2023 Players Championship

Don Wassall

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The 2023 golf season kicks into high gear this week with the Players teeing off tomorrow, a semi-major followed by the four majors the next four months followed by the FedEx playoffs in August.

It wasn't that long ago that the prize money for taking a title first reached $1 million. Well, the winner of this week's Players Championship will pocket a cool $4.5 million. The skyrocketing prize money on the PGA Tour is a direct response to the challenged presented by the rival LIV tour, which is backed by Saudi billionaires. The PGA appears to have responded effectively recently by dramatically increasing tournament money, having a number of tournaments with limited fields now geared toward inducing the top players to play (some will have no cuts, following LIV's lead), and otherwise is putting a lot more money into the pockets of the big names in order to keep them on the reservation. The European Tour seems to be solidly behind the PGA in its battle with LIV. I see LIV eventually folding, but that may not happen due to all the money behind it as well as some ongoing litigation that has yet to be decided.

The LIV players are excluded from The Players, which means there will be no defending champion present as last year's winner Cam Smith signed with LIV shortly after following his Players win by also winning the British Open and then signing with LIV. Fellow Aussie Greg Norman seems to have influenced Smith to make the move. But after a flurry of signings last year, LIV hasn't induced anyone else who's well known to leave the PGA Tour, and Norman is generally regarded by the Tour and its supporters as a kind of super-villain now.

At any rate the TPC Sawgrass is a great course, a very challenging one that doesn't favor any particular type of player. It always has big and loud galleries, and of course the famous par three 17 island hole is legendary. Bring on the tournament, which also means spring is almost here in the northern part of the country!
 

Carolina Speed

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The 2023 golf season kicks into high gear this week with the Players teeing off tomorrow, a semi-major followed by the four majors the next four months followed by the FedEx playoffs in August.

It wasn't that long ago that the prize money for taking a title first reached $1 million. Well, the winner of this week's Players Championship will pocket a cool $4.5 million. The skyrocketing prize money on the PGA Tour is a direct response to the challenged presented by the rival LIV tour, which is backed by Saudi billionaires. The PGA appears to have responded effectively recently by dramatically increasing tournament money, having a number of tournaments with limited fields now geared toward inducing the top players to play (some will have no cuts, following LIV's lead), and otherwise is putting a lot more money into the pockets of the big names in order to keep them on the reservation. The European Tour seems to be solidly behind the PGA in its battle with LIV. I see LIV eventually folding, but that may not happen due to all the money behind it as well as some ongoing litigation that has yet to be decided.

The LIV players are excluded from The Players, which means there will be no defending champion present as last year's winner Cam Smith signed with LIV shortly after following his Players win by also winning the British Open and then signing with LIV. Fellow Aussie Greg Norman seems to have influenced Smith to make the move. But after a flurry of signings last year, LIV hasn't induced anyone else who's well known to leave the PGA Tour, and Norman is generally regarded by the Tour and its supporters as a kind of super-villain now.

At any rate the TPC Sawgrass is a great course, a very challenging one that doesn't favor any particular type of player. It always has big and loud galleries, and of course the famous par three 17 island hole is legendary. Bring on the tournament, which also means spring is almost here in the northern part of the country!
Haven't been able to follow much of The Players this weekend, but with rain and cold here in North Carolina, I will be watching the final round today. Hoping for a Scottie Scheffler win. My favorite, Jordan Spieth is playing well, but his putting has been letting him down of late. I believe he'll be in good shape when The Masters is played next month. He began today T-14. -6
Back to Scheffler. With a win today he should retain the world number 1 ranking as current number 1 John Rahm withdrew.
 

Don Wassall

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I haven't been able to watch it much either. Just checked now and Scottie Scheffler is running away with it. Adding the Players to his collection of titles will be very impressive. He's been the dominant player for just over a year now, we'll see if he can continue it with The Masters just around the corner (he's the defending champ) and through the rest of this year and beyond.

McElroy, Spieth and Koepka all won several majors then fell back a bit, still great players but unable to maintain their previous pace. Justin Thomas is still going strong and I think he'll be a top-ranked player for a number of years yet. But for right now it's Scottie and Jon Rahm's world when it comes to golfing.
 
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