The Players: Who will win? Sky Sports pundits pick their contenders to challenge Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler returns as defending champion at The Players; Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas have also previously won at TPC Sawgrass; watch the opening round live on Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf

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Sky Sports News reporter Jamie Weir and Sky Sports journalist Ali Stafford believe world No 1 Scottie Scheffler is the man to beat at the 50th Players Championship.

Scottie Scheffler has the chance to make history this week at The Players, but who could prevent him from being a back-to-back champion at TPC Sawgrass?

Scheffler arrives as the overwhelming favourite after a dominant five-shot victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, where he pulled clear of a strong leaderboard to win a seventh PGA Tour event in 25 months.

The American extended his advantage at the top of the world rankings with his Bay Hill victory, with Scheffler now looking to become the first player in history to successfully defend their title at The Players.

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We hear from some of the biggest names in golf to discuss why there’s never been a back-to-back winner of The Players Championship.

Scheffler claimed a five-shot win in last year’s contest and is widely expected to earn another victory this week at the PGA Tour’s flagship event, where the majority of the world’s top 50 are in action and the champion earns $4.5m.

Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Cameron Smith are among the other recent winners at TPC Sawgrass, but which player has the best chance of beating Scheffler to glory?

We asked the Sky Sports pundits to pick out their potential surprise packages to win this week…

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Andrew Coltart and David Howell debate whether Rory McIlroy should have given Scottie Scheffler putting tips after the world number one stormed to a dominant win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Andrew Coltart

Will Zalatoris can win because he’s pretty good off the tee, he’s a great iron player and now he has got the hang of his new putter, he’s got everything in the golf bag.

“He didn’t have a bad week at all at Bay Hill. Things just didn’t turn out the way he wanted because he was up against a steam train in Scheffler.”

David Howell

“My outside pick would be Max Homa. He’s had a lacklustre start to the year, so it could be seen as a strange pick, but I could just imagine him turning things around.

“Tee to green he can be sublime, and if he can find his best form it could be a course that suits him.”

Image: Max Homa finished tied-eighth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week

Dame Laura Davies

Min Woo Lee hits it a mile – and long hitting around Sawgrass is definitely needed. He has played really well this year and has done well at The Players before.

“He won a tournament down in Australia towards the end of last year and I just think he’s got the game that can spring a surprise. For me, it wouldn’t be that big a surprise if he had a really good week.”

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There’s not long to wait until the 50th edition of The Players, with coverage live from Thursday on Sky Sports Golf

Nick Dougherty

“Shane Lowry has had near-miss after near-miss lately at the Cognizant Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational, so he’s got a great chance of making it third time lucky.

Image: Can Shane Lowry claim his first PGA Tour victory since The Open in 2019?

“He’s playing great golf, loves the golf course. It will tap into his creativity, especially around the greens. For me, Shane’s the man to give that surprise package at TPC Sawgrass.”

Rich Beem

“Ludvig Åberg has got all the game in the world and has just got inside the world’s top 10. Could he be the next first-time winner at The Players?”

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.

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Ahead of the 50th anniversary of The Players Championship, take a look at some of the best moments from the historic tournament.

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 throughout the week on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour and more with NOW.

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