Players 2022: The top 100 golfers competing at TPC Sawgrass, ranked

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Instead of focusing on what the Players Championship is not—a major—let’s appreciate what it is: The best field of the year in golf congregating at a course designed for high drama. Ahead of 2022’s first truly marquee event, Golf Digest has ranked the top 100 players competing at TPC Sawgrass to help you win your wagers, pools, DFS contests or simply be a more informed viewer. Happy reading, and happy watching.

Age: 45 World Ranking: 195 Players starts: 16
Best Players finish: WIN, 2009
The Swede is rumored to be a finalist for the European Ryder Cup captaincy. He gifted fans with one of the more iconic rounds in Players history when he shot 66 to win in 2009 without putting a tee in the ground all day. That was the peak of “3-Wood” Henrik.

Age: 34 World Ranking: 72 Players starts: 4
Best Players finish: T-57, 2016
Big Georgia grad won’t have to worry about being mistaken for Harris English, who is out after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Swafford has three wins on tour that have all come on dead-easy layouts; he’s been abysmal in the big events, missing the cut in each of his six major starts and three of four Players.

Age: 38 World Ranking: 143 Players starts: 10
Best Players finish: T-6, 2017
He’s playing his 12th consecutive season on the PGA Tour but has come on some rough times, as he’s still looking for his first made cut of 2022. That’s five in a row, for those keeping track.

Age: 39 World Ranking: 179 Players starts: 10
Best Players finish: T-6, 2017
Teased us with a mini-renaissance through last year’s West Coast swing but has not been able to build on that momentum and has resumed his free-fall in the World Ranking. It wasn’t so long ago, you’ll recall, that the Italian was considered perhaps the best player on the planet. A combination of injuries, moving his family across the Atlantic Ocean and very poor iron play have seen him drop off dramatically.

Age: 29 World Ranking: 109 Players starts: 5
Best Players finish: 11, 2017
The Argentine burst onto the scene in winning rookie of the year and reaching the Tour Championship in 2016 but has struggle with consistency let alone improvement. A very solid iron player but little reason to believe he can or will contend here.

Age: 25 World Ranking: 244 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-29, 2021
Played in the penultimate pairing at last year’s Players after shooting 67-68 on Friday and Saturday. Sunday, on the other hand, was an unmitigated disaster, his 78 dropping him all the way to T-29. Playing unremarkably this season having lost strokes putting in seven of his last nine starts.

Age: 34 World Ranking: 158 Players starts: 6
Best Players finish: T-22, 2021
The Canadian has won on the PGA Tour and made a Presidents Cup team. Does most of his damage on benign setups, and his best finish 24 career starts in majors and the Players is a T-22.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 136 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: T-12, 2019
At just past 286 yards on average in driving distance, Putnam is one of the shortest hitters on the PGA Tour, and he’s not particularly straight, either. As such, he’s 183rd in strokes gained/off the tee and simply hasn’t hit it well enough to hang on demanding setups. He’s missed the weekend in his last five starts in majors/Players.

Age: 48 World Ranking: 70 Players starts: 21
Best Players finish: T-3, 2007
Played a feature role in last season’s old-guys narrative, winning twice at age 48 after going more than 11 years without a victory. Has missed the cut in five of his nine starts this year and hasn’t played the weekend in each of his last four Players appearances.

Age: 45 World Ranking: 102 Players starts: 14
Best Players finish: T-17, 2021
Raised every eyebrow when he got an unfortunate ruling at the WM Phoenix Open, then took to Instagram to claim that players don’t get protection and that’s why so many are looking to join another tour. Those are about the only headlines he’s made recently because his play has been wholly forgettable.

Age: 24 World Ranking: 278 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish:
MC, 2021
Won the 2017 U.S. Amateur at Riviera and seemed to be knocking on the door for his first PGA Tour win last year but has struggled this season—his best finish in 12 starts is a T-25 and he sits 170th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Age: 36 World Ranking: 226 Players starts: 7
Best Players finish: T-17, 2015
He plays under the Scottish flag but he’s got Jacksonville running through those veins—he played four years at Jacksonville State and lives in the Jax Beach area. Unknowingly put together a true statistical anomaly by finishing exactly T-33 in three straight starts at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the WM Phoenix Open and Genesis Invitational. Disappointing for us (and him), then, that his last start was a T-55 at the Honda Classic.

Age: 22 World Ranking: 74 Players starts: First
Parlayed a sponsor’s invite into the Palmetto Championship into a victory and full PGA Tour status. The young South African certainly knows how to close; he’s won seven times since the beginning of 2019 over various tours. He does not, however, have a single top-20 finish in his 21 starts since that magical week at Congaree.

Age: 39 World Ranking: 123 Players starts: 11
Best Players finish: T-2, 2012
Had some serious success back when the Players was in May—he was runner-up in 2012 and tied fifth in 2013. His two starts since the return to March—and the return to overseeding the turf—have yielded a T-69 and a missed cut.

Age: 46 World Ranking: 199 Players starts: 16
Best Players finish: T-2, 2012
The next American Ryder Cup captain will switch his focus from playing to scouting in due time … but not quite yet. Still playing a full schedule and has a couple top-20 finishes on the young season. With his lack of length, must play virtually mistake-free golf to keep up.

Age: 43 World Ranking: 97 Players starts: 12
Best Players finish: T-2, 2013
A capital V veteran who has made 264 cuts on the PGA Tour. Has two wins and plenty of seconds in his career—none better than finishing second to Tiger in the 2013 Players.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 176 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: T-22, 2021
Posted four straight finishes of T-25 or better in the fall but has nothing better than a T-65 to show for in the new year. Name aside, he’s 152nd on tour in driving distance, but 18th in strokes gained/putting.

Age: 32 World Ranking: 193 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: MC, 2019, 2021
Grinded through the mini-tours, PGA Tour Canada and Korn Ferry Tour before finally getting to the big show in his late 20s. Came into Bay Hill with some nice momentum off three straight finishes of T-29 or better, including a T-9 at the Honda Classic. Probably still buzzing from that ace at TPC Scottsdale’ 16th hole.

Age: 37 World Ranking: 87 Players starts: 8
Best Players finish: T-3, 2019
Had three runner-up finishes last year, all against weaker fields. Has two finishes of T-7 or better at TPC Sawgrass, so the vibes are good.

Age: 25 World Ranking: 86 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: T-65, 2021
It’s not often you see a 25-year-old putting with a broomstick. He’s one of them. A couple of strong finishes in the fall have given him some breathing room in the FedEx Cup.

Age: 27 World Ranking: 85 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: MC, 2021
Soft-spoken Aussie doesn’t get much media attention but he did win his first PGA Tour event last summer at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 116 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-22, 2021
He’s had a top five in a major in each of the past two years, and he impressed in his Players debut 12 months ago. Always one of the easier guys to spot from a distance—he’s the one with the sunglasses and white sun sleeves on.

Age: 34 World Ranking: 269 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: MC, 2016, 2017, 2021
Trudged through a period where he missed 12 cuts in 13 starts, and he did so with a smile on his face because there’s always a smile on his face. Might be the nicest guy on tour and was just voted by his peers as one of the co-chairmen of the Player Advisory Council. Has somehow managed to rack up 15 starts this year, and the Players will be his seventh straight week in competition. (I’m tired just writing that sentence.) Has done the majority of his damage on gentler courses with weaker fields and has no success to speak of in majors or Players championships.

Age: 41 World Ranking: 80 Players starts: 7
Best Players finish: T-17, 2014
The fastest player on the PGA Tour broke a tour record for weekend scoring with a 62-61 finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The bad news is Kapalua is roughly three times wider than TPC Sawgrass.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 53 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: T-16, 2017
Another guy who has feasted on the fall—he finished solo second at the RSM and T-4 at the Zozo Championship. Been a different story against stronger fields this calendar year.

Age: 26 World Ranking: 248 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: T-48, 2018
He was a phenom as a junior and a great player at Texas but has struggled to assert himself at the highest level. Been hard at work shallowing out his angle of attack with coach Dana Dahlquist and is finally seeing results, with a solo third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and a strong start at Bay Hill. A sneaky good Instagram follow as well.

Age: 30 World Ranking: 71 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: MC, 2016, 2021
Needs to become a more consistent player if he’s to make the Presidents Cup team. Finished runner-up back home in Mexico at last fall’s WWT Championship at Mayakoba but had just one other top-10 finish the entire year.

Age: 43 World Ranking: 57 Players starts: 13
Best Players finish: T-37, 2013
The lone “upset” to finish in the top 10 of the Player Impact Program, so he’s $3 million richer than he was this time last week. His best golf is likely behind him, but he’s as gifted a player as there is, and he’s still long enough to contend when he’s driving it well. He’s a horses-for-courses player, and TPC Sawgrass isn’t one of his favorites.

Age: 26 World Ranking: 114 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish:
MC, 2021
He’s a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, but a lack of week-in and week-out consistency has kept his World Ranking quite low. Sawgrass will go a long way toward neutralizing his greatest asset, which is his driving, and he WD in his Players debut and missed the cut last year.

Age: 33 World Ranking: 88 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-35, 2021
Already has three finishes of T-7 or better on the season, which should be enough for this late-bloomer to keep his card no matter what happens the rest of the year. Ranks an impressive 37th in strokes gained/overall.

Age: 26 World Ranking: 52 Players starts: First
The good news: He won his third start as a PGA Tour member at last fall’s Butterfield to lock up his tour status and a spot in the Masters. The bad news: His other six starts on the season have resulted in five missed cuts and a second-to-last finish in the no-cut Sentry Tournament of Champions. Feast or famine indeed.

Age: 36 World Ranking: 31 Players starts: 11
Best Players finish: WIN, 2018
Spoke openly about his disappointment in missing last year’s Ryder Cup, but understood the decision given his meh play over the last year. Much of that has been due to injury; he withdrew from the WM Phoenix Open, ostensibly for the neck injury that also forced him to withdraw from his hometown event, the Wells Fargo Championship, last spring. He’s played just one tournament in 2022, a T-61 at the Sony Open in January, so there’s really not much to go off here.

Age: 36 World Ranking: 145 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: T-35, 2021
Would’ve finished much higher in last year’s Players if he didn’t hit a full-on shank on 17 on Sunday. (He laughed it off and birdied 18, to his credit). Won back-to-back starts in 2019 to revitalize his career but has been steadily dropping in the World Rankings since.

Age: 26 World Ranking: 56 Players starts: 5
Best Players finish: WIN, 2017
Still the youngest winner in Players Championship history after he beat golf’s best field as a 21-year-old in 2017. He regressed in the years directly following but had a strong 2021, adding a third PGA Tour victory at The American Express and finishing runner-up at the Wyndham. He is something of a Pete Dye specialist—he also has a solo second at the RBC Heritage, played at another Dye Course, on his résumé—and finished T-9 at last year’s Players.

Age: 37 World Ranking: 58 Players starts: 4
Best Players finish: T-56, 2019
Was one of the many surprise winners in the West Coast swing when he outdueled Will Zalatoris to claim the Farmers Insurance Open, his first win in more than 206 starts. One of the better drivers of the ball out there—he ranks seventh on tour in driving distance and seventh in SG/off the tee. And, most impressively, third on tour in SG/tee to green.

Age: 35 World Ranking: 138 Players starts: 5
Best Players finish: T-35, 2021
Big Auburn grad’s T-10 at the WM Phoenix Open was his first top-10 since last May. Does have two PGA Tour victories but they came in back-to-back starts more than four years ago, and he’s made just six cuts in 15 career starts in majors and Players Championships.

Age: 22 World Ranking: 38 Players starts: First
Skipped last year’s Players as he took a break to address his mental health. Seems to be in a much better and lighter headspace now and has played some good golf, posting two top-five finishes in the fall season. But he’s not as polished or consistent as his fellow class of ’19ers and his 81-76 at the Honda Classic, another Florida course with water everywhere, is concerning.

Age: 28 World Ranking: 83 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: MC, 2021
Became the first Austrian—but most certainly not the first Georgia Bulldog—to win on the PGA Tour with a rock-solid performance at the Honda Classic. His last top-10 before that came last June, and he missed the cut at Bay Hill last week. That win could spur him to bigger and better things, or it could prove to be an aberration. Time will tell.

Age: 34 World Ranking: 92 Players starts: 10
Best Players finish: WIN, 2016
Withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational to be by his mother’s side as she passed away after a lengthy battle from cancer. Has entered the field at TPC Sawgrass and if he competes, surely will be playing with a heavy heart. Golf wise, his World Ranking has plummeted from his World No. 1 days, but recent T-3 at the Farmers Insurance Open was promising. Now working with Chris Como, who has been Bryson DeChambeau’s guide through his speed experiment.

Age: 35 World Ranking: 91 Players starts: 10
Best Players finish: T-7, 2018
Won his first major start and played on two Ryder Cups early in his career but has sort of faded into the average-tour-player abyss more recently, as he hasn’t been a top-50 player in the world in more than two years now. Ranked fourth in SG/approach last season but the putter continues to be a hindrance at best and a borderline disaster at worst.

Age: 43 World Ranking: 137 Players starts: 16
Best Players finish: WIN, 2012
Would’ve missed the FedEx Cup playoffs last season if it weren’t for a solo third at the WGC-Dell Match Play. He’s been on the struggle bus for a little while now—his T-7 finish at the Sony Open was his first top-10 in a stroke-play PGA Tour event since February 2020. Admitted that even he went down the distance rabbit hole, a failed experiment that saw him pick up a bit of speed but lose the accuracy that made him into a Ryder Cup stalwart for all those years. As such, he relies more than ever on his short game to stay competitive as he creeps toward mid-40sville.

Age: 29 World Ranking: 69 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: MC, 2021
The PGA Tour’s rumored plan to separate the fall season from the FedEx Cup would benefit the top players, but it’d make Sebastian Munoz’s job much harder. The Colombian has feasted on the fall in his first years on tour—a solo third and T-4 last autumn all but locked up his tour card for another season.

Age: 34 World Ranking: 44 Players starts: 7
Best Players finish: T-16, 2016
Somewhere between a journeyman and a decorated veteran—on one hand, he’s winless in 321 career PGA Tour starts. On the other, he’s made $16.3 million, the most of any player without a victory. Already has three top-10s on the wraparound season, including a runner up at the Zozo Championship in Japan.

Age: 45 World Ranking: 66 Players starts: 15
Best Players finish: T-5, 2013
Now past $31 million in career earnings in an 18-year career that includes four wins. He’s 10th in SG/off the tee, which is impressive for a man closer to 50 than 40

55: K.H. Lee

Age: 30 World Ranking: 78 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-41, 2021
He’s known as a TPC specialist—his lone tour win came last year at TPC Craig Ranch, where he shot 26 under, and he finished tied for second at TPC Scottsdale in last year’s WM Phoenix Open. Heading into Bay Hill he was 69th in SG/overall, 75th in the FedEx Cup and 78th in OWGR. To distill it down: he’s a slightly above-average PGA Tour player

Age: 34 World Ranking: 106 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: T-12, 2019
Won his first PGA Tour event the week after last year’s Players—a popular win because he’s a popular guy, both with his peers and with fans. Taking your shirt off at the WM Phoenix Open tends to have that affect. He’s sneakily a very good player on difficult layouts but might lack the firepower to win this thing outright.

Age: 32 World Ranking: 41 Players starts: 8
Best Players finish: T-17, 2014
Looked primed to add a fourth PGA Tour win at the Sony Open, only to blow a five-shot lead to Hideki Matsuyama down the stretch. He’s consistently one of the best iron players on tour–he ranked third in SG/approach in 2019-20, sixth in 20-21 and sits seventh on the current season. He’s surrounded in that stat by top players in the world; he’s not one of them, at least not yet, because the putter has been a weakness. Missed the cut in five of his eight Players starts.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 28 Players starts: 7
Best Players finish: T-22, 2021
It has not been a good start to the year, plain and simple. He’s changed clubs umpteen times in the last couple years and began working with swing coach David Leadbetter last year. He says he likes the progress he’s made but his ball-striking statistics are alarming: 193rd in driving distance, 203rd in SG/off the tee and 203rd in SG/approach. It’s a good thing he’s a short-game maestro, because he needs it at the minute. Down to World No. 28 and slipping.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 50 Players starts: 4
Best Players finish: T-5, 2019
Snuck into the field by the hair on his backy, back back. (That, friends, was a long hair joke). Despite making 18 straight cuts before the Honda Classic, a lack of top-end finishes had seen him tumble down the World Ranking to No. 50, the last OWGR spot guaranteed entry into the Players. Missed last year’s FedEx Cup playoffs—he continues to balance playing in the U.S. and Europe— so staying inside the top 50 is crucial for him as far as getting to pick and choose which events he plays in. Began his Players career with two top-10s but missed the cut in 2021.

Age: 32 World Ranking: 40 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: T-22, 2021
A proper late-bloomer—turned pro in 2011 and had only spent one week inside the world’s top 100 until a terrific West Coast swing: a solo second at The American Express and a charging victory over Jordan Spieth at the AT&T Pebble Beach. His unique swing lends itself to some streakiness, and he misses plenty of cuts, but his good can clearly compete with anyone’s.

Age: 30 World Ranking: 32 Players starts: First
Hasn’t quite turned into the star we thought he’d be after the 2016 Ryder Cup, but he’s all the way into the top 35 thanks largely to winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, one of the DP World Tour’s Rolex Series events. Hasn’t been particularly keen to play in the U.S. in previous years but did play the Genesis (MC) and Bay Hill before heading to TPC Sawgrass for the first time.

Age: 32 World Ranking: 63 Players starts: First
Got hot at the right time last year, taking seventh at The Northern Trust and fifth in the BMW Championship to sneak into the Tour Championship. As such, he has some schedule stability as he’s into all the big events. Has four top-25 finishes in six starts worldwide in 2022.

Age: 35 World Ranking: 61 Players starts: 9
Best Players finish: T-3, 2021
The definition of a grinder, he milks every ounce out of his natural gifts and manages his game beautifully. That doesn’t mean he can’t contend on the right course—he was in the mix at last year’s Players and finished T-19 or better in three majors in 2021. Loves himself some TPC Sawgrass, with three top-10 finishes in his nine starts.

Age: 30 World Ranking: 73 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: T-47, 2019
Off to a very good start this season and came into Bay Hill off three straight finishes of T-12 or better. Swings it (and dresses) beautifully, particularly with the driver—he’s third on tour in SG/off the tee and has picked up ground on the field in 15 straight Shotlink-measured starts.

Age: 38 World Ranking: 29 Players starts: 14
Best Players finish: T-3, 2009
Found the form of his life last season to elbow his way into the Ryder Cup picture, but didn’t get the call. He’s no longer playing at a top-10 level. Has three top-10 finishes at Sawgrass to his name but also five missed cuts and two withdrawals. He’s streaky, but he’s not riding a good one at the minute.

Age: 30 World Ranking: 152 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-29, 2021
Immediately etched himself in the Golf Twitter Hall of Fame by holding his shirt above his head at the WM Phoenix Open. Actual golf wise, it’s been a meh season so far; his T-9 at the CJ Cup last fall is his lone top-25 finish in his 12 starts thus far.

Age: 46 World Ranking: 64 Players starts: 17
Best Players finish: 2, 2009
Odds are that September’s Ryder Cup was his last, but he’ll fight and claw to give himself another go next year in Rome. Ended last year with a T-6 in the Middle East and began this one with a T-6 in the Middle East. Finished runner-up in the 2009 Players to Henrik Stenson and runner-up to Si Woo Kim in 2017.

Age: 38 World Ranking: 37 Players starts: 11
Best Players finish: T-8, 2013
Seems to be back on track after a gnarly stretch right after the COVID hiatus. Posted a pair of top-five finishes in the fall, ranks 21st in SG/overall for his last 50 rounds and hasn’t missed a cut since last year’s Open Championship. Historically he is a below-average putter on Poa, around average on bent and significantly above average on Bermuda, which bodes well. There’s something about Sawgrass that doesn’t fit his eye, though, as he’s missed the cut in three of his last four starts and took T-63 the lone time he made it to Saturday.

Age: 48 World Ranking: 45 Players starts: 18
Best Players finish: 2, 2021
Turned back the clock during last year’s Florida Swing, when he carried 54-hole leads into Bay Hill and the Players and finished solo second in both. His best finish in 18 starts since is a T-18—in related news, he’s under no illusions regarding his age and said he signed an NDA to not talk about the Saudi-backed golf league, which should tell you where his head is at.

Age: 37 World Ranking: 115 Players starts: 9
Best Players finish: T-11, 2014
His play dropped off considerably after his U.S. Open victory in 2019 as he’s struggled to stay healthy, but there have been some significant strides recently, particularly in Florida: he finished top five at the Honda and entered Sunday at Bay Hill in contention. Has missed more cuts than he’s made at TPC Sawgrass.

Age: 39 World Ranking: 62 Players starts: 4
Best Players finish: 10, 2017
No one in world golf hits more balls, and it’s paying off—he was T-6 against a loaded field at the WM Phoenix Open and T-5 in his last start at the Honda Classic. Knows his game, plays his hold-off cut and grinds it out. Some serious value in DFS formats.

Age: 38 World Ranking: 39 Players starts: 6
Best Players finish: T-2, 2015
Would be the first to tell you he simply cannot keep up on the beefier PGA Tour layouts. Good for him, then, that TPC Sawgrass isn’t a Torrey Pines or Bethpage Black. Nearly won his Players debut in 2015, falling in a playoff to Rickie Fowler, and already has two top-10 finishes this calendar year. His putter (sixth in strokes gained) continues to cover up some of his long-game deficiencies, but poor ball-striking gets exposed in big events, and he hasn’t posted a top-10 in a major or Players since the 2018 Open at Carnoustie.

Age: 26 World Ranking: 68 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: MC, 2021
Former World No. 1 amateur is in the midst of a breakout season. It began with a solo second at the Fortinet and his T-7 against a stacked field at the Genesis says great things about his ability to hang in big-time events. A well-rounded player who does everything well but nothing exceptional (yet), he ranks between 24th and 62nd in the main strokes-gained categories. Has yet to make a cut in five career starts in majors or Players, but he’s a much more polished player these days.

Age: 41 World Ranking: 43 Players starts: 16
Best Players finish: T-4, 2014
The former World No. 1 has five finishes of T-12 or better in his last nine starts as his revitalized work with coach Sean Foley is beginning to pay off. Withdrew from the ’21 Players on Thursday morning with back spasms, so this will be his first go at TPC Sawgrass since 2019, when he was No. 2 in the world.

Age: 35 World Ranking: 47 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-35, 2019
Perhaps you’ve never heard of him. But if the Ryder Cup were tomorrow, there’s a good chance he makes the team. Had to Monday qualify into last year’s Wells Fargo Championship but caught fire in the summer, winning the Barbasol and posting four other top-10s last year. Already has three top-10s on the wraparound campaign but, and it’s a significant but, he shot 80 in the first round of the API.

Age: 28 World Ranking: 12 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: T-3, 2021
Last year’s T-3 might’ve been the peak of the Bryson-hype; he’d just come off an electric win at Bay Hill, then contended all week at a TPC Sawgrass course that seems designed to hamstring his power. The 12 months since, as Chris Jones detailed so eloquently for Golf Digest, have been a struggle—on and off the course. Off it, well, read Chris’ profile. On it, DeChambeau has just three-top finishes in his last 18 starts and has now gone more than a year without a victory. He’s dropped outside the world top 10 and hasn’t played since withdrawing from the Saudi International with a wrist injury that he said was the result of a fall, not overuse. Withdrew from his title defense at the API because the wrist isn’t quite there yet. Stay away.

Age: 44 World Ranking: 27 Players starts: 13
Best Players finish: T-5, 2021
A stalwart member of the European Ryder Cup core that might’ve had their last hurrah at Whistling Straits. Still, the Englishman continues to be one of the more consistent players in world golf, having missed just one cut in his last 18 starts. Coming into Bay Hill he’d finished T-24 or better in each of his four starts in 2022, though only one of those came on the PGA Tour. Been feast-or-famine at TPC Sawgrass; he has five finishes of T-23 or better at the Players, including a T-5 last year, but also has six missed cuts and two withdrawals.

Age: 36 World Ranking: 26 Players starts: 8
Best Players finish: T-9, 2021
The big man from Ohio has three wins in the last 18 months and now sits comfortably inside the top 50 in the world rankings. Has been admirably honest about his flirtations with the Saudi golf league—he has SAUDI GOLF on his back, after all—and has said multiple times he’s trying to make as much money as possible before retiring at age 44. This is the biggest purse on the PGA Tour, so he’ll surely be up for it, and he went T-9/T-9/T-8 through Florida at The Concession, Bay Hill and TPC Sawgrass last year.

Age: 30 World Ranking: 46 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: 7, 2021
Fronting a golden age for Canadian golf and might have the silkiest tempo on the PGA Tour. Made a spirited run on Sunday of last year’s Players before the putter went ice cold down the stretch. That’s been a theme for Conners, who has been a top-10 ball-striker for a few years now but has struggled to hole putts come Sunday afternoons.

Age: 28 World Ranking: 10 Players starts: 4
Best Players finish: T-17, 2021
Earned as impressive a win as you’ll ever see to begin the year at Sentry TOC, where he shot 34 under par to set a new 72-hole tour scoring record and hold off Jon Rahm by a single shot. Always had an elite short game but it’s his ball striking, and particularly his iron play, that’s pushed him into top-10 in the world status. Rough weeks in his first three Players but made some progress with a T-17 last year.

Age: 42 World Ranking: 48 Players starts: 21
Best Players finish: WIN, 2008
Showed at last year’s Ryder Cup that he has plenty of good golf remaining, and the solid form has continued since. His last five starts have produced four finishes of T-24 or better. Remains an elite ball-striker all these years later—over his last 50 rounds, he ranks eighth in SG/ball-striking, which combines off the tee and approach metrics. Clearly knows how to play TPC Sawgrass, as he’s got a victory and four other top-four finishes at the Players. A semi-sleeper.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 19 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: T-12, 2019
Flirted with cracking the world’s top 10 after he won a WGC last July and finished ninth in the FedEx Cup, but it’s been a rather slow start to the season with just one top-10 finish. Ranks outside the top 100 approach, around the green, putting, tee-to-green and overall. He does, however, have a plot-your-way-around game that plays well on finicky course like TPC Sawgrass, and his two Players starts have yielded a T-22 and a T-12.

Age: 32 World Ranking: 20 Players starts: 5
Best Players finish: T-22, 2019
Finally answered the when-will-he-win-again question in a big way at last year’s Northern Trust. Been a slow start to 2022 by his lofty standards, with two missed cuts and zero top-15 finishes in his first six events. Played five in a row from AMEX through the Genesis but got two weeks of rest back home in Arizona before the Players. Hasn’t had much success at TPC Sawgrass with three missed cuts in five starts.

Age: 25 World Ranking: 16 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: MC, 2021
Got to No. 10 in the world on the strength of a terrific 2021 that included two wins, two runners-up and two third-place finishes. A terrific 2021 in normal PGA Tour events, that is—he missed the cut in the Players and the U.S. Open, withdrew from the PGA and finished T-76th at the Open. Was T-19 or better in his first five starts of the wraparound campaign but came to Bay Hill off three straight missed cuts. Improved in Orlando and was T-6 going into the weekend. The next step in his career development is contending in a big-time event. Like this one.

Age: 28 World Ranking: 14 Players starts: T-4, 2014
Best Players finish: T-4, 2014
A win at Pebble Beach, which seemed likely through 63 holes, would’ve gone a long way toward preserving the comeback train’s momentum. Instead, he was leapfrogged by Tom Hoge, and followed it up with two meh weeks in Phoenix and Los Angeles. He’ll always prefer a course that allows some room for the big miss, which still rears its head occasionally, and Sawgrass isn’t that track—after finishing T-4 in his Players debut he’s had no success at all, with four missed cuts, a T-41 and a T-48.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 36 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: MC, 2021
Followed up his career-boosting win at Riviera last year with a win in the first event of the wraparound season, the Fortinet Championship in September. Posted three top-15 finishes on the West Coast largely due to a hot putter on Poa annua; how sustainable that will be in Florida on Bermuda remains to be seen. One of the funniest players on tour has also become one of the hardest workers.

Age: 41 World Ranking: 34 Players starts: 19
Best Players finish: WIN, 2004
Been in the news for things not directly related to his golf game, which remains perhaps the most aesthetically beautiful on Earth. He wore the same sweater four straight days at Riviera and all but confirmed that he’s in serious talks to play the rumored Saudi golf-league. Noise aside, his game’s in good shape. Came to Bay Hill with three top-10s in his last four starts and started well there as well despite opting to play without a driver in an effort to hit more fairways. Making his 20th Players appearance a full 18 years after he announced himself by winning on that sweaty day at TPC Sawgrass in 2004.

Age: 35 World Ranking: 22 Players starts: 8
Best Players finish: T-13, 2015
Quietly enjoying a very nice run of form that dates back to last fall, when he won the DP World Tour’s version of the Players, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Has made 16 straight cuts worldwide and came to Bay Hill riding three straight finishes of T-16 or better and looked set to keep the streak going after a really strong start at Arnie’s event (shared lead after 54 holes). Driving it well (22nd in SG/off the tee) and rolling it beautifully (13th) but his iron play (176th) has been rather spotty, which is concerning on a track as demanding as TPC Sawgrass.

Age: 30 World Ranking: 23 Players starts: 5
Best Players finish: T-41, 2017
Not a huge fan of playing in America, it seems, as Bay Hill marked his first stateside start in 2022. But he is a big fan of Bay Hill—where he won in 2020 and entered the weekend two back this time around. Began the year with a pair of top-six finishes in the Middle Eastern portion of the DP World Tour schedule; he’s been one of the best players on that tour for years but has been a consistent disappointment in the big events in the U.S. If we define “big events” as the majors and Players, he’s missed the cut in six of his last eight, and he hasn’t made the weekend at TPC Sawgrass since 2017.

Age: 34 World Ranking: 35 Players starts: 6
Best Players finish: 8, 2021
The Ryder Cup beating lit a fire in the Irishman, and he’s playing some wonderful golf at the minute. He could well have won the Honda Classic if it weren’t for a poorly timed downpour of biblical proportions, but he can hang his hat on a 67-67 weekend and a bogey-free Sunday. It was his fifth straight finish of T-25 or better, and he’s finally showing that he can be the type of player who won that 2019 Open Championship so convincingly.

Age: 21 World Ranking: 21 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-29, 2021
Turned pro as a teenager and secured his card shortly thereafter. As such, it’s hard to believe he’s more than a year younger than Viktor Hovland and almost two younger than Collin Morikawa. The Chilean blitzed a top-tier field at a top-tier course in winning wire-to-wire at the Genesis, which surely did massive things for his confidence. His swing, in particular his head movement, might cause secondhand back pain but those in the know gush over his clubface stability through the hitting zone. Steadily climbing the World Ranking and figures to be a top-10 level player for the next decade.

Age: 25 World Ranking: 51 Players starts: First
The frontrunner for rookie of the year. He’s the ultra-rare case where the PGA Tour player might not have the coolest job in the family—his dad, David, is the longtime head professional at the vaunted Sleepy Hollow Country Club in New York. Cameron all but locked up his card with a T-2 at the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall and, far more impressively, took solo second against a loaded field at the Genesis. Hits it miles and has that Watch-how-good-I-am swagger all the best players seem to possess. A star in the making.

Age: 27 World Ranking: 25 Players starts: 5
Best Players finish:
T-9
Caught a rough break at the Genesis: He was coming in off back-to-back top-10s and finished fifth at Riviera in 2021 … but caught the flu (still a thing, apparently) and withdrew Thursday morning. Has fully recovered and been in grind mode back home in South Florida. Played beautifully throughout last year’s Florida Swing and off to another stolid start in 2022 as he entered Sunday at Bay Hill inside the top 10. Factored all weekend at TPC Sawgrass until a flat Sunday dropped him to T-9. Straight hitter plays difficult courses very well and might be the best putter in the world on Bermuda.

Age: 37 World Ranking: 9 Players starts: 12
Best Players finish: T-5, 2019
A bit jarring to see him down to No. 9 in the world, his lowest ranking since March 2016. It hasn’t been a total disaster since his torrid 2020—he’s had six top-10 finishes since his Masters victory—but Dustin Johnson is here for wins, and he didn’t get any in 2021 and consequently missed the Sentry TOC for the first time in years. The cause? The driver, for years his greatest weapon, has regressed significantly. But if anyone is capable of ripping off a run out of nowhere, it is DJ, though this may not be the best week for it to happen; he has just one top-10 finish in 12 career starts around TPC Sawgrass.

Age: 25 World Ranking: 30 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-17, 2021
Fearless and plays a somewhat similar game to Collin Morikawa; they’re the two best iron players at the minute, and both tend to struggle with the flatstick. Zalatoris’ short putts can be downright difficult to watch, and it’s the reason he wasn’t able to close out the Farmers Insurance Open. After Scottie Scheffler’s win in Phoenix, Willy Z might be the best player in the world without a PGA Tour title. That said, the guy nearly won his debut Masters—no stage is too big for him, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if his first victory comes in a massive event.

Age: 31 World Ranking: 15 Players starts: 5
Best Players finish: T-11, 2018
He’d dropped as low as No. 20 in the world before the WM Phoenix Open, a number he called embarrassing—he then finished T-3 to jump up five spots. Koepka’s last four starts tell the story: MC, T-3, MC, T-16. He has shown signs of returning to the 2017-19 player and insists he’s as healthy as he’s ever been—though he seems to say that quite often—but the consistency simply hasn’t been there. Former longtime equipment free agent signed a full-bag-and-ball deal with Srixon at the beginning of the year and his ball-striking has been only OK since. Will be playing in his first Players since 2019, as he missed 2021 due to injury and the 2020 Players was scratch for COVID after 18 holes. Has not won since last year’s WM Phoenix Open.

Age: 39 World Ranking: 13 Players starts:10
Best Players finish: T-2, 2017
You’ll be shocked to learn that King Louis’ best finish in a Players is second. We’re sorry, we couldn’t resist after last year, when Oosthuizen had legitimate shots to win three major championships and failed to take any of them. He has not won an event anywhere since 2018 and still has never won a tournament on U.S. soil. But being known as the perpetual runner-up can be seen as a compliment. In the words of Ricky Bobby: “There’s nothing wrong with silver! it’s not like you’re finishing 18th!”

Age: 23 World Ranking: 24 Players starts: 2
Best Players finish: T-17, 2021
Off to a fine start to the 2021-22 season, with a victory at the Shriners Children’s Open last fall and three other top-10s. Fastly becoming one of the best drivers of the ball, and the stats tell a similar story: he’s fourth in SG/off the tee, third in SG/around the green and sixth in SG/overall. Bermuda has been his best putting surface—his first tour win came at the 2020 Honda Classic, the last full tournament before the COVID hiatus—and he seems to be constantly overlooked in betting conversations. Had a strange Players last year: 72-66-77-66. The low ones are in there, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him holding the trophy.

Age: 28 World Ranking: 8 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: T-2, 2018
Few have been as consistent over the past two years, but many have done more winning. Olympic gold medal aside, he has not won a PGA Tour event in more than three years—hard to believe given how often he gives himself chances. Ranks inside the top 50 in all key strokes-gained categories and almost never misses a cut—he’s made 17 in a row—unless it’s the Players. Finished second in his first appearance at TPC Sawgrass but he missed the cut his last two tries. Comes in off a T-3 at the WM Phoenix Open and a T-13 at the Genesis. You expect him to hang around the lead all week, but can he finish?

Age: 30 World Ranking: 11 Players starts: 7
Best Players finish: T-7, 2016
Hard to believe he only just turned 30 because he’s been relevant for the better part of a decade. Seems to be playing with a newfound freedom after delivering Japan its first men’s major championship; he’s added two victories since then, one in his home country and another with an all-time 3-wood in a playoff at the Sony Open. Xs and Os wise, it’s the same story: a world-class ball-striker who needs to putt only decently to get into contention. And when he’s in contention recently, he’s closed.

Age: 30 World Ranking: 33 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-5, 2021
Soft-spoken Oklahoma State grad has been a rising star for a while but took quite the leap this fall, picking up his first win at the RSM Classic and posting four other top-11 finishes to begin his season. Swings the club beautifully and ranks in the top 30 over his last 50 rounds in SG/tee to green, approach and total. Shared the lead entering the final round at Bay Hill and closed with 67 at last year’s Players to sneak a top-five finish. It’s a funny name, but get used to seeing GOOCH on leader boards.

Age: 32 World Ranking: 5 Players starts: 11
Best Players finish: WIN, 2019
His last significant win was the 2019 Players, and his major drought is in its eighth year. Struggled with his swing in 2021–with longtime coach Michael Bannon unable to travel due to COVID restrictions, McIlroy began working with Pete Cowen at last year’s Players, only to switch back to Bannon not long thereafter—and yet he still managed to win twice last year. Off to a strong start in 2022: T-12/T-3 in the Middle East, a T-10 at the Genesis Invitational and contending at Bay Hill. Missed the cut at last year’s Players but obviously has some positive memories there to draw back on. He’d surely prefer a win in the second big event of the year, the one in April, but a second gold Players statue wouldn’t hurt.

Age: 28 World Ranking: 17 Players starts: 6
Best Players finish: T-9, 2016, 2021
He is golf’s Forgotten Man—you might not think of him in the same league as a Thomas or McIlroy, but the advanced statistics do. He ranks sixth on tour in SG/overall over his last 75 rounds and has top-10s in more than 40 percent of his events since the post-COVID restart. Held a five-shot lead at the Honda Classic through three rounds but saw it disappear within an hour—that’s what happens when you make just two putts longer than three feet (and none longer than seven) all day. That loss will sting, but he’s been one of the best players in the world for a couple years now and has a top-10 at last year’s Players to build on. Ranks fourth in SG/approach and 39th in off the tee despite being outside the top 150 in driving distance.

Age: 28 World Ranking: 7 Players starts: 6
Best Players finish: WIN, 2021
He’s been battling a stubbornly inconsistent putter and still hasn’t finished worse than T-20 in his six starts on the wraparound season. That’s how good his ball-striking has been, both this year and in years’ past—he’s one of the five best iron players on tour and rips off birdies in bunches, as he did on Sunday to win last year’s Players. Feels he should be challenging for world No. 1. He’ll need to start winning in order for that to manifest, and he hasn’t done so since last year at TPC Sawgrass. What better time to get back in the mix than right now? One hot putting week could well do the trick.

Age: 29 World Ranking: 3 Players starts: 3
Best Players finish: T-22, 2017
A certain Spaniard might take issue, but you can make a not-ridiculous case that Patrick Cantlay has been the best player in the world dating back to last summer. You remember it, the Summer of Patty Ice, when he won that electrifying playoff over Bryson DeChambeau, held off that same Spaniard to win the FedEx Cup, starred at the Ryder Cup and became an interview-room darling in the process? He then took the entire fall season off but has managed to keep the heater going through the winter—he has four top-10 finishes in five starts this year, including a playoff loss to Scottie Scheffler at the WM Phoenix Open, and is a combined 80 under par in those five events. Still, he hasn’t even semi-challenged for a major or a Players, a glaring big-event weakness in his increasingly impressive résumé.

Age: 25 World Ranking: 6 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: MC, 2021
You won’t find his swing in the instruction manual, but it’s often the sui generis moves that produce the best results. Texas grad is all the way up sixth in the world thanks to a really strong start to 2022. Won his first (of many, we’re sure) PGA Tour event at the WM Phoenix Open, backed it up with another top-10 at the Genesis and had crept into contention at Bay Hill by Sunday. Not short on confidence and beating an in-form Jon Rahm in Ryder Cup singles last September certainly didn’t hurt that cause. Plays a distinctly modern game: he hits it miles far and miles high and rolls it well. It’s a recipe that produces a ton of birdies—he’s averaging more than five a round, sixth-best on tour—and has held up in major championships, though he did miss the cut in his first Players appearance last year.

Age: 27 World Ranking: 1 Players starts: 4
Best Players finish: T-9, 2021
Been a model of consistency since he turned professional, with a Tiger like top-10 percentage over his career and 16 top-10s in 25 starts last season. You half-wish he’d win a bit more often, but now we’re nitpicking. He was the only man to finish in the top 10 in all four majors and the Players Championship last year, and a few weeks ago he was living in that rare the-favorite-in-any-tournament-he-plays-in territory. But he needed a nervy five-footer to make the cut on the number at the Genesis and got off to another slow start at Bay Hill, which has dulled some of the shine. The main culprit is the putter—he dropped more than two shots on the greens in both the Genesis and the WM Phoenix Open. Still, both the World Rankings and the advanced stats agree that he is the finest player on Earth, and he figures to win at least one of these before he’s done.

Age: 24 World Ranking: 4 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: MC, 2021
Won three times in five starts toward the end of 2021 to graduate from great-young-player status to one of the very best in the world. He entered Bay Hill having finished T-4 or better in five of his last seven starts, then carried the solo lead into the weekend. An exceptional ball-striker whose short game continues to improve, though it’s still not all the way there—he’s still prone to stretches where he looks genuinely uncomfortable on and around greens, and he had one of those en route to shooting a back-nine 40 Saturday afternoon at Bay Hill to drop out of the lead. For all his successes he hasn’t won an elite-field event yet, and you wonder how the chipping and putting would hold up down the stretch under the gun. He, Morikawa and Rahm figure to hover around the top five in the World Ranking for many years to come. Made two doubles in his opening round at last year’s Players and wound up missing the cut by two.

Age: 25 World Ranking: 2 Players starts: 1
Best Players finish: T-41, 2021
The Collin Morikawa file reads something like this: transcendent iron player, very solid driver of the ball, inconsistent putter. Would you believe me, then, if I told you he ranks second on tour in SG/putting? The sample size is very small, but Morikawa’s switch to the saw putting grip appears to be paying dividends and it’s leading to a consistency that few, if any, have been able to match. He’s finished T-7 or better in each of his four starts on the wrap-around season and managed to slip in a win at the DP World Tour Championship late last year to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai. His Players debut produced a disappointing T-41 finish a year ago, but he’s the type to block that from memory and instead hone in on the 66 he shot in the final round. Was in full chasedown mode of Joaquin Niemann in his last start at the Genesis but ran out of holes and had to “settle” for a runner-up finish. The swing is clicking, the putter is cooperating and this course will accentuate his greatest strength: accuracy. He’s the man to beat, and should everyone fail to do so, he’ll finish the week as the World No. 1.

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