Rich Beem previews The Players and latest battle for world No 1

Rich Beem looks at the battle at the top of the world rankings and describes the challenges facing the players at TPC Sawgrass.

If you give me the name of any player in the world’s top 20 right now, then I can make a case for why they can go on to win this week! It’s fantastic that there’s so much competition at the top of the world rankings.

It’s a strange dynamic where the points that are separating the players aren’t that much, so it gives a great opportunity for someone who finds some form. If any of them suddenly get hot, go on a run and peel off three or four wins over the next few months, then they become part of the mix for world No 1.

You want to be here this week because you have the chance to beat the world’s best players and the world ranking points are massive, but the huge prize money is always a factor in why it is thought of so highly.

When we played it in March years ago, it was a significant tournament but didn’t necessarily feel the prestige that perhaps it has now. The influx of capital and prize money has played its part in that.

Mother nature could be a challenge this week, because the weather always seemed to play a significant part in it when we played here in March. You never knew what the weather was going to be like from one day to the next and could be hot and sunny one day, but cold and windy the next.

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March 14, 2019, 11:30am

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It usually blows here in the spring, so the golf course and conditions are going to be significantly going to be significantly different to what the players have seen in recent years.

This isn’t a venue where you can get away with not striking it well and relying on your short game, unlike some weeks on the PGA Tour. If you start missing a significant number of greens, you’re not going to do well.

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March 13, 2019, 5:30pm

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Having said that, it’s a tough challenge all around and ball-striking around here always seems to be a determining factor as to who wins.

Watch the Players Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Wednesday with the On the Range show from 5.30pm on Sky Sports’ dedicated Players Championship channel.

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