The 2022 PLAYERS Championship drew nearly every top-100 player in the current world golf rankings.
Missing, however, is Dallas resident and former SMU star Bryson DeChambeau. The No. 12-ranked golfer in the world has fallen from No. 5 at the start of the year, and he’s still not ready to return to competitive golf following hip and hand injuries.
The Dallas resident and former Texas Longhorn won the Phoenix Open last month. He then captured the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational last week in tough scoring conditions.
Following his win at Bay Hill, Scheffler said:
“It feels great to be able to win here. To be completely honest with you, right now I’m exhausted. This course is a total beat-down trying to play.”
Scheffler’s rise has happened with a new caddie on his bag, Ted Scott. He’s also carrying renewed confidence following his Ryder Cup win as a member of Team USA last fall.
“I put a lot of work in at home on my game and then in the gym. So my body feels great. I’ve been able to play some good golf, and I’ve been hitting it really nicely. I’ve just made little improvements over the years, and I’m starting to see them pay off a little bit, which is really awesome.”
Texans to watch at THE PLAYERS Championship
Scheffler is up to No. 5 in the world rankings, and he’s become one of the top golfers to target at this week’s PLAYERS Championship despite missing the cut in his first appearance last year playing TPC Sawgrass. His chances to win the 2022 Masters keep rising, and his odds range from 22/1 to 35/1.
Scheffler is one of the ten leading favorites to win a green jacket at Augusta National.
Other popular golfers at THE PLAYERS Championship with ties to Texas include:
- Jordan Spieth – Dallas, University of Texas
- Will Zalatoris – Plano
Spieth already owns a green jacket as the 2015 Masters winner. The 3-time major champion is holding steady at No. 14 in the world rankings.
But since THE PLAYERS Championship moved back to its March date in 2019, Spieth has finished T48 and missed the cut. He’s also missed the cut in three other appearances. His best finish at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course was a tie for fourth in his 2014 debut.
Zalatoris finished 21st on debut last year but failed to break 70 in four rounds on the par-72 Stadium Course, which plays to 7,256 yards this year. Zalatoris is ranked No. 30 in the world.
Other golfers with Texas ties to watch this week include:
- Patrick Reed – Houston, born in San Antonio and No. 28 in the world
- Abraham Ancer – Born McAllen, and No. 21 in the world
- Cameron Champ – Houston, Texas A&M
- Ryan Palmer – Colleyville, Texas A&M
- Jimmy Walker – Boerne, Baylor
- Jhonattan Vegas – Austin, University of Texas
- Harry Higgs – Dallas, SMU
- Kramer Hickok – Dallas, University of Texas
Patrick Reed finished T22 and T47 in the 2021 and 2019 events. Cameron Champ missed the cut in 2021 and withdrew in 2019.
Ryan Palmer finished T17 and missed the cut. Jimmy Walker missed the cut and finished T67.
Jhonny Vegas is a Venezuelan-turned-Texan who spent his formative years in Austin and played golf for the Texas Longhorns. He finished T61 last year, but T3 in the 2019 PLAYERS with a 14-under total after shooting 67-66 over the weekend.
Harry Higgs and Kramer Hickok are both winless on the PGA Tour. They both made their debut in THE PLAYERS Championship last year, and Higgs finished T29 while Hickok was T58.
Abraham Ancer has found the most success of the group at TPC Sawgrass with his accuracy and strong approach play since 2019. Ancer also ranks top 5 over that span at TPC Sawgrass in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Ball Striking and Off-the-Tee stats.
Course and tournament information
- Course: TPC Sawgrass. Stadium Course by Pete Dye
- Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
- Date: Mar. 10-13
- Par: 72 / Yardage 7,256
- Fairways / Rough: Bermudagrass
- Greens: Bermudagrass
- TV / Online: Golf Channel, NBC (Sat and Sun), PGA Tour Live
- Twitter & Hashtag: @THEPLAYERSChamp
The course played to a 72.04 average last year and was the 16th-toughest course on tour. There is little to no advantage to being a big bomber or smashing drives.
Rather, Pete Dye designs generally force strategic, positional tee shots, and penalize wayward approaches with complex bunkering at TPC Sawgrass.
The Stadium Course requires precision ball striking and rewards players with an elite approach and short game. But the ability to gain strokes on approach and around the green is more difficult than average, as small greens place more emphasis on shot-making.
Yet golfers have to be useful in getting it up and down, and there are nearly 90 bunkers with many tricky, smaller ones around the greens to trap poor approach shots or runoffs from the greens.
Water lurks on every hole but only comes into play for the pros on 11-12 holes. That includes the famous island green at No. 17.
The top golfers on all courses designed by Pete Dye with the top combined performances in Tee-to-Green and Ball Striking include:
- Rory McIlroy
- Paul Casey
- Patrick Cantlay
- Sergio Garcia
- Justin Rose
- Jason Day
- Abraham Ancer
- Dustin Johnson