Thursday, March 14th, 2024


“Iron play is more important than anything else and he has really been struggling in that regard. He told me exactly what he’s been working on (this week) and that he’d worked the problems out.” – Brandel Chamblee on Rory McIlroy on Live From The PLAYERS

“We are waiting on the ShotLink details on the club toss.” – Mike Tirico on Adam Hadwin throwing his club in the water on the 18th hole

STAMFORD, Conn. – March 14, 2024 – NBC Sports presented comprehensive 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.

Dan Hicks, Mike Tirico and Steve Sands handled play-by-play duties, while Brad Faxon, Gary Koch and Notah Begay III served as analysts. John Wood, Smylie Kaufman and Roger Maltbie served as on-course reporters, while Damon Hack handled reports and interviews.

Today’s coverage included Roger Maltbie’s live interview with Jack Nicklaus winner of the inaugural PLAYERS Championship in 1974, as the event celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

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

Player Total
Rory McIlroy -7
Xander Schauffele -7
Wyndham Clark -7
Nick Taylor -6
Matt Fitzpatrick -6



Koch on TPC Sawgrass: “It’s such a fun course to watch the players on. Like we have seen today, good things and bad things can happen in such a short time.”

Koch on the greens: “The average green size is 5,500 square feet. That’s relatively small for courses on the PGA TOUR. No surprise that iron play – strokes gained approach – usually a very important stat going towards winning the championship.”

Xander Schauffele to Damon Hack on when to be aggressive or conservative: “The scare of a bogey comes when you miss the fairways here. The rough is pretty thick, shockingly thick in some spots, so you just have to keep it on the short grass.”

Faxon on the keys to winning at TPC Sawgrass: “I learned to play here not using the driver a lot. A lot of holes are like No. 4 where if you just get in the fairway, you have a short iron in and then you have to chip and putt.”

McGinley on the ideal scoring conditions today: “The weather was a big part of it and the golf course is presented in unbelievably good condition this year. I was disappointed with the softness of the greens. A big way to hold players to their standards is to have the greens a bit firmer. When you give players of these quality, ideal weather conditions, they are going to take advantage.”



Maltbie: “Did you envision the spectacle and importance The PLAYERS would have in the game today?”

Nicklaus: “We did not know but I did want to win it because Deane (Beman) wanted to make it as big of a tournament as we could make it. I said, ‘You want to get it on my list, then make it a major.’”

Maltbie: “Could you imagine in 1982 that it would become this big, beautiful park that it is today?”

Nicklaus: “It’s very pretty and the first tee here has totally changed. Everything is different but it’s in beautiful shape, it’s beautifully manicured. It’s the kind of golf course where on a day like today you’ll shoot good scores.”


ON RORY MCILROY (-7, Co-Leader)

Tirico on McIlroy: “Even with putting two balls in the penalty area off the tee today, Rory joins Justin Thomas as the last two players out of five total who have had 10 birdies in one round at The PLAYERS.”

Chamblee on McIlroy’s improved iron play on Thursday: “A lot of hard work went into this, and he had to iron some things out. This championship season, iron play is more important than anything else and he has really been struggling in that regard. He told me exactly what he’s been working on and that he’d worked the problems out.”

McIlroy to Hack on his round: “Much improved from Sunday at Bay Hill. Put a lot of work in over the last three days and honestly feel like I saw a lot of progress out there. It was a continuation of other things I have been doing well.”


ON WYNDHAM CLARK (-7, Co-Leader)

Kaufman: “His recovery ability has been incredible today, just the precision and power he plays the game with right now, it’s so impressive.”



Hicks on Scheffler’s recent success with the putter: “He eliminated the line, it’s more of a feel. Added the mallet putter and it has just been a tremendous change.”

Maltbie on Scheffler: “The level of ball-striking that he carries from week-to-week is very impressive. Even when you don’t think he’s playing that well, you look up at the scoreboard and he’s -4.”


ON ADAM HADWIN (+3, 125th)

Begay III on Hadwin tossing his club into the water on the 18th hole: “That just tells you how this golf course can rock you off your knockers.”

Tirico on Hadwin: “We are waiting on the ShotLink details on the club toss.”