Scottie Scheffler will become world No 1 once again if he finishes in top five at TPC Sawgrass following Jon Rahm’s withdrawal; Scheffler leads Min Woo Lee by two shots ahead of final round – watch live on Sky Sports Golf from 2pm on Sunday
Last Updated: 12/03/23 12:54am
Scottie Scheffler says winning The Players is more important to him than regaining the world No 1 spot as he heads into the final round at TPC Sawgrass with a two-shot lead.
The world No 2 will overhaul Jon Rahm if he finishes in the top five at Ponte Vedra Beach on Sunday with Rahm having withdrawn from The Players before his second round due to a stomach virus.
Scheffler is at 14 under after 54 holes, with Min Woo Lee his nearest challenger on 12 under and English trio Tommy Fleetwood (nine under), Aaron Rai (nine under) and Justin Rose (seven under) also in contention to become the first player from their country to win the tournament.
Scheffler said: “I think the ranking is just an algorithm. I would much rather win the tournament than get back to No 1 in the world.
“My focus is going out and having a solid round of golf and the rankings will be the rankings.”
Scheffler: Hard work is paying off
Scheffler is eyeing a second victory of 2023 after successfully defending the WM Phoenix Open last month, while a win in Florida on Sunday would earn the 2022 Masters champion his sixth in a little over a year.
The Players Championship Live
March 12, 2023, 2:00pm
He added: “I prepare to be in these moments. I prepare to come out here and play well.
“When I’m at home getting ready for tournaments, I’m hopeful that I’m going to be in this position, and I’ve been fortunate so far this year that the hard work is continuing to pay off.
“I’ve been on a lot of leaderboards and it’s a lot more fun being in the lead than being 20th. It’s a lot more fun being in the arena and being in the moment.”
Fleetwood: ‘Amazing’ to be in contention at The Players
Fleetwood is still searching for his maiden PGA Tour victory after six on the DP World Tour.
Asked whether that adds any extra incentive, the Englishman said: “No, not really. That’s been a goal, a dream, an incentive as long as I’ve been playing out here.
“I would have loved to have done it by now. I would have loved to have done it multiple times. But I haven’t. Sunday is another chance.
“I think it will be great to go out there teeing off on Sunday with a chance to win The Players. That’s an amazing feeling.
“But what’s important for me is to play like the player that I want to be, and be at that standard with the best players in the world, to keep giving myself more and more chances.
“I haven’t put myself in contention enough at the start of this year, so this is as good a time as any to start. The more I can play like I want to play, the more I give myself chances and hopefully, my time will come.”
Rose: Pebble Beach win has taken pressure off
Rose is two shots behind compatriot Fleetwood after a bogey at the 18th on Saturday.
The 42-year-old is looking to add to the AT&T Pebble Beach ProAm title he landed last month, which was his first victory since 2019.
Rose said: “Obviously I’ve tasted a lot of success on the PGA Tour and the last of couple seasons haven’t been as easy.
“The results haven’t been kind so you scratch your head at times. I think that leads to possibly a little frustration.
“Hopefully the win has taken a little valve off the pressure cooker. You can go into it a little bit more foot down, play a little freer.
“When you’re confident of being on the leaderboard week-in, week-out, you do play in a slightly different fashion.”
Watch the final round of The Players live on Sky Sports Golf from 2pm on Sunday.
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