Wednesday, 9 March 2022

The Players: Brad Faxon on Rory McIlroy


Rory McIlroy won The Players in 2019 but missed the cut in last year’s title defence at TPC Sawgrass; Watch round-the-clock coverage from the PGA Tour’s flagship event live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Players Championship channel
Last Updated: 10/03/22 6:11am











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Open champion Collin Morikawa says that the competitors treat The Players Championship as golf’s fifth major and players ‘breathe differently’ when they turn up to TPC Sawgrass.




Open champion Collin Morikawa says that the competitors treat The Players Championship as golf’s fifth major and players ‘breathe differently’ when they turn up to TPC Sawgrass.


Brad Faxon has backed Rory McIlroy to bounce back from his Bay Hill disappointment and draw on memories of his past Sawgrass success to impress at The Players.
McIlroy has posted top-20 finishes in every worldwide event since August but squandered the chance of a first victory of the year at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, carding back-to-back rounds of 76 over the weekend to slip out of contention.
The four-time major winner also struggled in the delayed defence of his 2019 Players Championship title last March, missing the cut by some distance and experiencing issues with his swing, although Faxon feels McIlroy’s game is in better shape to challenge for a second TPC Sawgrass title.








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Nick Dougherty and Rich Beem discuss which European players could be in contention to win The Players at TPC Sawgrass this week, with three of the top 10 in the world being Europeans.



Nick Dougherty and Rich Beem discuss which European players could be in contention to win The Players at TPC Sawgrass this week, with three of the top 10 in the world being Europeans.


“He got off to a great start at Bay Hill last week to follow a top-10 at Riviera, but top-10s aren’t enough for McIlroy,” Faxon told Sky Sports. “In his mind, he played the worst tournament ever last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and still finished tied-13th!
“I know he can go back to some great memories from his 2019 win at Sawgrass, with how well he hit the ball and well he putted that week. He also has the two victories last year, which were won differently to how he usually wins.








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Players champion from 2019 Rory McIlroy says he is feeling more comfortable this year having missed the cut after shooting 79 in the last round of the competition.



Players champion from 2019 Rory McIlroy says he is feeling more comfortable this year having missed the cut after shooting 79 in the last round of the competition.


“Last year’s titles were both won with great putting, great short game and great attitude and mindset, which is exactly what you will need here. There is no player that is going to hit it on every green and two putt each, you’re going to have to hit some shots which might be frightening to do, so I think that can help McIlroy.
“A lot of his consistency has to do with going back to his old coach, Michael Bannon, who is someone he has shared everything in his life with really, on and off the course. McIlroy has had some great putting weeks and he is much more confident in his putting stroke, which is as technically sound as I have ever seen.”








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PGA Tour players reflect on 40 years of the tour’s flagship event being held at the iconic TPC Sawgrass.



PGA Tour players reflect on 40 years of the tour’s flagship event being held at the iconic TPC Sawgrass.


Forecast to favour experience?
Widespread rain and the threat of thunderstorms dominate the forecast for the first two rounds, with the rain set to continue into Saturday and bring with it winds up to 30 miles per hour.








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Sky Sports Golf’s Rich Beem explains the challenges of the notorious 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. So how will the current players fare at The Players this week?



Sky Sports Golf’s Rich Beem explains the challenges of the notorious 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. So how will the current players fare at The Players this week?


The cold, wet and windy weather will bring extra challenges to an already demanding TPC Sawgrass, with the tournament potentially experiencing its first weather stoppages since the second round was disrupted in 2016.
“The forecast for the next three days is dreadful, so there’s going to be some delays and some slow play,” Faxon admitted. “It’s most likely players won’t finish their rounds each day because there isn’t much daylight here.








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Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, and Justin Thomas discuss the impact that the inclement weather could have on this week’s Players Championship.



Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, and Justin Thomas discuss the impact that the inclement weather could have on this week’s Players Championship.


“The course conditions earlier this week weren’t very firm to begin with and coming off of Bay Hill, where it was so fast, firm and windy, it’ll be a big adjustment for the players to hit a shot that lands on the green and stops immediately. Then, later in the week, they might have to contend with spinning the ball too much.
“I asked a few players how the rough was compared to last week at Bay Hill which was incredibly difficult, and they said it’s every bit as difficult. If players miss the fairway they’re going to have a really hard time getting the ball on the green.




The Players Championship Live
March 10, 2022, 11:30am
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“The forecast may be of benefit to players that have played here a few times, where they have seen the wind coming out of the different direction, as they will know that can completely change the game plan and how they have to deal with that.”
Race for world No 1 heats up at Sawgrass








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Scottie Scheffler explains why so many young players are now dominating the men’s game.



Scottie Scheffler explains why so many young players are now dominating the men’s game.


Jon Rahm starts the week top of the world rankings, a position he has held since July, although Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler can all leapfrog the Spaniard into the world No 1 spot.
“If you went back 10-15 years ago it was always Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson in contention every week, but now you’ve got a dozen players in their 20s who could win almost every tournament,” Faxon added.




The Players Championship Live
March 10, 2022, 4:00pm
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“The two players you’ll see on the leaderboard on Sunday, in my opinion, are Patrick Cantlay – who is an assassin when he gets near the lead – and Hovland. I love Hovland’s self-deprecating self, especially when he talks about his chipping and pitching where he’s almost dead last!
“Hovland and Collin Morikawa have very similar games – they like to cut the ball and they never seem to miss the fairway to the left. They’re both streaky good with their putters and extremely confident when they are in contention or in the hunt.”
Watch The Players throughout the week live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Players Championship channel. Live coverage of the opening round begins on Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports The Players.


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