The stage is set for one of the highlights of the golfing calendar, with the 2020 Players Championship getting under way at the iconic TPC Sawgrass on Thursday.
Rory McIlroy is back as the defending champion and many experts' favourite to win golf's unofficial fifth major again. The Northern irishman moved to the top of golf's world rankings earlier in the year. There's a stellar cast of players who will be in contention for glory, though.
In addition to the title itself, the winner picks up a sizeable $2,700,000 in prize money. Here is a break down of what's on offer for the top players and preview of what's to come over the course of four action-packed days.
Players Championship - Prize Money Distribution
Per CBS Sports, the event will be the first time in history that an overall purse of $15 million will be available to the players.
The Players Championship often sets the tone for the golf season, and the world's best are poised to fiercely contest the prize.
McIlroy should be bristling with confidence. Although he's not yet won in 2020, he's not finished below fifth in any of the events he's played this season, with his game evidently in excellent shape going into the tournament.
Sean Martin of the PGA Tour commented on the regularity with which the Northern Irishman has finished high up the standings in his recent outings:
McIlroy will have positive memories of Sawgrass, having held off veteran Jim Furyk to win the title in 2019. Here are the highlights of that memorable performance:
Another man many expect to perform well this week is Jon Rahm, with the Spaniard also enjoying a strong start to the season and moving up to second in the world rankings.
Like McIlroy, he has a number of encouraging finishes to his name this season, though he has yet to get over the line. Rahm led the way after three days a year ago at Sawgrass, only to shoot 76 on Sunday and plummet down the leaderboard.
In 2020, he'll be keen to showcase the improvements he's made as a player. Golf analyst Ron Mintz thinks Rahm has what's required to win in 2020:
Brooks Koepka is another name worth keeping an eye on when the big events roll around, and he'll be hoping the competition can be the catalyst for him turning around what has been a challenging season so far.
The American is a four-time major champion and enjoyed a memorable 2019. Per golf writer Jason Sobel, it's clear he's keen to put his recent struggles behind him:
Elsewhere, Justin Thomas has had an encouraging beginning to the year, with a win at the Tournament of Champions. Dustin Johnson will also be out to get back to winning ways, having gone over year without a victory.
Yet as things stand, McIlroy looks like he will be hard to beat this weekend. If he does win, the Northern Irishman will make history as the first player ever to win the Players Championship in two consecutive years.