FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 9th, 2023
NOTES AND QUOTES – THE 2023 PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP ON GOLF CHANNEL AND PEACOCK (FIRST ROUND)
“I just think Rory is tired. I think the battery is down. It’s going to be a big ask for him to get back into this tournament.” – Paul McGinley on Rory McIlroy on Live From The PLAYERS
“It was a Goldilocks day, wasn’t it? It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold, it wasn’t too windy, it wasn’t too humid – it was perfect for scoring.” – Brandel Chamblee on Live From The PLAYERS
“It sure doesn’t look like it’s his first time here.” – Brad Faxon on Chad Ramey, Leader at -8
“There’s a certain level of stress when you come here, it is amped up…if you have a bad first round, you’re probably finished.” – Paul Azinger
STAMFORD, Conn. – March 9, 2023 – NBC Sports presented exclusive coverage of the first round of The PLAYERS Championship from The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., on GOLF Channel and Peacock. Golf Central Live From The PLAYERS followed with post-round coverage.
Play was suspended at 6:28 p.m. ET due to darkness. Tomorrow’s second round coverage begins at noon ET on GOLF Channel and Peacock.
Mike Tirico and Dan Hicks handled play-by-play duties, while Brad Faxon, Paul McGinley and Paul Azinger served as analysts. Curt Byrum and Jimmy Roberts called holes and John Wood, Notah Begay III and Smylie Kaufman served as on-course reporters, while Damon Hack handled reports and interviews.
Rich Lerner, Brandel Chamblee and Paul McGinley anchored Live From The PLAYERS post-round coverage. Following are notes and quotes from today’s coverage.
PLAYERS Championship – First Round Leaderboard
*first round in progress
ON TPC SAWGRASS STADIUM COURSE AND CONDITIONS
Paul McGinley: “Normally I’m a great believer in horses for courses, that you can see the identity of a player who will perform well on a particular golf course. You throw that out the window when you come here. Look at some of the past champions we’ve had here, short hitters like Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Fred Funk…then you look on the other side and the big hitters have won here too. One thing is for sure – the big players of their era have won here.”
Brandel Chamblee on Live From: “It was a Goldilocks day, wasn’t it? It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold, it wasn’t too windy, it wasn’t too humid – it was perfect for scoring.”
Paul Azinger: “It couldn’t be any easier for the players right now. This is the easiest (TPC Sawgrass) has played in a first round that I can remember.”
Azinger: “There’s a certain level of stress when you come here, it is amped up…it’s very important to play well here in the first round, only one player has won after being over par in the first round…if you have a bad first round, you’re probably finished.”
ON RORY MCILROY (+4, T-118th)
McGinley on Live From: “One of the features of his golf over the past 14 months…has been his ability to focus. We’ve admired this from a distance, with everything going on with him front and center…it’s quite incredible what he’s achieved…I just think Rory is tired. I think the battery is down. It’s going to be a big ask for him to get back into this tournament…we saw some clumsiness from him today, and that’s a sign that you’re not focused.”
ON JORDAN SPIETH (-3, T-12th)
Brad Faxon on Spieth’s ability around the greens: “I sometimes hope that Jordan Spieth will miss the green so that we can have the pleasure of seeing what he can come up with.”
ON JUSTIN THOMAS (+1, T-72nd)
Azinger on Thomas’ greenside chip into the water on No. 4: “What a mistake. I never thought I’d see Justin Thomas do something like that.”
Faxon on Thomas’ putting struggles in the first round: “The shadows are getting longer too, I just wonder if the light is changing what these players are seeing at all.”
ON CHAD RAMEY (-8, Leader)
Faxon following his tee shot on 17th hole to two feet: “It sure doesn’t look like it’s his first time here – one-for-one with a tap-in two on your first try…you’ve seen this on television, now you’re doing it for real and what a shot.”
McGinley on tee shot on 17th hole: “It’s a good glimpse into the confidence levels of his soul…he’s certainly in the zone right now.”