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The Players Championship 2018 Preview

The PGA Tour heads to Ponte Vedra Beach this week for the 'unofficial fifth major' that is The Players Championship.

The world's best golfers head to the Florida coast and will battle it out for a winner's share of a prize fund dwarfed only in 2018 by that on offer at the Masters and the U.S. Open - the latter taking place in five weeks at Shinnecock Hills.

Here's our preview to help whet the appetite a little further for what promises to be one of the most exciting tournaments on this season's golfing calendar.

The Course:

TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course)
Yardage: 7,189 yds
Par: 72

Located in the heart of Ponte Vedra Beach, TPC Sawgrass opened in 1980 and was the brainchild of master golf course designer Pete Dye. The very first TPC Network golf course, it has also been the host venue of The Players Championship since 1982.

The course provides a stern test with short, medium and long holes demanding thought and strategy as well as impressively struck golf shots.

And then, as if you didn't know, there's the 17th hole...

Field Watch

Last year's Players Championship was won by the then 21-year-old Si Woo Kim. Prevailing by three shots over Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter, the South Korean was in imperious form and thoroughly deserved the biggest win of his career to that point - and to date.

The headlining featured group for the first two days' play will include the last three FedEx Cup champions - Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. Of the three, only Spieth is without a win in 2018 although he was an impressive third at Augusta National in his last start.

Possibly the biggest talking point will be the combination of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as playing partners with the duo joined by Rickie Fowler. The last time the two major legends played together at TPC Sawgrass we saw one of the most famous putts in Woods' glittering career...

There's an all-English flavour to one of the groups on Thursday and Friday with the 2017 European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood teeing off alongside compatriots Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

Winner of last week's Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day forms an interesting grouping with 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia and 2016 Open champion Henrik Stenson.

Who Wins It?

Jon Rahm should be considered as having as good a chance as any, not least for the fact that he's coming to Ponte Vedra Beach off the back of a stunning win at his national open, the Open de Espana. He was also T-4 the week previous at the Masters. His approach play will need to be up to scratch to feature though.

If it's approach play that will get the job done around TPC Sawgrass then look no further than Englishman Paul Casey. Consistency is guaranteed and few players boast similar laser-like accuracy with irons in hand.

Are you looking forward to the Players Championship this year? Who wins it? Let us know below.

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