Week three of the Florida Swing brings the golfers to Sawgrass for arguably the fifth most important tournament on the PGA Tour schedule.
Twelve months ago, The Players Championship was curtailed in mid-flight when officials informed Hideki Matsuyama that his course-record equalling 63 would could for nothing.
At the end of round one in 2020, the PGA Tour took the difficult decision to abandon the event in the face of the escalating Covid crisis which was starting to engulf countries in the 'West'.
All of which means, the 2019 winner Rory McIlroy will arrive in Ponte Vedra this week as the defending champion.
Unfortunately for McIlroy, no reigning champion has ever successfully defended this title although, with last year's event being cut short, perhaps this particular hoodoo will not apply this week.
The best finish by a reigning champion is fifth - most recently achieved in 2001 - while the last winner to post a top-10 on his return to Sawgrass was Adam Scott 16 years ago.
TPC Sawgrass certainly likes to share the honours around, with just four winners claiming a second Players Championship title in its 39 years.
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No one has triumphed three times since the event moved to Sawgrass although Tiger Woods did win the US Amateur Championship over the Stadium Course when it was held here in 1994.
In 2019, the tournament returned to March - after 12 years being staged in May.
To accommodate the new date, and take into account changing weather conditions, organisers decided to overseed the greens, tees, fairways and rough.
According to Jeff Plotts, who is the director of golf course operations at TPC Sawgrass, "overseeding the golf course will help produce the best playing surfaces possible.
"Divots and ball marks will recover quicker, and rye grass will handle foot traffic better than Bermuda grass on its own."
Switching back to March meant conditions favoured the bigger hitters, and McIlroy truly obliged.
Suddenly there was less run on the fairways, and the ball didn't travel as far through the colder air. However, on the plus side, the softer putting surfaces became a lot more receptive to approach shots.
On the tee
As to be expected for a tournament of this stature, 48 of the leading 50 players are teeing-up on Thursday: The exceptions being the injured Brooks Koepka and Matthew Wolff.
Tournament favourite and world No 1 Dustin Johnson struggled during his early visits to Sawgrass but has posted a trio of top-20s since the start of 2017.
This included a first ever top-10 in 2019, when the event returned to its March date.
McIlroy, while not playing badly (only once outside the top-25 in his last 12 starts) is certainly struggling to put four good rounds together.
One player who does seem well placed to take advantage of the March conditions is the long driving Jon Rahm.
The Spaniard tied-12th at Sawgrass two years ago and the 26-year-old is certainly one of the world's most consistent pros. He hasn't reached No 2 by accident.
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And if you're looking to back someone outside of the world's elite in this incredibly strong field, with regards to posting a top-three, top-five or perhaps a surprise victory, then what about rising star Will Zalatoris?
The world No 46's dramatic rise up the Ranking continued with a top-10 at Bay Hill on Sunday.
He's no slouch off the tee and, at 24, he appears to be fearless. The one negative is that he will be making his Sawgrass debut.
Opened in 1980, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is laid out among the north Florida swamps and is a layout which demands accuracy from tee-to-green.
It's putting surfaces are smaller than the Tour average, along with narrower than normal fairways.
In 2016, the course underwent a revamp with the aim of increasing the number of times water came into play during a round.
Water and sand are a constant threat and, according to the PGA Tour: "Short grass was added around some greens to promote creativity, while several greens were expanded to add new hole locations."
Laid out around 12 miles south-east of Jacksonville city centre, and one mile from the Atlantic Ocean, the Stadium Course made its PGA Tour debut in 1982.
When Tour commissioner Deane Beman purchased the land for this course during the mid-to-late 1970s, he instructed Pete Dye to build a course that would not suit any one type of player.
Yet recent stats, at least, favour those who hit plenty of Greens in Regulation.
In 2019, five of the leading 11 players in this particular category finished inside the top 10, with another three from this group earning a top-25 finish. These included the champion Rory McIlroy.
The 2018 winner Webb Simpson enjoyed the fifth best GiR for the week, while also topping the Driving Accuracy stats.
The data was even more pronounced in 2017, when nine of the best 16 GiR figures belonged to players who were among the top-12 finishers, while only three of this 16 finished outside the top 25.
And the story goes on. Five years ago, six of the leading seven GiR performers finished inside the top 20.
Course Comparisons (1.1.16 - 31.12.20)
Driving Accuracy (%)
73.88: Sea Island (RSM Classic) (1/29)
63.62: TPC Sawgrass (Players Ch`ship) (11/29)
52.24: Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance) (29/29)
Greens in Regulation (%)
75.98: Sedgefield (Wyndham) (1/29)
66.95: TPC Sawgrass (Players Ch`ship) (16/29)
58.99: Innisbrook (Valspar) (29/29)
1.664: PGA West (host) (American Express) (1/29)
1.753: TPC Sawgrass (Players Ch`ship) (16/29)
2.668: Augusta National (Masters) (29/29)
Key: Above stats are for all 29 courses which staged four or more PGA Tour events between January 1st, 2016 and December 31st, 2020. To qualify for a ranking (between 1 & 29), tournaments must have a minimum of 50 players competing over the final two rounds of the event. Averages do not include players who failed to complete at least 54 holes.
TPC Sawgrass Data (2016-20)
DA: (T10 - 65.69%); (Cat10 - 74.87%)
GiR: (T10 - 70.21%); (Cat10 - 75.41%)
Putts: (T10 - 1.691); (Cat10 - 1.635)
Key: T10 (Average for Top-10 finishers); Cat10 (Average for Top-10 in Category)
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves