Newlywed McIlroy ready to rock Players challenge

Newlywed McIlroy ready to rock Players challenge

Newlywed McIlroy ready to rock Players challenge

"A top-25 [finish] shows you've played well, a top-10 you're nearly there winning the tournament".

Phil Mickelson hits on the 10th green during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament Thursday, May 11, 2017, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Defending champion Jason Day of Australia is +2200; no player has repeated in this event.

In 2015, THE PLAYERS Championship saw the best tournament in its 43 year history.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is the +700 favorite on THE PLAYERS Championship betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by

It is the 2nd week in May, and that means we head to Ponte Vedra, Florida and PGA Tour headquarters.

What: The PLAYERS Championship When: May 11 -€” 14Where: TPC Sawgrass 2016 Winner: Jason Day (-15) Purse: $10.5 Million ($1.9MM to winner) -€” 2016 amounts.

Fast starts and tough finishes were the norm.

Past year the then World Number One Jason Day swept to victory, but the Aussie has had issues on and off the course lately so he is quite a juicy 20/1 to defend.

It was won previous year by Jason Day, in 2015 by Rickie Fowler, 2014 by Martin Kaymer, 2013 by Tiger Woods, in 2012 by Matt Kuchar, in 2011 by KJ Choi and in 2010 by Tim Clark.

Surrounded by water on three sides with spectators lining the outer edges, this is the weekend's make or break hole.

Sleeper: Kevin Kisner lost in a playoff to Rickie Fowler two years ago and almost won the Zurich Classic a few weeks ago playing alongside Scott Brown. He also shot 70.

Fowler managed to see the big picture.

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Despite the pressures, Day said getting back to number one was his top professional priority.

He led fellow American J.B. Holmes and Swede Alex Noren by one stroke with half the field back in the clubhouse. In other words, would anyone be surprised if the victor was Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy or Justin Thomas? He showed up for the first time in 2014 at age 20 and not only did he share the 54-hole lead with Martin Kaymer, he played 58 holes before making his first bogey.

"It depends what the wind is, what our number is, where the pin is", said Spieth.

"It doesn't matter what you hit off the tee".

All-in-all, therefore, the main men will be going all-out for victory at Sawgrass this week, when they will encounter something of a different Stadium Course than in the past. - His ball having come to rest in a poorly raked bunker, Jordan Spieth pulled out his phone and took a picture of it so he could provide the evidence to the PGA Tour staff.

One of the most famous golf designs in... "I was in worse than a plugged lie when (the ball) had just trickled in it".

"I want to think that it's just kind of a fluke", Spieth said. Sometimes it just takes a lucky bounce or a putt to drop to really catch some momentum and get going. When while trailing by five shots with six holes to play Fowler went birdie-par-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to force a playoff. Harris English never got anything going and wound up with an 84.

During his rise to No. 1 in the world, when Day was winning those seven tournaments, he said, "I honestly felt that there was no one better than me in the game, and it didn't matter who it was, I was going to beat them".

Ed Fulton, trading spokesman for Sporting Index, said: "Island Green has seen the sport's best competitors slip up at the Players Championship, and we're bound to see a few more pros lose ground at the 17 hole this week by hitting water".

"I came to the conclusion that was the best way forward for me to try and improve, try and win more, try to get back to world No. 1, try to win more majors", McIlroy said.

Thursday was one of those exceptions.

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