THE PLAYERS Field Update: Morikawa, Johnson, Schauffele
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 11: Collin Morikawa of the United States plays his shot from the 17th tee during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 11, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
With three weeks to go until the strongest field in golf reconvenes at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele are the latest to add their names to the championship commitment list.
Collin Morikawa made his long-awaited debut at THE PLAYERS in 2021, and although his T41 result left much to be desired, the five-time TOUR winner showed signs that success at Sawgrass might be right around the corner. After making the cut on the number and ballooning to a 76 in round three, Morikawa turned in a 66 on Sunday, capped by a back-nine 30. The 25-year-old is no longer an up-and-comer; his two-win campaign during the 2020-21 season included a World Golf Championships title and The Open Championship, cementing him among the game’s elite. In three total PGA TOUR starts during the new season, Morikawa has finished no lower than T7.
When THE PLAYERS moved back to March in 2019, no one was more excited to take on the new-look TPC Sawgrass than Dustin Johnson. His comfortability on the altered conditions yielded a T5 – his best career finish – while becoming the first player since Steve Elkington in 1997 to card all four rounds in the 60s. Of what has been a career worthy of the World Golf Hall of Fame for the native South Carolinian, a victory at THE PLAYERS remains a desired addition to his resume. Johnson added to that resume during the 2020-21 season with his triumph at the Masters in November to go along with eight other top-10 finishes, but the owner of 24 PGA TOUR titles is still in search of a return visit to the winner’s circle for the first time in 15 months.
The newly minted Olympic Champion, Xander Schauffele is hoping the gold medal he claimed in Tokyo is an omen for claiming gold in the form of THE PLAYERS trophy this March. A four-time PGA TOUR winner and former Rookie of the Year, Schauffele recorded three runner-up results during the 2020-21 season without an official tournament victory and managed a respectable fifth in the FedExCup. At TPC Sawgrass, the 28-year-old finished an impressive T2 in his debut in 2018 but has yet to return to the weekend in each of his two subsequent starts. Schauffele finished T3 on Sunday at the WM Phoenix Open, marking his first top-10 result in five starts this season.