Spieth to treat Players like a major

Anirban Lahiri

There's a lot of golf to play.

Casey underwent treatment on the problem upon his arrival at TPC Sawgrass on Wednesday morning, and the 40-year-old was advised by his medical team to pull out rather than risk further damage.

Winners over the years have ranged from favourites such as Woods, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and David Duval, to the likes of outsiders such as South Korean Kim, New Zealander Craig Perks, South African Tim Clark and Canadian Stephen Ames.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.

"I have not won the Players, and we look at this tournament up there in about equal value with the major championships".

Elsewhere, Tiger Woods is a 35/1 shot to become the first player since Jack Nicklaus to win The Players three times.

"I would like to change that", he said. "I felt like I was just being stubborn, trying to hit driver where there's no point in hitting drive".

"I don't like the golf course for a start".

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McIlroy said he has gradually learned to adapt to the famed Pete Dye-designed layout.

Things are looking up for THE PLAYERS Championship, at least that's according to star competitors Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in their pre-tournament press conferences. It's also good I've already played here a few times, I know what to do, know what the conditions are and know where the misses should be.

McIlroy is not alone in his struggles.

Woods is not quite ready to take on the role of a ceremonial player but will need to improve every facet of his game to have a chance against perhaps the strongest field of the year. He tied for fourth.

Lowry arrives at the tournament after a mixed weekend at the Wells Fargo last week. "I think it just kind of depends who it is and what's happened".

Lahiri has somehow managed to erase memories of last year's PLAYERS, but added, "I don't even remember if it was an eight, 10 or a 12".

Just to review, Fowler birdied the 17th three times in as many tries (he had five birdies in six tries for the week).

"I feel I can play good on this golf course". That run includes Casey's first PGA Tour victory since 2009, at the Valspar Championship in March. This is only the second time they have played with each other on the Stadium Course. He has never missed the cut. Has he "thought" his way around the course better, like so many winners do here? He has finished out of the top 20 in just over half his appearances, some of those when he was the most dominant player in golf. "It really is a total package golf course, and I've always said I love this design".

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