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Players Championship Live Blog: Live updates from Round 1 at TPC Sawgrass

March 12, 2020

The Players Championship kicks off on Thursday morning at TPC Sawgrass, although this year’s edition comes with an added storyline. As coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, companies, leaders and governing bodies have started making moves, including the NCAA banning fans from its March Madness tournament and the NBA suspending its season. The PGA Tour made an announcement early Thursday morning Eastern Time saying the Players would go on as scheduled, with an additional update coming at 12 p.m. ET Thursday.

As for on the course, Rory McIlroy is the betting favorite to win this week, which would make him the first back-to-back champion in Players history.

We’re tracking all of the first-round action at TPC Sawgrass, and you can follow along below.

Players Championship Live Blog

Refresh for latest updates | Times are ET

2:17 p.m. – Jordan Spieth’s struggles at Sawgrass continue. He shoots 75 to open the event and will be in danger of missing the cut for the fifth time in six years.

2:01 p.m. – Decent start for Viktor Hovland in his Players Championship debut.

1:50 p.m. – Defending champion and top-ranked player in the world Rory McIlroy getting ready to tee off. Opened with 67 last year.

1:38 p.m. – Cameron Champ sneaking into the top three. Five back-nine birdies have him six under.

1:32 p.m. – Christiaan Bezuidenhout alone in second place. The South African is making his debut at the Players this week.

1:17 p.m. – Matsuyama’s start puts him in pretty good company …

1:12 p.m. – Hideki Matsuyama eagles No. 9 to post 63 and tie the course record. Excellent start to the week for the 28-year-old.

12:56 p.m. – The struggles continue for Francesco Molinari. Four over thru 13. It’s been a tough ride for the Italian since last year’s Masters.

12:45 p.m. – Harris English is bogey-free on the day, including a nifty birdie at the 17th.

12:32 p.m. – Hideki Matsuyama takes the outright lead as Patrick Cantlay and Harris English jump to T2. Lots of movement at the top.

12:25 p.m. – Afternoon wave preparing to tee off in about 20 minutes. Defending champ and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy goes off at 1:51 p.m.

12:15 p.m. – Hideki Matsuyama gets to five under to capture a share of the lead. Just one bogey on the card for him today.

12:07 p.m. – Re: playing without fans …

12:03 p.m. – Rory Sabbitini joins Scottie Scheffler at five under with a birdie on the par-5 16th.

12:01 p.m. – Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship is being postponed due to logistical issues.

12:00 p.m. Monahan announces PGA Tour events will proceed as scheduled but will do so without fans.

11:54 a.m. – PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan getting ready to address the media at 12 p.m. regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

11:45 a.m. – Scottie Scheffler breaks free of the pack. A birdie at No. 5 has him alone at the top at five under. Strong rookie season continues for the former Texas Longhorn.

11:40 a.m. – Feature group of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler struggling early on. Three over as a group thru 10 holes.

11:29 a.m. – We now have a seven-way tie at the top. Rory Sabbitini, Scottie Scheffler, Bryson DeChambeau, Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Keith Mitchell and Christiaan Bezuidenhout all at four under.

11:22 a.m. – Update on that marquee group that played the back nine first. Rickie Fowler turns in even par, Justin Thomas is one over and Jordan Spieth is three over.

11:17 a.m. – Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Marc Leishman also to four under, and now it’s a six-way tie at the top.

11:13 a.m. – Here’s what we could be hearing at noon…

11:06 a.m. – Four-way tie for first right now at four under — Sabbatini, Scheffler, DeChambeau and Mitchell.

11:01 a.m. – By the way, here’s the clip of Knox’s five-putt. Yikes.

10:53 a.m. – Justin Thomas was three over through six holes but just chipped in for eagle 3 on the par-5 16th hole.

10:46 a.m. – Twenty-five players two under or better now.

10:42 a.m. – PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan will speak to the media at noon ET. Lots to potentially come out of that, or perhaps not much at this point. We shall see…

10:30 a.m. – Scheffler is now your leader. Five-under 31 on the front nine and he’s one ahead of Bryson. Reed jumping into contention too at three under.

10:18 a.m. – Thirty-seven guys under par right now… So, yeah, different than the last two weeks.

10:08 a.m. – Scheffler now with his fourth birdie and he’s tied for the lead.

9:57 a.m. – In one of he major marquee groups of the day, Spieth is E while Thomas and Folwer are both one over.

9:52 a.m. – Hideki is human; makes his first par on 14. Still leads at four under.

9:46 a.m. – Oh, and in case anyone wanted a Masters update, here’s our Alan Shipnuck:

9:39 a.m. – Good start for Hideki … bad start for Russell Knox.

9:34 a.m. – Hideki Matsuyama has played four holes today … and he’s made birdie on all of them. He’s four under and leading after birdies on 10-14.

9:25 a.m. – Hideki and DeChambeau now at 3 under as well. Man this start is certainly different than some of the scores we saw the last two weeks at the Honda and Bay Hill.

9:16 a.m. – Bryson and Berger now among the group at 2 under.

9:10 a.m. – And that’s birdies on 11, 12 and 13 for Scottie Scheffler (who started on the back) and he’s leading at 3 under.

9:05 a.m. – OK, lots of guys getting to 2 under early. Now Jimmy Walker, Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama all there. Some nice scoring conditions out there right now.

9 a.m. – Also, looks like fans won’t be getting any autographs this week. Not surprising.

8:56 a.m. – And your (very, very, very!) early leaders are Scottie Scheffler and Rory Sabbatini. Both 2 under.

8:46 a.m. – One of the first marquee groups, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, start their rounds. They are starting today on the 10th tee.