The first two rounds of this week’s Players Championship at Sawgrass in Florida will include the top three players in the world.
The current leader in the global rankings, Spain’s Jon Rahm, has won five of his last ten events, but Scottie Scheffler, who is ranked second, and Rory McIlroy, who is ranked third, can overtake him with a victory.
Because he decided to join the LIV Golf circuit last year, Australia’s Open winner Cameron Smith, who won the PGA Tour’s marquee event last year, won’t be defending his title.
Anirban Lahiri of India and Paul Casey of England, who placed second and third respectively in 2022, are also absent because they too have chosen to participate in the Saudi Arabian-funded setup.
The 2019 winner of this competition, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, enters the competition in strong form after placing second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week.
American Scheffler finished in a tie for fourth place at Bay Hill, whereas Rahm, who was in first place after the first round, finished in a tie for 39th place after shooting consecutive 76s in his final two rounds.
The star-studded group will start the first round of play on Thursday at 12:56 GMT from the 10th hole.
At 17:34, Matt Fitzpatrick of England, Viktor Hovland of Norway, and Shane Lowry of Ireland begin their challenge.
The first two rounds at the course, which is renowned for its island green on the par-three 17th hole, will also feature American pals Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. At 17:56, they take the tee with fellow countryman Max Homa.