McIlroy, Rahm & Scheffler ในกลุ่ม Players Championship เดียวกัน

Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm at the Ryder Cup
McIlroy and Rahm are likely to be European Ryder Cup team-mates when this year’s edition against the US takes place in Italy
Dates: 9-12 March Venue: TPC Sawgrass, Florida
Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on Radio 5 Sports Extra, BBC Sounds and BBC Sport website and app for final two rounds

The top three players in the world have been grouped together for the opening two rounds of this week’s Players Championship at Sawgrass in Florida.

Spain’s Jon Rahm, who has won five of his past 10 tournaments, is the world number one but second-ranked Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy, who is third, can take top spot with a win.

Australia’s Open champion Cameron Smith, who won the PGA Tour’s flagship event last year, will not be defending his title because he opted to join the LIV Golf circuit last year.

Also missing are India’s Anirban Lahiri and England’s Paul Casey, who finished second and third in 2022, because they too have chosen to play in the Saudi Arabian-funded set-up.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, who won this event in 2019, comes into the tournament in good form, having finished runner-up at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

American Scheffler was joint fourth at Bay Hill, while Rahm, who led after round one, carded successive 76s in his final two rounds as he recorded his worst finish since July’s Scottish Open, ending joint 39th.

The marquee group will tee off in Thursday’s opening round on the 10th hole at 12:56 GMT.

England’s US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick starts his challenge at 17:34 alongside Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Shane Lowry of Ireland.

American friends Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth will also play together in the opening two rounds at the course which is famed for its island green on the par-three 17th hole. They tee off with compatriot Max Homa at 17:56.

This year’s winner will take home $4.5m (£3.75m), from a prize fund of $25m – Smith won $3.6m from a $20m pot in 2022.

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