PODCAST: Rory set for tough week at The Players?

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PODCAST: Rory set for tough week at The Players?

Rory McIlroy will be chasing a second Players title at TPC Sawgrass this week – but Sky Sports’ Andrew Coltart does not give the world No 2 much chance of victory.

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Speaking on the Sky Sports Golf Podcast – which you can listen to in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts – Coltart says he saw little from McIlroy’s performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, at which he finished tied for 21st after a four-over final round, to suggest he will contend at Ponte Vedra Beach.

He said: “Rory was really disappointing last week, he left so much out there.

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

“From 150 yards in, Scottie Scheffler only missed eight greens in the week, Rory missed twice as many. Rory also failed to get up and down five times from seven approach shots inside 100 yards.

“He had a period between round two and three where from eight shots between 100-150 yards, he missed the green seven times. You can’t do that and be anywhere near the top of the game.

“I don’t know whether because he is as good as he can be he is constantly seeing flags to go at but he is not leaving himself a putt for a birdie.

“He is putting himself behind the eight ball and I don’t see him doing anything this week. There was nothing from last week to suggest that he will.”

Rory McIlroy, Arnold Palmer Invitational, PGA Tour Golf (Associated Press)

Image: McIlroy finished in a share of 21st place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week

‘Scheffler’s confidence and ability should worry a lot of people’

World No 1 and defending Players champion Scheffler won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five strokes from fellow American Wyndham Clark and has now recorded top-12 finishes in 25 of his last 30 starts on the PGA Tour.

With his putting on point at Bah Hill, Coltart believes that spells danger for Scheffler’s rivals.

He said: “Scheffler is now starting to relish being on the greens. Every other aspect of his game was A++ with his putter at a D and now all of a sudden he is starting to see the ball go in.

“He is having fun now and is potentially as confident as he has ever been in his life. That confidence along with the technical ability he has got should worry a lot of people.”

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Who will win The Players? Watch the opening round live on Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf

Coltart’s fellow pundit David Howell added ahead of The Players: “I’d like to see a real underdog or total dominance from Scheffler, as I think that would be really good for the game.

“We had two decades of a really dominant player [in Tiger Woods] and golf was never better. Golf is never better than when there is a standout star.

“Scottie does not have star material in terms of his persona but he does with his game. Another dominant win, I think would be quite cool.”

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Highlights from the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational as Scheffler romped to victory

Elsewhere on the podcast, we hear from Scheffler and Ludvig Åberg, plus discuss the difficulties of playing TPC Sawgrass and whether it features the best final three holes anywhere on the PGA Tour.

The team also discuss their favourite Players moments and pick a winner, plus reflect on Matteo Manassero’s first DP World Tour title in 11 years, at the Jonsson Workwear Open.

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 during tournament week and a host of extra content available for you to enjoy. Live coverage begins on Thursday at 11.30am.

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. No contract, cancel anytime.

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