The Players Championship returns on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass USA. Last years event began as scheduled but was cancelled after the opening round due to coronavirus pandemic.

The strongest field of the year will assemble at Sawgrass with last year’s winner Rory McIlroy also in the field.

McIlroy triumphs last year at Sawgrass

McIlroy posted a 16 under par 272 to defeat Jim Furyk for his lone title at The Players.  The Irishman missed the cut in his first three appearances at The Players but has recorded four top 10 finishes in his past seven appearances.

The 31-year-old has never successfully defended a PGA Tour title and will be looking to become the first player in the history of The Players to do so.

At the weekend, McIlroy was in contention at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, started the day four shots adrift of Lee Westwood. But as has been the case for a while when he needed a big round he faltered.

Another strong field for this years event

A host of world class players will be looking to lift the coveted trophy on Sunday. World Number 1 Dustin Johnson will be one of the favourites to capture the title.

He achieved a top ten finish at The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club after winning the 2021 Saudi International. Johnson on his day is a player who everybody fears.

There are very few golfers around at the moment who thrill a crowd like Bryson DeChambeau does. The 2020 US Open champion put on a master performance at the weekend in winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Hitting drives of unimaginable strength and length and brute force.

DeChambeau climbs to Number 1

DeChambeau’s reward for winning at the weekend is the Number 1 spot in the FedEx Cup standings. No matter how long some of these holes will appear to some with DeChambeau he won’t fear any hole.

American Jordan Spieth is shaping up to be a contender for a top event at some point soon. The three-time major champion hasn’t won a tournament since 2017 but appears to be getting back to his best.

Spieth has already posted three top five finishes in 2021 but has struggled on his final round in his last four tournaments.

Spaniard Rahm in good form coming into this tournament

Spaniard Jon Rahm a five times tour winner has already recorded five top ten finishes in eight starts. He will be making only his fourth start at the Players where he has a miserable record.

England’s Tyrell Hatton has continued to climb the world rankings after victories at the PGA Championship and Abu Dhabi Championship. The 29-year-old will be making his fourth start at Sawgrass where he has made the cut just once.

Hot property Hovland a star of the future

One of the hottest properties in the game right now is Norwegian Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian won the 2020 Puerto Rico Open and Mayakoba Golf Classic. He finished second in the Farmers Insurance Open and fifth at the Genesis Invitational.

The British challenge will also look to come from Justin Rose, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey along with Westwood.

Other American players to look out for are Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Reed.

Whatever happens starting on Thursday, there will bound to be many twists and turns as the players get to grips with Sawgrass.