PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Every year at The Players there are several young players that are looking to make a name for themselves. This year the group of players under the age of 30 is as strong as its ever been.
“Well, I think starting with [Jordan] Spieth, we all saw he was a 20-year-old doing what he did,” said Jon Rahm who is a first timer at The Players this year. “At 21 or 22 he was already winning majors, so I think that got all of us a lot more competitive than we already were, and then, you know, the beginning of the year was just a bunch of rookies wining. We got Cody Gribble, then Mackenzie Hughes, then I won at Torrey. The trend kept going.”
Even receiving an invite to The Players is an accomplishment in its own right. The qualifications are among the toughest on the entire tour schedule. Rookie Cody Gribble realizes what an opportunity he has this weekend to compete against the best golfers in the world.
“Playing this fall and kind of getting hot when needed to get hot, just being able win out here on Tour, it brings so much confidence to you that you know you can do it and you belong out here,” said Gribble. “I’m just lucky that I was able to get in this year.”
In addition to the tough field, the course itself is also a huge challenge at The Players.
“Yeah, it’s known as the fifth major, but you still have to treat it like any other tournament,” said Tyrell Hatton. “Obviously the 17th has got its reputation, and it’s certainly a hole that I’m looking forward to playing once the tournament gets started. But apart from that, it’s just – you have to treat it like another week and just try to play as well as you can.”