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The field for the 2024 Players Championship is set, with 144 golfers filling up the tee sheet.

There are 23 golfers, however, who are entered in the tournament for the first time. There’s a good chance many of them have played the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, before but this is the first time they’ll face tournament pressure there.

Four of them made the field by virtue of winning on the PGA Tour this season.

Everyone in the field has their eyes on the big prize, as the Players has the most official money up for grabs on the PGA Tour, with a $25 million total purse and a $4.5 million first-place prize. (The Tour Championship’s $75 million pool and $18 million first-place check is all considered bonus money and doesn’t count towards a players on-course official money earnings).

So without further ado, here is the list of 23 newbies teeing it up at the demanding, 7,275-yard test that is TPC Sawgrass this week. The golfers are listed in alphabetical order.

Check out every first-timer here: [source: golfweek.com]

Golf News Today

LIV Golf withdrew its application for accreditation from the Official World Golf Rankings on Tuesday, according to a memo obtained by multiple outlets. The Saudi-backed league had initially applied for OWGR accreditation in July 2022 and was formally denied in October 2023 with issues such as fluidity in and out of the league raised as a concern.

"It is now clear that the best way forward for LIV as a league and you as LIV golfers is not through the current ranking system," LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman wrote in a letter to league members. "A resolution which protects the accuracy, credibility, and integrity of the OWGR rankings no longer exists. We have made enormous efforts to fight for you and to ensure your accomplishments are recognized within the existing ranking system.Unfortunately, the OWGR has shown little willingness to productively work with us."

In a conversation with the OWGR, LIV Golf had confirmed 14 players would be invited back to the league in 2024 regardless of their performance in 2023. During an earlier phone call, LIV stated only six or seven players would not be subject to relegation.

To appease the OWGR's concerns surrounding players' pathways to and from the league, LIV Golf held LIV Golf Promotions where the league gave status to three players via a qualifying event. A fourth player was added via the Order of Merit in the International Series on the Asian Tour with four players from the previous season relegated, resulting an 8.33% turnover at the time. The OWGR did not believe this structure was conducive to the principles of fairness and meritocracy, according to its letter denying LIV Golf status.

The OWGR also cited concerns regarding the team aspect of the league, bringing up a quote from Sebastian Munoz at 2023 LIV Golf Orlando where the Torque GC member conceded that his play in the individual competition was affected by his squad's place in the team competition.

"We are not at war with them," OWGR board chairman Peter Dawson told the Associated Press at the time. "This decision not to make them eligible is not political. It is entirely technical. LIV players are self-evidently good enough to be ranked. They're just not playing in a format where they can be ranked equitably with the other 24 tours and thousands of players to compete on them."

LIV Golf members have been critical of the OWGR since its application was denied. Former Champion Golfer of the Year Cameron Smith called the system "obsolete" last fall, while Joaquin Niemann -- a two-time winner on the LIV circuit this season -- lamented about his standing in the OWGR following his victory at LIV Golf Jeddah last week.

Niemann has been on a world tour trying to accrue as many OWGR points as possible ever since the fall playing on both the DP World Tour where he picked up a victory and the Asian Tour. Thanks to his win at the Australian Open, Niemann qualified for The Open at Royal Troon, but he was still on the outside looking in for the other three major championships at world No. 76.

Augusta National Golf Club extended Niemann a special invitation to the 2024 Masters a couple weeks ago, and the PGA of America followed suit for its championship in May. The PGA of America has historically invited the top 100 players in the OWGR, but with Niemann's status in the air, the governing body extended the invitation early.

The OWGR's board is made up of those very governing bodies that oversee the major championships. The seven-member board consists of representatives from the four major championships as well as PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley and DP World Tour executive Keith Waters who spearheads the Federation of PGA Tours.


Golf News Today

Tucked in Jake Knapp’s personal bio in the PGA Tour online media guide are a few assorted personal nuggets meant to give a bit of flavor for his personality: he can solve a Rubik’s Cube, if he didn’t play golf he would pursue a career in the fitness industry, and he spent roughly nine months as a security guard at a night club in fall 2021 through spring 2022.

And then there’s this: His earliest golf memory is watching Tiger Woods beat Stephen Ames, 9 and 8, at the 2006 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and having Woods’ caddie, Steve Williams, toss him one of the balls Woods used during the match.

“Still got it in the same little plastic case sitting on my shelf at home,” Knapp recalled on Sunday after winning the Mexico Open at Vidanta.

As Knapp recalled, his dad took him and his brother to the WGC Match Play at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California, about an hour from his home in Costa Mesa, and they followed Tiger and Williams, his former caddie.

“I was just hounding Stevie all day to give me a ball, give me a ball, give me a ball, and he kept on telling me after the round,” Knapp said. “Then Tiger finally closed out Stephen Ames 9 and 8 on the 10th hole. I was standing back by the 10th tee. They walked right by and I asked him for a ball and neither of them really did anything. They walked into the locker room and I was like, dang, like there they go.

“Then 10 seconds later Stevie walked out and he was like, ‘Hey, kid,’ tossed me his ball. It was pretty awesome. It’s really only the piece of sports memorabilia that I have that I really cherish.”


Augusta National is making another change ahead of this year’s Masters.

The tee box of the par-5 second hole — named Pink Dogwood — is being moved back 10 yards and to the left. The change will make the scorecard yardage of the hole 585 yards, the longest on the course.

Many golf writers noted the change on social media after Augusta National shared their annual media guide with members of the press.

The second hole has been one of the least changed holes of the past two decades. A new back tee was added to the hole in 1999, and the right fairway bunker was moved well to the right by Tom Fazio during the same renovation.

Making tweaks to the layout is par for the course (sorry for the terrible pun) at the famed club. Seemingly every year, Augusta National makes some change to the Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones design to better test the pros of the modern game.

Just last year, the club unveiled a new tee box on the par-5 13th that lengthened the hole by 35 yards and elevated the tee box by some 24 feet. The club also reconfigured the par-3 course for an enhanced viewing experience for patrons.

“A primary goal of the renovation was to make for wider corridors for patrons to move around and to open the viewing options where multiple greens can be seen from one location,” the club said.

In 2022, three iconic holes received facelifts ahead of competition as the 11th, 15th and 18th holes were altered.

Augusta National might be one of the most tradition-rich clubs in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re afraid to make changes to the course. The changes to No. 2 are just the latest example of that.


Tiger Woods is starting a new year with a new look.

Just not a different color.

Woods makes his 2024 debut this week in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, a signature event on the PGA Tour in which he is the tournament host. The first order of business is unveiling what he referred to in December as the next “chapter.”

Woods and Nike ended 27 years together at the end of last year. He wore the swoosh on his shirt for the final time at the PNC Championship that he played with his son, Charlie, who was wearing clothes from a different apparel company.

Woods has scheduled a press conference Monday at 4 p.m. PST outside the gates of Riviera to discuss what he will be wearing in the limited tournaments he plays.

All signs point to TaylorMade. Woods already plays their golf clubs, and TaylorMade Lifestyle Ventures has filed four trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “Sunday Red” or “SDR.”

Woods announced on Jan. 8 that his relationship with Nike, which produced so many big moments on the golf course and in commercials, had officially ended. His agent at Excel Sports Management, Mark Steinberg, said he expected “an exciting announcement” at Riviera.

Woods has been teasing the announcement on social media recently. He posted a closeup of his face a week ago Monday that said, “The vision remains the same.” On Friday, he posted a darkened picture of him wearing a red shirt that said, “A new day rises.”

Woods has worn some variation of red on Sunday his entire career because his Thai-born mother, Kultida, told him it was his power color. She also gives him a new head cover of a Tiger each season with words in Thai that say, “Love from Mom.”

Key to that is getting to Sunday. Woods played all four rounds of the unofficial Hero World Challenge in December, his first competition in nearly eight months while he recovered from ankle surgery after the Masters.

Woods made the cut in the rain-delayed Masters but withdrew on Sunday morning before completing the third round because of his injuries. He also made the cut at the Genesis Invitational last year, tying for 45th.

The Genesis Invitational not only carries a $20 million purse, because it is a player-hosted signature event the winner will get $4 million. But unlike the other signature events, the Genesis Invitational will have a 36-hole cut to the top 50 and ties, and any player within 10 shots of the lead.

Whatever the new look, it won’t be visible as it once was. Woods already was coming off four back surgeries, the last one who fuse his lower spine, when he had a car crash in Los Angeles in the days after the 2021 Genesis Invitational.

He didn’t play the rest of the year. But amid concerns he might never play again, Woods recovered to play in the 2022 Masters and made it to Sunday. He has never missed the cut at Augusta National as a pro.

Woods had his right ankle fused after last year’s Masters and felt optimistic about 2024. He has set a goal of playing once a month through the major season. That starts at Riviera.


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