Jon Rahm will go head-to-head with his world No 1 rivals at The Players after being grouped alongside Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler for the first two rounds at TPC Sawgrass.
Rahm arrives at the PGA Tour’s flagship event at the top of the world rankings for the second successive year, with the Spaniard looking to build on an impressive streak that saw him register five victories in a nine-tournament stretch.
The 28-year-old led after the opening day of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational but faded after back-to-back rounds of 76 at Bay Hill, eventually ending in tied-39th, although remains world No 1 despite posting his worst finish at any worldwide event since the Scottish Open last July.
McIlroy narrowly missed out on a victory that would have taken him above Rahm, ending the week tied-second and a shot behind Kurt Kitayama, while Scheffler also had chance to return to world No 1 but finished in a share of fourth.
“I saw some positive signs,”
“So I’m, even though I didn’t get the win, I’m still pretty happy with how everything went.”McIlroy said about his Bay Hill performance. Game’s rounding into form for the bulk of the season.
Both McIlroy and Scheffler will have another chance to overtake Rahm this week in Florida, with tournament officials announcing on Sunday evening that the world’s top three will go out as one of the Featured Groups on Thursday and Friday.
McIlroy won The Players in 2019 and is looking to become the first two-time winner of the event since Tiger Woods, while Scheffler is chasing a second victory of the season after securing the WM Phoenix Open last month.
The trio have been handed an early-late draw for the first two rounds, with a 7.56am local time (12.56pm GMT) on Thursday ahead of a 12.56pm (5.56pm GMT) on Friday.
The other Featured Group announced contains 2021 winner Justin Thomas, who is playing alongside three-time major champion Jordan Spieth and Presidents Cup team-mate Max Homa for the first two days on the other side of the draw.
Other notable groupings include former Sawgrass winners Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler being paired with two-time major champion Collin Morikawa, while Ryder Cup team-mates Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland and Shane Lowry go out together for the first two rounds.
The initial 144-player line-up – announced on Friday – included 43 of the world’s top 50 and all but one of the current top 50 in the FedExCup standings, with all this season’s PGA Tour winners also teeing it up at the $25m event where the champion will earn $4.5m.
Source: Sky Sports