PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – A new point on the calendar has changed the look of The Players, but not the drama: there was Tiger Woods who drew birds and bogeys; Phil Mickelson was fighting in a trial where he was not sure of playing in the first place; and strong starts with names like Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood. And there was an albatross, an eagle and a crowd of low scores.
So what will Round 2 bring?
On Tiger's departure, and his earlier start on Friday
TANNEN MAURY / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock
Tiger Woods' work with Justin Thomas coach is already bearing fruit for his putter.
For the first time in his last six rounds of the PGA Tour, Woods had failed to score three hits in his opening round of the 70 at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Players Championship Thursday.
It's Woods' second round of opening at The Players since his 67, in 2013, when he won the tournament for the second time.
All types of players have won the flagship event of the PGA Tour. It is therefore logical that our choices for The Players are ubiquitous.
Tiger Woods resisted early in the round of fights to get 70 points in the Players Championship, but it was the fourth time in four rounds of opening in 2019 that he was failing to sneak to 70 and the 17th time in 18 players.
Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley shared the lead in the first round of The Players Championship after every shot played under 65 on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Woods spent time with Thomas's coach, Matt Killen, on a workout and on the putting green.
"It was not like I had to do a lot of things," Woods said. "I'm coming back to something I'm doing naturally, I'm putting my foot in motion and releasing it, my face is moving a lot more than most players do.We have returned, I feel like I can go on and hit again. with my right hand, it was still good. "
Woods said that his recent neck injury had only exasperated his troubles. In his last two editions of the Tour, he had 12 pts three or more. In his third round at the WGC-Mexico Championship, he even had his first shot in a non major category since 2010 at Quail Hollow.
"I had the impression of having rolled [in Thursday’s first round]"Said Woods. I was able to go out and feel comfortable. I felt good. "
Tiger Woods explains that despite the fact that he only shot for the peer, he still felt comfortable on the putting green.
Woods' improved performance on the putting green kept him in the race after the first lap; He trailed co-leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley five times.
Woods hopes that starting earlier Friday will help bring him even closer to the leaders. Four of the seven players with scores of 5 or more on Thursday took off before the wind began to blow in the afternoon.
"That's what most guys did earlier in the day – they all went bankrupt," Woods said. "All the low tournaments seemed to be out in the morning, let's hope we can catch up on the quiet side and show a low number, then see if the guys have to deal with what we had to face in the afternoons it was moving pretty well. "
A short visit for Phil Mickelson?
Phil Mickelson will he miss another cup at The Players? After having doubts about the opportunity to play this week, Mickelson shot a first round.
This is the fifth time in seven years that Mickelson fails to stand out in the first round. He has missed the cup five times in the last six years.
After missing the Cup at Bay Hill last week, Mickelson nearly left The Players. He decided to stay on the ground only after seeing the course in person.
"The setup was really good, I think, because the rough is playable, the condition of the course is really good," said Mickelson. "The greens are soft, the conditions could not be better to score, but unfortunately I'm not playing very well on this course, and that's what counts."
Mickelson started on the back and shot 1 under with birdies on numbers 12 and 17. After making another birdie on number 1 to go to 2 under, things collapsed for him on the hole of normal 3 par 3, where he bet four times for a triple bogey.
"I tried to hit an 8 iron in the center of the green," said Mickelson. "I pushed it to the left, the only place you could not go in. I was so upset that I could not put the ball on the green, I lost my focus and I went to four. "
On Hole # 5, he hit his second shot of a road and passed two passes for a bogey.
Hey, listen, it's Tommy Fleetwood
We know that Tommy Fleetwood is weak – but not so early in a tournament. David Rosenblum / Icon Sportswire
For the first time in 47 career PGA Tour tournaments, Fleetwood has at least a lead over 18 holes after a record under 65. Fleetwood scored 30 on the nine, becoming the third player in the last 20 years to shoot. 6-under on the front in the first round. Fleetwood hit 10 of the 14 fairways and was ranked second in winning strokes: tee at the green at 4,610.
"I stayed patient," Fleetwood said. "The wind has risen and the course has hardened.There were some difficult holes, but I have driven it so well that I've always been in a good position. you're in the fairway all the time, the course looks very, very different, and it's a massive key here. "
The lowest turrets of Tommy Fleetwood
TournamentYearScore at par2019The Players-72018RBC Canadian Open-62017U.S. Open-52015WGC-HSBC Championship-5
Rory is again
For the second time in three PGA Tour events, Rory McIlroy started with a round in the 1960s. He shot 67, two shots behind Fleetwood, after shooting a 63 in the first round en route to a second place finish. Solo at the WGC-Mexico Championship in February. He did not finish worse than T-6 in 2019 but did not win.
McIlroy said that the course layout in March, with shorter rye, flatter fairways and softer greens, invited him to be more aggressive than in the past, when The Players was traditionally played in May.
"I think the course of the last 10 years has not lent itself to aggressive play," McIlroy said. "It's a bit of a position and I'm trying to trace your course around the golf course, where I hit pilots on holes today that I would have never done in the last few years."
One of those holes was the No. 4 No. 4 Normal Hole, where McIlroy pitched a 295-yard run, leaving him 94 yards from the hole. He doubled for par.
"Even when you're aggressive and you miss it, it's a little easier to get back into position," McIlroy said. "The rough is neither so long nor so rude, you come across pine straw and you always have some kind of ball and control over your ball.
"And then, when you miss the greens, you do not have to fight with these Bermuda.You do not have to guess:" How is it going to come out? "
When key players take the path
Outstanding Friday departure times
PlayersTime of start (All hours ET) Keegan Bradley, Andrew Landry, Si Woo Kim8: 22hTiger Woods, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed * 8:32 byFrancesco Molinari, Jason Day, Tony Finau * 8:53 byRickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth * 9h04Byeong Hun Year, Scott Brown, Handsome Hossler 12:45: Tom Fleetwood, Keith Mitchell, Austin Cook1: 17hJustin Thomas, Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele1h27: 27hBryson DeChambeau, Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson1: 38hDustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Sergio García13: 48hRory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar13h59: indicates the beginning of the 10th hole
Where will all the action take place this time?
Who will come with the big shots Friday? Because we saw a few rare in the first round.
Harris English has only become the fifth player in the history of the players to have a double eagle – and the second to do it at the 11th hole. Hunter Mahan achieved the feat on this hole in the second round in 2007.
The Englishman hit a 236-yard 3-iron 3, and just like that, he went from 1-over to 2-under, where he found himself after his first round.
"It was pretty surreal," said English. "I was just trying to get a 3-iron on the green somewhere, and it went exactly the way I wanted it." When he landed, people cheered a little, then everything all of a sudden they broke out .. I was like, "Really? Is this coming in? "
As a high school student at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, English made several holes in the championship tournament. Last season, he had his first career success in a PGA Tour event in the Dominican Republic.
He said that Thursday's albatross was better.
"I'm 29 years old and I've been golfing for 24 years, and I've never seen or had one," said English. "I'm sure there are people in their 70s or 80s who have never seen or done it – it's a pretty amazing feat."
Later in the day, Ryan Moore completed the ninth hole at once on the iconic 17th hole. This was the first ace of Moore's career. Sergio Garcia was the last player to do it on the Green Island in 2017.
According to ESPN Stats & Information's research, there were 857 shots on No. 17 between the Garcia and Moore ace.