Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

Highlights From THE PLAYERS Championship 2023

The 50th edition of THE PLAYERS Championship took place at TPC Sawgrass from March 9-12 and the golf community is still reeling from the action that took place.

For the first time since 2014, a defending champion was not on the field to reclaim the title. Cameron Smith and other LIV defectors, such as Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka, were ineligible for the event.

The Field Overview

THE PLAYERS Championship consists of a field of 144 players that qualify by meeting various criteria such as:

  • Winners of PGA TOUR events since the previous Players Championship
  • FedExCup standings leading golfers from the current and preceding seasons
  • Recent winners of Majors and World Golf Championships

Some notable names in this year’s tournament included Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton, Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland, Adam Svensson, and Tom Hoge.

Round Reviews

Round 1:

Tournament debutant Chad Ramey stole the show on Thursday when he recorded a bogey-free round of 64 (8 under par). 

Collin Morikawa was placed second, one stroke behind Ramey, with a similar bogey-free round of 65 (7 under par). 

Scheffler showed promise and finished in the top 10 at four-under par (68). 

The round’s exemplary performer was Hayden Buckley, who recorded a hole-in-one on the 17th hole in his one-over-par round of 73. 

Round 2:

On Friday, the tournament began to liven. Then leader, Svensson, whose par-5 ninth-hole birdie gifted him a five-under round of 67, effectively helped him take a two-shot, nine-under lead through 36 holes. 

Scheffler climbed the leaderboard and to second with a three-under round of 69, fueled by three birdies on his back-nine.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Ben Griffin, Min Woo Lee, and Morikawa tied for third place at six-under. 

At this point, the cut came in at 146 (+2), and only 75 players out of 144 qualified to cross over to the weekend.

Notable players that missed the cut included 2019 PLAYERS champion Rory McIlroy and his 2018 counterpart Webb Simpson, John Rahm, who withdrew due to illness, and 2022 U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

Jerry Kelly made history as the oldest player to make the cut in the tournament at 56 years, three months, and 16 days old, surpassing the 1985 Arnold Palmer record.