"I could sense that being No. 1 and all that stuff was getting pretty hard mentally more so than physically, just the mental demand on you, the expectations".
Based in the heart of the practice range at TPC Sawgrass and situated right next to the main presenting spot, the studio saw plenty of players stop by to discuss their game ahead of golf's unofficial "fifth major".
- The drama of The Players Championship is focused on the competitors on Thursday through Sunday, but the caddies carrying the bags for the best golfers in the world got some time in the spotlight on Wednesday. You don't need to strictly avoid first timers here, but like we talked about at The Masters, experience does play a pivotal role.
Another man I simply can't leave out is Sergio Garcia, the all-time leading money victor at Sawgrass. "I'm interested to see how I can play here this week", he said. After back to back wins in Hawaii earlier this year he hit a rough patch of 3 missed cuts in 5 tournaments, but with a 22 place finish at the Masters and 5 place finish at Zurich Classic he's back into form. He said the meeting was relatively uneventful, but he got to shake hands with his favorite golfer, who thanked him for picking him up. "That just goes to show you how hard it is to come back and play this golf course - it does test every aspect of your game, not only the physical part but the mental part, as well". But this year you may notice some changes to the course, which could greatly alter the outcome of the tournament. Dustin Johnson's best finish in eight starts is last year's tie for 28th.More news: Joanna Jedrzejczyk on Jessica Andrade and Aiming for UFC Flyweight Title
"I think with me, I've got to make it's as less stressful as possible".
How could we not include the current world number one on the list to watch this weekend?
His confidence - and game - are continuing to improve, Johnson said, as he prepares to face Masters victor Sergio Garcia, newlywed Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jason Day.
"I think what won me the tournament last year was I played the back-9 probably better than most, probably best out of everyone in the field last year, and I think that's what holds the key to winning around this golf course is playing the back-9 best". He finished 6 at TPC Sawgrass in 2014, and there's a story to root for: He's coming back to play after being diagnosed with Lyme disease. Garcia said. "I'm sure it's going to be a great experience for both of us, but hopefully it helps him a lot". "Now, I'm in a rebuilding stage to try and get back to the top", he said.More news: Wizards' Oubre suspended for Game 4 for knocking over Olynyk
The Real Star of The Players....
This event is most famous for the world-renowned 17th hole, a short par three to an island green that makes even the best around quake in their boots, especially when it is windy. Pass the No-Doz. The new hole measures less than 300 yards to the front edge, has a fairway bunker down the left side, three smaller bunkers right of the green, and also is protected along the left by water, towards which the enlarged green slopes. Or as Luke Donald once put it, "It's do-or-die". "Now they still have that option of doing that, but you have the option of actually hitting a driver or 3-wood up there as well". With that pressure off, he becomes even more compelling. He is now ranked 109 in the FedEx Cup standings and 248 in the world rankings.
"The course you see this year is the best you're ever going to see it".
Exciting? Just ask Rickie Fowler, who went eagle-birdie-birdie in 2015 to get into a playoff and then wound up winning with two more birdies on the 17th. Here's hoping he can produce a shot like this again in the next four days!More news: New Orleans removes 2nd of 4 Confederate statues before dawn