The Players Championship’s return to March has paid off so far. There has been no great controversy and we head to Sunday with a loaded leaderboard. On the first page of the leaderboard is a set of the best ballstrikers in the world and in form at the season’s biggest event to date. Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood are in the final group, with Rory McIlroy and Jason Day just in front of them. Stars and accomplished veterans like Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, and Jim Furyk are also out late in the day and within shouting distance of the 54-hole lead.
Now this group will get a true taste of the March weather that the Tour and salivating media expected when this championship switched back to this spot on the schedule. It is supposed to be 60 degrees, windy, and sometimes rainy on Sunday in the Jacksonville area. The most appealing aspect of the March date is the wind impact. We wanted to see the best in the world take on this Pete Dye test with the winds blowing, especially down that dangerous finishing stretch with water all around every hole.
Tiger Woods will not be among that late afternoon set. The two-time Players winner did make the cut and had an outside chance to be a factor come Sunday, but he started the third round with two bogeys and was pretty much cooked from there. Tiger has not put it all together in a single round this week. He’s never looked horrible, but there’s a piece of his game that has been off each day. The driving was weak on day one, the putting left him thereafter, and perhaps most specifically, his approach game disappeared at a critical moment on Friday at the island 17th hole.
So Tiger has not been close to good enough to win. There have still been promising stretches, however, and a mid-60s round is out there for him. Tiger will tee it up at 9:45 a.m. ET alongside Matt Fitzpatrick, who was in contention just a week ago at Bay Hill. Tiger announced, albeit inadvertently, that he is going to play the WGC Match Play in a couple weeks. So we know he’ll play at least one more event before the Masters. But that’s it, so Sunday’s round, while not for the trophy, is one of the last few opportunities to see him before Augusta.
Here are the nuts and bolts for Sunday at The Players.
Sunday’s media schedule
NBC will have the reigns for the full final round on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass. There will be no split with its sister network, Golf Channel, which often broadcasts early round coverage for a couple hours on the weekends. For the Players, it’s all on NBC with Dan Hicks and Paul Azinger in the lead chairs in the 18th tower.
That broadcast begins at 1 p.m. so if you need a fix before lunch, PGA Tour Live on NBC Sports Gold streaming is the best way to go. That’s where you will be able to watch a majority of Tiger’s round alongside Matt Fitzpatrick. He will obviously be the central focus of the featured groups stream throughout the AM and before the TV coverage goes live. Here’s the full media lineup for the final round:
1 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET — NBC
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET: PGA Tour Live on NBC Sports Gold
8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. ET: Free PGA Tour live stream on Twitter
Featured Groups (NBC Sports Gold subscription required)
- 8:04 a.m. ET: Louis Oosthuizen / Brooks Koepka
- 9:25 a.m. ET: Sergio Garcia / Martin Kaymer
- 9:45 a.m. ET: Tiger Woods / Matthew Fitzpatrick
- 12:35 p.m. ET (on DirecTV): Patrick Reed / Adam Scott
- 12:55 p.m. ET (on DirecTV): Dustin Johnson / Brian Harman
1 to 6 p.m. ET — fuboTV, NBC Sports simulcast stream
Noon to 6 p.m. ET: PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 92/208 and streamed here)
Sunday’s tee sheet is a clean run of twosomes all off the first tee. This is the custom once daylight savings time hits, freeing us from weekend threesomes off split tees and the interminable pace of play it brings. The tee sheet can be condensed into some five hours with the entire field on the course in a much shorter period of time, but individual rounds run at least five hours with three guys playing in each group.
With twosomes, the tee times run all day but the rounds last just four hours — hopefully. After a brutal first two days at TPC Sawgrass with rounds well past five hours and a failure to finish before dark on Thursday, the pace was a brisk four hours on Saturday in twosomes. Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood finished up around 6:45 p.m. ET, even providing a little cushion for the NBC broadcast before they were set to go off the air. Sunday’s pace should be a little slower given that it’s a final round and there’s a whole lot of money on the line with every shot, but still expect something in the 4.5 hour range.
Here’s the full Sunday tee sheet at TPC Sawgrass:
- 7:50 a.m. — Scott Langley
- 7:55 a.m. — Jimmy Walker / C.T. Pan
- 8:04 a.m. — Louis Oosthuizen / Brooks Koepka
- 8:13 a.m. — Thorbjørn Olesen / Bud Cauley
- 8:22 a.m. — Emiliano Grillo / Jason Kokrak
- 8:31 a.m. — Branden Grace / Cameron Smith
- 8:40 a.m. — Charles Howell III / Chris Kirk
- 8:49 a.m. — Gary Woodland / Andrew Landry
- 8:58 a.m. — Martin Trainer / Seamus Power
- 9:07 a.m. — Scott Piercy / Francesco Molinari
- 9:16 a.m. — Sung Kang / Kelly Kraft
- 9:25 a.m. — Martin Kaymer / Sergio Garcia
- 9:35 a.m. — Si Woo Kim / Brice Garnett
- 9:45 a.m. — Matthew Fitzpatrick / Tiger Woods
- 9:55 a.m. — Daniel Berger / Denny McCarthy
- 10:05 a.m. — Justin Thomas / Bubba Watson
- 10:15 a.m. — Billy Horschel / Luke List
- 10:25 a.m. — Matt Wallace / Michael Thompson
- 10:35 a.m. — Rory Sabbatini / Keith Mitchell
- 10:45 a.m. — Matt Kuchar / Russell Knox
- 10:55 a.m. — Richy Werenski / Nick Taylor
- 11:05 a.m. — Ian Poulter / Brian Gay
- 11:15 a.m. — Byeong Hun An / J.T. Poston
- 11:25 a.m. — Lucas Bjerregaard / Webb Simpson
- 11:35 a.m. — Ryan Moore / Tom Hoge
- 11:45 a.m. — Rickie Fowler / Corey Conners
- 11:55 a.m. — Vaughn Taylor / Hideki Matsuyama
- 12:05 p.m. — Tony Finau / Bryson DeChambeau
- 12:15 p.m. — Eddie Pepperell / Justin Rose
- 12:25 p.m. — Kevin Kisner / Jhonattan Vegas
- 12:35 p.m. — Patrick Reed / Adam Scott
- 12:45 p.m. — Jim Furyk / Joel Dahmen
- 12:55 p.m. — Dustin Johnson / Brian Harman
- 1:05 p.m. — Brandt Snedeker / Keegan Bradley
- 1:15 p.m. — Abraham Ancer / Ollie Schniederjans
- 1:25 p.m. — Rory McIlroy / Jason Day
- 1:35 p.m. — Jon Rahm / Tommy Fleetwood