Day optimistic major back pain will not return this week

Players Championship Round 1 Recap Keegan Bradley Tommy Fleetwood share lead at 7-under	
				Gregory Shamus  Getty Images

It is an indicator of Tommy Fleetwood's rising ambitions on the eve of the Players Championship that a share of third at last weekend's Arnold Palmer Invitational was something of a disappointment. It has been a little bit different: in previous years I started really fast and my confidence was so high.

"It's not painful now", said Woods. "It's always hot (in May), ball's always flying, and with it all being Bermuda, we're getting run-out".

"I still don't know how long I'll be able to play out here, but I'm still enjoying the fact that I'm able to play again and to be able to compete", Woods said.

Cape Town - Tiger Woods says his injury troubles are a thing of the past as he arrived at TPC Sawgrass for the Players Championship on Monday.

I've known about this change in schedule for nearly a year now but it is weird to be talking about the Players Championship in March. "So I'm curious to see if it's better for me or not".

"I feel good. Last week was the most confident I've felt on the golf course".

"It would be nice if we never heard or got asked questions about the USGA, because they should be off to the side and hopefully the rules are here to help us and help us play, " Bradley said. "But it's not the best course for me".

The field includes the world's top 50 players (those that commit) and is regarded as the strongest line-up in world golf around one of the games' finest course designs - Pete Dye's TPC Sawgrass; a course made for spectators.

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Simpson looks to be first to defend: PLAYERS Champion Webb Simpson is hopeful he can be the first player in tournament history to defend the title. The infamous snaking putt from the top tier to the bottom hole location where Gary Koch used the iconic "better than most" line will forever live in PLAYERS folklore.

Perhaps one of them will March to the title this week. His accuracy tee-to-green is ideal around TPC Sawgrass and a T7 finish here last year proposes he has a plan that could see him become the second English victor in the States this year.

For one of the biggest tournaments of the season, scoring around TPC Sawgrass in the last ten editions has been relatively low, with an average winning score of 14 under par.

For those going the television route, Golf Channel and NBC will have you covered on that end with 22 hours of coverage over four days.

Italian Francesco Molinari has also gained momentum coming into the Players after a spectacular putting performance nabbed him the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week. Has been hit-and-miss at TPC Sawgrass, with four top-10 results including ties for sixth in 2014 and 2017, but has missed the cut in his four other appearances in the Fifth Major, including a year ago.

Form isn't a particularly strong indicator when it comes to picking a victor at the PLAYERS, but the past 20 winners had all made the cut in their previous start, so it's important to at least not be coming off a stinker. Has a victory in the Waste Management Phoenix Open among three finishes in the top five this season.

Unlike other professional sports leagues, such as the NFL and National Basketball Association, which have their own rules that differ from how the game is played at other levels, the various professional tours have always adhered to the Rules of Golf. He has not finished out of the top 20 in his three starts this year, though he not finished closer than eight shots of the victor. One huge shocker the model is calling for: Woods, a two-time victor of this event and a 14-time major champion, doesn't even crack the top 10.

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