McIlroy grouped with Hovland and Spieth at The Players

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McIlroy grouped with Hovland and Spieth at The Players

Defending champion Scottie Scheffler has been grouped alongside Ryder Cup teammates Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler for the first rounds of The Players at TPC Sawgrass.

Scheffler, who jumped clear on the day to claim a five-shot victory in last year’s contest, is bidding to become the first back-to-back Players champion in the tournament’s history.

The world No 1 arrives off the back of a dominant win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, his seventh PGA Tour title in 25 months, with Scheffler the overwhelming favourite to add to his victory tally in the 50th edition of The Players.

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 09: PGA golfer Rory McIlroy shakes hands with Jordan Spieth after finishing on the 18th hole during the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge on March 9, 2024, in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Image: Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth have been grouped together for the first two rounds of The Players, with Viktor Hovland completing the threeball

Scheffler will be part of Featured Group coverage for the first two alongside two other former winners on the Stadium Course, with 2015 champion Fowler and 2021 winner Thomas completing that star-studded threeball.

Tournament organisers teased their two Featured Groups via social media on Sunday, ahead of the event getting under way on Thursday, with Rory McIlroy included in the other star trio.

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The 2019 Players champion has been put with reigning FedExCup winner Viktor Hovland and former world No 1 Jordan Spieth, with the full list of tee times for the first two rounds set to be released early during tournament week.

McIlroy arrives at Sawgrass off the back of a tied-21st finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he was within four strokes of the lead going into the final day before fading with a four-over 76 to finish 14 shots behind Scheffler.

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Highlights from the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club, where Scottie Scheffler impressed

“I’m going to Sawgrass next week super comfortable with how I’m hitting it off the tee,” McIlroy said after his final round at Bay Hill. “If you can get the ball in play there, then I think that’s half the battle.

“Then you’ve got very small, demanding greens that you got to hit it on the right levels, and you have to be pretty precise with your approach play as well. I guess for me, in my head at the minute, it’s all about the approach play because that’s the thing that I’m struggling with.”

The Players Championship Live

Thursday 14th March 11:30am

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When is The Players live on Sky?

Sky Sports Golf will once again be the home of The Players in 2024, with nearly 60 hours of live coverage from Tuesday-Sunday of tournament week and a host of extra content available for you to enjoy.

A special ‘Live from The Players’ show will offer live build-up on both Tuesday and Wednesday before live coverage begins from 11.30am over the first two days and 2pm over the weekend, following action from before the opening tee shot until after the close of play.

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Rory McIlroy looks back through his ‘rocky history’ with the PGA Tour’s most iconic tournament, The Players Championship

Bonus coverage will be available via the red button for all four tournament rounds, with featured groups and bonus marquee groups there to enjoy every day alongside a special featured holes feed.

Watch The Players live from March 14-17 live on Sky Sports. Stream the PGA Tour and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – just £21 a month for 12 months. No contract, cancel anytime.

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