Five stories that could be fun on Sunday
Here’s a look at five more stories that could make for great entertainment come Sunday afternoon at The Players Championship.
11. Tiger Woods
Sitting just outside the top 10 in the world is the man who is always a story when he tees it up…and I suppose also when he doesn’t. Of course, we’re talking about Tiger Woods, who, of course, is the player I mentioned earlier that has the only chance of anyone this week to join Jack Nicklaus as a three-time Players champ. The 2001 and 2013 winner hasn’t looked his best in 2019 but has still managed to finish in the top 20 in each of his three starts, his best outing coming in Mexico where he tied for 10th.
A neck injury kept Tiger out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week but he’s pain-free coming into the week and looks to be ready to go. He’s paired with defending champion Webb Simpson and defending Masters champion Patrick Reed for the first two rounds, which should be quite entertaining. Woods being in contention on Sunday is certainly a possibility and I’m sure NBC would welcome that.
14. Tony Finau
Tony Finau has made the cut just once in his three starts at The Players Championship, finishing tied for 57th in 2018, but he just keeps getting better and better and it feels like that breakthrough win is just around the corner. It’s crazy to think that someone with his talent has only one PGA Tour win, that coming at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, because he’s played brilliant golf over the last year.
It looked as if that really big win was coming at the WGC-HSBC Champions last fall but he came up just short, losing in a playoff to Xander Schauffele. He finished in the top 10 in three of the four major championships last year and the timing seems right for him to get that life-changing win. Perhaps this is the week.
25. Jordan Spieth
Since tying for fourth in his debut at The Players Championship in 2014, there’s just something about this tournament that doesn’t fit for Jordan Spieth. He missed the cut from 2015-2017 and although he did make the weekend a season ago, he finished tied for 41st, certainly nothing to write home about, especially for a three-time major champion that was once the top-ranked player in the world.
Unfortunately, the last year just hasn’t been a great one for Spieth. He’s dropped to 25th in the world rankings and following a third-place finish at Augusta, he hasn’t been in contention at all. In his five starts in 2019, here are his finishes: MC, T-35, T-45, T-51, T-54. That’s not the Jordan Spieth we came to know and love. If he can find a way out of this slump and somehow get into contention, this could make for a great story come Sunday.
32. Adam Scott
Speaking of former world number one players, we come to Adam Scott, who I’ll go ahead and admit to you is one of my favorite players of all time. It’s been more than three years since we’ve seen Scott in the winner’s circle, his last win coming at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2016, but the 13-time PGA Tour winner does have good history at TPC Sawgrass. Yes, his win at The Players was 15 years ago but he still knows his way around this golf course.
Over the last five years, Scott has the lowest cumulative score to par and hasn’t finished lower than 12th in the last three years. He missed the cut in his most recent outing at the Honda Classic but showed good flashes with a T-7 at the Genesis and a runner-up at Torrey Pines. Don’t count the 38-year-old Aussie out just yet.
37. Henrik Stenson
Another former winner at The Players, his victory coming back in 2009, Henrik Stenson could be another fun comeback story on Sunday. Once ranked as high as second in the world, the 42-year-old Swede has struggled. Since the start of 2018, Stenson has dropped 27 spots in the world rankings and his start to 2019 hasn’t helped.
Stenson missed the cut in his first three starts, all coming on the European Tour and finished tied for 54th at the WGC-Mexico. He did look better at Bay Hill, finishing in a tie for 17th and it would be great to see him get into a groove because when he turns it on, he can still be very dangerous.