golf Channel, 14.00

Sunday, March 17: The Golf Channel, 13.00

The Players Championship: Tee Times

Tee times and groupings for rounds 3 & 4 can be found here once available.

SUBSCRIBE TO TODAY’S GOLFER: Print and Digital access, discounts and rewards!

About the author

Ross Tugwood is a Golf Equipment Writer for Today's Golfer.

Ross Tugwood

Senior Digital Writer

Ross Tugwood is a golf equipment writer for, specializing in data, analytics, science, and innovation.

Ross is passionate about optimizing sports performance and has a decade of experience working with professional athletes and coaches for British Athletics, the UK Sports Institute, and Team GB.

He has post-graduate degrees in Performance Analysis and Sports Journalism, enabling him to critically analyze and review the latest golf equipment and technology to help you make better-informed buying decisions.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.