Ryder Cup winner Robert MacIntyre trolled his American hosts at the Valspar Championship in Florida after labelling his caddie’s bib with the scoreline from Europe’s victory in Rome.

The Scot, who was unbeaten with two-and-a-half-points in the Marco Simone Country Club in September, took advantage of a quirk of the tournament which allows players to choose their own wording for their bagman’s attire.

MacIntyre opted for EUR 16.5 – 11.5 USA, a reference to America’s crushing defeat as Luke Donald’s side won back the trophy, for Mike Burrows’ bib.

However, Englishman Burrows was not even on MacIntyre’s bag for the Ryder Cup as they did not pair up until a month later.

MacIntyre’s choice understandably received mixed responses. Ryder Cup Europe posted on X: “He’s only gone and done it. We approve” but their USA counterparts wrote “Never too soon to start thinking about Bethpage in 2025”, while the official PGA Tour account simply said “Too soon?”

Unfortunately for the 27-year-old left-hander he could not rediscover the form he showed in Italy, with just two birdies and a bogey in a one-under opening round which left him six off the lead set by Kevin Streelman.

The Scot’s two American playing partners Kevin Roy and Chandler Phillips both outscored him, shooting six under and three under respectively.

MacIntyre is making his ninth appearance on the PGA Tour this season and has missed the cut in half of his previous events, including last week’s Players Championship.

Zandre Roye, hailing from Jamaica, etched his name in history books as he clinched the Trinidad & Tobago Open Golf Championship title, becoming the first Jamaican to achieve this remarkable feat. Roye's stellar performance saw him dominate the field from day one, ultimately securing victory by a commanding nine-shot margin at the Tobago Plantation Golf Course on Sunday.

Throughout the four-day championship, Roye showcased exceptional consistency and skill, posting impressive scores of four over par 76, one under par 71, one over par 73, and par 72 on days one through four, respectively. Holding the lead from start to finish, Roye's determination propelled him to an overall score of four over par 292, firmly establishing his dominance over the competition.

His nearest competitor, Zico Correia from Trinidad & Tobago, trailed behind with a score of 13 over par 301, securing second place, while Chris Richards Jr., also from Trinidad & Tobago, claimed third place with a score of 18 over par 306.

Reflecting on his historic victory, Roye expressed his elation and described his mindset during the challenging conditions on the final day. Confident in his abilities and drawing on past experiences, he maintained his composure and focused on executing each shot to perfection, ultimately widening the gap between himself and his closest rivals.

Roye's commanding lead allowed him to navigate the final holes with confidence, culminating in a triumphant finish on the last hole with a nine-shot advantage. His remarkable achievement marks a significant milestone in his golfing career and reaffirms his status as one of the sport's rising stars.

Looking ahead, Roye sets his sights on the Easter Jamboree at the Upton Estate Golf & Country Club, eager to continue his winning momentum on his home course.

Despite facing formidable competition, fellow Jamaican golfers Oshae Haye and Sean Morris displayed commendable performances, finishing in 15th and 18th place, respectively, in the championship flight.

In addition to Roye's individual triumph, Jamaica secured victory in the President's Cup, propelled by the stellar performances of Roye and Haye. Trinidad & Tobago claimed second place, with St. Kitts & Nevis rounding out the top three.

Dr. Mark Newnham emerged victorious in the Senior's Flight, while Zeke Percival of St. Kitts & Nevis and Russell Latapy of Trinidad & Tobago secured second and third place, respectively.

The Jamaica Olympic Association and the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission played integral roles in facilitating Jamaica's participation in the championship.

Tiger Woods has been included in an 85-man field for the Masters published on the tournament’s official website.

Woods has not competed since withdrawing from February’s Genesis Invitational due to illness after six holes of his second round.

It was the 48-year-old’s first PGA Tour event of the season and just his second tournament since undergoing ankle surgery in April last year after withdrawing from the Masters during the third round.

Woods did not compete again until the Hero World Challenge in December, where he finished 18th in the 20-man field but said he was pleased with his progress and that his goal of playing one tournament a month in 2024 was “reasonable”.

The 15-time major winner has not officially confirmed his participation in the Masters but will be desperate to return to Augusta National, where he won his first major title in 1997 and his most recent in 2019.

Woods was one of the six PGA Tour player-directors who met officials from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in the Bahamas on Monday as efforts continue to make a deal to end golf’s civil war.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan met PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan in January and the players followed suit the day after the Players Championship concluded at Sawgrass.

Olympic champion Xander Schauffele believes the best is yet to come in his career after narrowly missing out on the Players Championship title.

Schauffele took a one-shot lead into the final round at Sawgrass on Sunday and was still in front of the charging Scottie Scheffler when he recorded his fourth birdie of the day on the 12th.

However, Scheffler – who had started the day five shots behind – drew level with a birdie on the 16th and Schauffele then bogeyed the 14th and 15th to leave himself with too much to do over the closing stretch.

“I think I’m always pretty tough on myself, but you kind of put it to rest to a certain extent,” Schauffele told a press conference ahead of the Valspar Championship.

“So I wouldn’t say I was too hard on myself on Sunday night.

“I accepted it, was overall pretty pleased with how I was able to play. I’d not been able to play super well since they moved the Players (from May to March), so just another close call under my belt for now.

“I just stay true to myself. I’m pretty aware of the path that I’ve been on my entire career. It’s been a slower path, I would say.

“Sounds kind of weird, but just always consider myself sort of a slower learner. Even when I was in college, I wasn’t some world beater shooting 60 and playing in Tour events when I was 16 or 17 or 18 years old even.

“There’s tons of guys who have qualified for US Opens when they were 16. That ate me up when I was a kid and it made me grind and push even harder, sort of have that chip on my shoulder.

“I just sort of look back on that, and I’ve had success, but to me I feel like the best is in front of me, and the only way it’s not going to be in front of me is if I let all these things get to my head and not play my game.”

Masters champion Jon Rahm hopes golf can achieve “some type of union” as he set his sights on a Sunday showdown with his PGA Tour rivals at Augusta National.

The Tour’s six player-directors met with officials from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in the Bahamas on Monday as efforts continue to make a deal to end golf’s civil war.

The PIF bankrolls the breakaway LIV Golf League, which Rahm joined in a stunning move in December, meaning the majors are now the only events which see all of the world’s top players competing against each other.

“I’ve been playing good golf, but I’m definitely looking forward to joining with the rest of the best golfers in the world and teeing it up in the Masters with them,” Rahm said in a teleconference ahead of the year’s first major from April 11-14.

“I’m assuming there will be quite a few that are not happy, but from my side nothing changes. I still respect everybody on both sides and respect the game of golf above all.

“I think there’s a way of co-existing and, if there’s some type of union, I don’t know what that looks like. I just want to see again the best in the world being able to compete against the best in the world, whatever that looks like.

“If there is some type of peace achieved I think it can actually push the game forward.”

Rahm has finished third, eighth, fifth and 14th in his four LIV events to date and will compete in Miami the week before his Masters title defence. On the PGA Tour last year, Rahm won three times in eight starts before claiming his second major title at Augusta.

“I feel like my game is in really good position,” he added. “I have not played my best yet, but I can see it every tournament getting a little bit better and getting to a point where I like where I’m at coming up to the Masters.

“I am looking forward to hopefully having a great week and a great Sunday back-nine showdown with some of those great players because at the end of the day it’s what golf and spectators deserve.

“With that said, I’m hoping I can cruise the last three holes with an eight or nine-shot lead and know I can walk up 18 knowing I can make a nine or a 10 and win it, but it would be really fun also to come down to the wire and make a birdie on 18 to win it.

“That would be quite incredible.”

Rahm used the teleconference to reveal the full details of his Champions Dinner menu, including a lentil stew made to his grandmother’s recipe by chef Jose Andres.

“He called my grandma for the recipe so if somebody doesn’t like it, please don’t tell me,” Rahm joked.

“Don’t tell anyone actually.”

Scottie Scheffler overturned a five-shot deficit to become the first player to successfully defend the Players Championship in the tournament’s 50-year history.

Scheffler carded an eagle and six birdies in a flawless closing 64 at Sawgrass to finish 20 under par, a shot ahead of US Open champion Wyndham Clark, Open champion Brian Harman and Xander Schauffele.

Clark birdied the 16th and 17th to keep his hopes alive but agonisingly lipped out for another birdie on the last to force a play-off.

Overnight leader Schauffele paid the price for dropped shots on the 14th and 15th and also missed from seven feet for birdie on the treacherous 17th.

“It’s pretty special,” Scheffler told CBS. “It’s something you don’t really get the opportunity to do very often.

“It’s tough enough to win one Players so to have it back-to-back is extremely special and I’m really thankful.

“I put up a good fight for four days, Teddy (Scott, his caddie) kept me in a good head space. We had a great finish yesterday, got off to a slow start today and then the hole-out on four kind of propelled us a little bit.

“I hit a lot of good shots today, did a lot of good things this week and it’s nice to come out on top.”

Asked how he had coped with the neck injury he suffered during Friday’s second round, Scheffler added: “I’m a pretty competitive guy and didn’t want to give up in the tournament.

“I did what I could to hang around until my neck got better and then today it felt really good.”

Scheffler, who also won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five shots last week, kickstarted his challenge by holing out from 92 yards for an eagle on the fourth and also birdied the fifth, eighth and ninth to race to the turn in 31.

That gave the world number one his first share of the lead and although Schauffele moved back in front with birdies on the seventh and ninth, Scheffler birdied the 11th and then drove the green on the short par-four 12th to set up another.

Schauffele picked up a shot on the same hole to take the outright lead again, but Scheffler birdied the 16th to draw level before Schauffele crucially dropped shots on the 14th and 15th.

Xander Schauffele produced a superb display to overtake Wyndham Clark for the outright lead after the third round of the Players Championship at Sawgrass.

US Open champion Clark – who was four ahead of Schauffele and Canada’s Nick Taylor overnight at 14-under par – started his round by digging out of the rough to make a birdie.

However, Olympic champion Schauffele continued to chase him down, sinking a 14-foot birdie on the sixth to close within two shots which was down to just one stroke at the turn.

After Clark found the water off the 12th tee before saving par, Schauffele capitalised with yet another birdie and then made a 58-foot putt at the 14th which saw him take a one-shot lead.

Clark, though, landed a 30-foot birdie on the par-five 16th to level things up again before finding the water at the 17th and opting to take another off the tee rather than a drop, which saw him make a four and so give Schauffele a one-shot lead heading to the 18th.

Schauffele tapped in his par for a superb 65, while Schauffele was two under for the day with his 70 for a 17-under total.

Open champion Brian Harman built on a solid start to sign for a 64, the best score of the week so far, as he put himself in contention at 15 under.

Harman found the trees at the par-five ninth, which resulted in him making a six, but he then picked up successive birdies with another from 17 feet on the 14th closing the gap on the lead.

Rory McIlroy’s bid for a second Players Championship victory received a late rally with birdies on the final three holes to sign for a 69 and sit at nine-under overall.

The Northern Irishman, who had shared the first-round lead, went into the turn level, but made successive birdies from the 11th – only to then take a six on the 14th after finding the far greenside bunker.

However, three straight birdies from the 16th, when he played out from under the trees, gave the world number two some hope of making a late charge on Sunday.

World number one Scottie Scheffler continued to be troubled by a neck problem as he slipped down the leaderboard after a round of 68.

Scheffler – bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the Players Championship title in its 50-year history – came to Sawgrass on the back of an impressive five-shot win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

However, the American had needed treatment from a PGA Tour physio dudring his second round, and started Saturday with black tape on his neck.

A birdie at the par-five second was followed by a bogey at the fifth before Scheffler recovered another stroke on the next and headed into the turn at one under.

Scheffler found the water off the tee at the 12th, but recovered to save par and then made three birdies over the closing three holes to keep himself in the hunt at 12 under despite his fitness worries.

Taylor, meanwhile, plummeted down the leaderboard after a bogey on the fourth was followed by a six at the par-four sixth, another at the ninth and then 10th. Although he picked up a couple of shots from the next, yet another bogey on the 18th saw him finish with a four-over 76.

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick recovered from a double bogey on the fourth and another dropped shot two holes later to finish with four birdies on the back nine in his 68.

Fitzpatrick is tied for fourth at 13 under alongside Maverick McNealy, who hit a second successive 68, while an eagle on 16 helped Sahith Theegala to a 67, which sees him one stroke back in a tie for sixth alongside Scheffler.

Wyndham Clark looked to maintain his slender lead over Xander Schauffele as moving day got into full swing at the third round of the Players Championship at Sawgrass.

The US Open champion – who was four ahead of Olympic champion Schauffele and Canada’s Nick Taylor overnight at 14-under par – started his round by digging out of the rough to make a birdie.

However, Schauffele continued to chase him down, sinking a 14-foot birdie on the sixth to close within two shots which was down to just one stroke at the turn.

Clark, though, promptly picked up another birdie on the seventh, only to drop it straight back on the next and went into the turn one under for the day.

World number one Scottie Scheffler was playing through the pain barrier, having received treatment from a PGA Tour physio during his second round, and started Saturday with black tape on his neck.

Scheffler is bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the Players Championship title in its 50-year history and came to Sawgrass on the back of an impressive five-shot win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

A birdie at the par-five second was followed by a bogey at the fifth before Scheffler recovered another stroke on the next and headed into the turn at one under, missing a birdie chance from six feet.

Schauffele, though, kept the pressure on as he sunk his to move within one at 14 under overall.

Rory McIlroy’s bid for a second Players Championship victory had been dented by a second round of 73 to drop eight shots off the pace, having shared the first-round lead following an opening 65.

The Northern Irishman started Saturday’s round brightly, picking up a birdie on the second only to then drop a shot straight away on the par-three third.

Although he made successive birdies from the 11th, a double bogey at the 14th saw his hopes fade further after finishing the far greenside bunker.

Taylor, meanwhile, dropped down the leaderboard after a bogey on the fourth was followed by a six at the par-four sixth and another at the ninth to go into the turn at four over for the day.

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick had started the day in a tie for third. He made a good start, picking up a birdie from two feet on the first hole but then suffered a double bogey on the fourth and dropped another stroke at both the sixth and ninth.

Open champion Brian Harman was enjoying a solid round to move into contention, having built on being two under through the first four holes.

Harman found the trees at the par-five ninth, which resulted in him making a six, but he then picked up successive birdies to sit at five under for the day through 11 holes.

Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg climbed up the leaderboard after a five-under 67, which could have been lower but for a bogey on the first and last holes, while Doug Ghim was also in the clubhouse at nine under after his 66.

Americans Sam Burns and Adam Schenk had been among the biggest movers of the early starters to both sit at eight under.

Burns – who just survived the cut – carded a seven-under-par 65, which saw him land a 38-foot birdie putt on the 17th, while Schenk hit a 66, including an eagle on the 16th.

Rickie Fowler finished at four over after a round of 76 saw him drop down the leaderboard – the American having shouted at a fan on the 16th tee for apparently disturbing his swing with noise of their camera clicking.

Rory McIlroy’s bid for a second Players Championship victory suffered a potentially fatal blow as Scottie Scheffler played through the pain barrier to keep his hopes of an historic title defence alive.

McIlroy held a share of the overnight lead following an opening 65 at Sawgrass, but could only add a second round of 73 to slump eight shots behind US Open champion Wyndham Clark.

An erratic start saw McIlroy card three birdies and three bogeys in the first six holes and, after reaching the turn in 35 with a birdie on the ninth, the world number two bogeyed the 12th, birdied the 13th and double-bogeyed the next in a frustrating inward nine of 38.

Scheffler had earlier received treatment from a PGA Tour physio during a second round of 69 which left him six behind Clark, who reached halfway at 14 under par thanks to a second-consecutive 65.

“I hit a shot on my second hole today and I felt a little something in my neck,” Scheffler, who had started from the 10th hole, explained.

“Then I tried to hit my tee shot on 12 and that’s when I could barely get the club back. So I got some treatment, maybe it loosened up a tiny bit, but most of the day I was pretty much labouring to get the club somehow away from me.

“I did what I could to kind of stay in the tournament today and hopefully it’ll loosen up and then I’ll be able to make somewhat normal swings tomorrow.

“The way I was getting around the course, the way my neck was feeling, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue playing, so yeah, good fight out there.”

Scheffler, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five shots on Sunday, is bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the Players Championship title in its 50-year history.

Clark made eight birdies – including five in six holes around the turn – to end the day four shots clear of Olympic champion Xander Schauffele and Canada’s Nick Taylor, with Matt Fitzpatrick and Maverick McNealy another stroke back.

“My iron play’s been very solid, I’ve rolled in a handful of putts and then I’ve really been mentally strong so I’d say all of those things are why I’m sitting where I am right now,” Clark said.

England’s Fitzpatrick held the outright lead when he carded his fifth birdie of the day on the third, his 12th hole, to reach 10 under par, only to find the water with his approach from the rough on the next to run up a double bogey.

“I felt the lie was good enough to kind of hack it on to the right side (of the green),” said Fitzpatrick, who birdied his final hole of the day to add a 69 to his opening 66.

“I was aiming at the right bunker, which if you kind of go back there, you realise how far right it was. It just kind of snagged me and went left.

“Otherwise I felt like I did everything well. Just felt like I played solid overall. Made a couple of putts when I needed to, drove the ball well and my approach play was good as well.”

Asked about trailing Clark by five shots, Fitzpatrick added: “Anything can happen over the weekend, there’s still two days, so you never know.

“Another couple of six-under rounds over the weekend and you never know what can happen. So, for me it’s just about trying to stay patient, just keep doing what I’m doing and go from there.”

World number one Scottie Scheffler played through the pain barrier to keep his hopes of an historic title defence alive in the Players Championship.

Scheffler received treatment from a PGA Tour physio during a second round of 69 at Sawgrass which left him six shots behind clubhouse leader Wyndham Clark, the US Open champion carding a second-consecutive 65.

“I hit a shot on my second hole today and I felt a little something in my neck,” Scheffler, who had started from the 10th hole, explained.

“Then I tried to hit my tee shot on 12 and that’s when I could barely get the club back. So I got some treatment, maybe it loosened up a tiny bit, but most of the day I was pretty much labouring to get the club somehow away from me.

“I did what I could to kind of stay in the tournament today and hopefully it’ll loosen up and then I’ll be able to make somewhat normal swings tomorrow.

“The way I was getting around the course, the way my neck was feeling, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue playing, so yeah, good fight out there.”

Scheffler, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five shots on Sunday, is bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the Players Championship title in its 50-year history.

Clark made eight birdies – including five in six holes around the turn – to reach 14 under par and enjoy a five-shot lead over the man he succeeded as US Open champion, England’s Matt Fitzpatrick.

“My iron play’s been very solid, I’ve rolled in a handful of putts and then I’ve really been mentally strong so I’d say all of those things are why I’m sitting where I am right now,” Clark said.

Fitzpatrick held the outright lead when he carded his fifth birdie of the day on the third, his 12th hole, to reach 10 under par, only to find the water with his approach from the rough on the next to run up a double bogey.

“I felt the lie was good enough to kind of hack it on to the right side (of the green),” explained Fitzpatrick, who birdied his final hole of the day to add a 69 to his opening 66.

“I was aiming at the right bunker, which if you kind of go back there, you realise how far right it was. It just kind of snagged me and went left.

“Otherwise I felt like I did everything well. Just felt like I played solid overall. Made a couple of putts when I needed to, drove the ball well and my approach play was good as well.”

Asked about trailing Clark by five shots, Fitzpatrick added: “Anything can happen over the weekend, there’s still two days, so you never know.

“Another couple of six-under rounds over the weekend and you never know what can happen. So, for me it’s just about trying to stay patient, just keep doing what I’m doing and go from there.”

Rory McIlroy insisted his conscience was clear after shrugging off a lengthy debate over a penalty drop to claim a share of the clubhouse lead on day one of the Players Championship.

Having started from the 10th at TPC Sawgrass, McIlroy looked set to lead outright when he covered his first 15 holes in eight under par, only to pull his tee shot on the seventh into the water.

It was not clear where the ball had bounced before entering the hazard and that led to a near 10-minute discussion with playing partners Viktor Hovland and Jordan Spieth, who appeared to question the location of McIlroy’s drop.

McIlroy eventually hit his third shot short of the green and ran up a double-bogey six, but made his 10th birdie of the day on the par-five ninth to match the seven-under-par 65 of Olympic champion Xander Schauffele.

“I think Jordan [Spieth] was just trying to make sure that I was doing the right thing,” McIlroy told reporters after the round.

“I was pretty sure that my ball had crossed where I was sort of dropping it. It’s so hard, right, because there was no TV evidence.

“If anything I was being conservative with it. I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to protect ourselves, protect the field, as well.

“I was adamant, but I guess I started to doubt myself a little bit. I was like, ‘OK, did I actually see what I thought I saw?’. It is a bit of a [television] blind spot. I think the best view was from the tee, which was the view that we had.”

Hovland and Spieth chose not to speak to the media after rounds of 73 and 74 respectively, but McIlroy – who faced a similar drop situation on the 18th – was asked if everyone in the group had been comfortable with the outcome.

“I think so, yeah,” McIlroy added. “I’m comfortable. I think that’s the most important thing.

“I feel like I’m one of the most conscientious golfers out here, so if I feel like I’ve done something wrong, it’ll play on my conscience for the rest of the tournament.

“I’m a big believer in karma and if you do something wrong, I feel like it’s going to come around and bite you at some point.

“I obviously don’t try to do anything wrong out there, and play by the rules and do the right thing. I feel like I obviously did that those two drops.”

New Zealand’s Ryan Fox had earlier made history as the first man to follow an eagle on the 16th with a hole-in-one on the 17th.

Fox holed from inside three feet for eagle on the 16th and then saw his tee shot on the next pitch around 10 feet beyond the pin and spin back into the hole.

Fox eventually carded a three-under-par 69, while England’s Tommy Fleetwood returned a 70 which included five birdies and a triple-bogey on the seventh.

Rory McIlroy accepts he both “needs and wants” a strong performance in the Players Championship as he targets an end to his major victory drought.

McIlroy began the year with second place in the Dubai Invitational and victory in the Dubai Desert Classic seven days later, but has finished no better than 21st in each of his four events on the PGA Tour.

The world number two will seek a second victory at Sawgrass this week and also contest the Valero Texas Open immediately before the Masters at Augusta National, where a first major win since 2014 would make McIlroy just the sixth player to complete a career grand slam.

Asked if his recent form meant he needed or wanted a good week at PGA Tour headquarters, McIlroy told reporters: “Both probably.

“They’ve been middle of the road [finishes], 20th places or whatever it is. I’m not missing cuts but, at the same time, with how I’ve driven the golf ball the last three weeks I should be contending in the tournaments that I’ve played.

“I have this amazing feeling with my woods at the minute, but when I try to recreate that feeling with the irons, it starts left and goes further left.

“I have a swing thought for my woods and I need a different swing thought for my irons, and that’s what I’ve been working on over the last couple days. I feel like every other part of the game is in great shape.”

McIlroy has recorded 19 top-10s in major championships since winning the 2014 US PGA at Valhalla, which will host the event again from May 16-19.

However, the 34-year-old’s dismay at his failure to add to his four major titles was recently captured in the second season of Netflix documentary Full Swing as he reacted to Brooks Koepka’s fifth major win in the 2023 US PGA.

“I feel good enough to f****** top-10 in my head, but not good enough to win,” McIlroy vented in the locker room at Oak Hill.

Speaking on Wednesday, McIlroy said: “Look, I’m under no illusion that the clock is ticking and it has been 10 years since I’ve won one of them, and I’ve had chances, and those just haven’t went my way.

“I just need to keep putting myself in those positions, and sooner or later it’s going to happen.”

McIlroy believes his spell on the PGA Tour’s policy board took a toll on his time, rather than his golf, but despite no longer being in that position, he was still inundated with questions about the current state of men’s professional golf.

After expressing his support for under-fire PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, McIlroy conceded that the top stars may have held the Tour “to ransom” when he and Tiger Woods led a players-only meeting in Delaware in 2022 which led to the creation of the controversial “Signature Events”.

The eight, limited-field events each have a prize fund of 20million USD (£15.6m), but have come in for severe criticism.

Despite being eligible for them, former US Open champion Lucas Glover told Golfweek they were “selfish and it’s a money grab”.

McIlroy said he understood the concern over a loss of playing opportunities for players, but added: “The Tour has been a certain way for so long, but I also think that the Tour hasn’t necessarily evolved with the changing times to make it a more compelling entertainment product and fit in with the modern media and sports landscape.

“I think back to that meeting in Delaware, and I think, OK, did we push too hard, did we hold the Tour to ransom too much, the top players?

“I think the Signature Events really worked last year and, for whatever reason, they’re not quite capturing the imagination this year.

“I think it’s because fans are fatigued of what’s going on in the game, and I think we need to try to re-engage the fan and re-engage them in a way that the focus is on the play and not on talking about equity and all the rest of it.”

World number one Scottie Scheffler believes he faces a “very tall task” to enjoy a sustained period of dominance despite seemingly finding the solution to his sole weakness.

Scheffler compiled one of the best ball-striking seasons ever seen in 2023, his adjusted scoring average of 68.63 being the seventh-lowest in PGA Tour history and the best by anyone not named Tiger Woods.

In total Scheffler was ranked first in nine different categories, including greens in regulation and strokes gained off the tee, but was ranked 162nd out of 193 players in putting.

World number two Rory McIlroy recently suggested that Scheffler should change to a mallet putter to cure his problems on the greens and the former Masters champion duly did so before strolling to a five-shot victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

That has given rise to speculation that Scheffler could be on his way to dominating the game for a number of years as he prepares to attempt to become the first player to successfully defend the Players Championship in its 50-year history.

“I think it would be good for the game,” Scheffler told a pre-tournament press conference at Sawgrass.

“I think anytime you have a figure that kind of dominates… like I think of the NBA, you look at Steph Curry for those years where the [Golden State] Warriors were winning a bunch, people would say they got tired of it but at the end of the day, people were still showing up and watching because he was incredible to watch, and you want to watch greatness when you’re out there.

“So I think it would be good for the game of golf, and we’ll see what happens with the sport in the next few years.

“It’s a pretty challenging game and we’ve got a lot of talent out here, so being that dominant figure I think is a very tall task to ask of anybody, but we’ve got some guys out here that I think can definitely pull it off.”

Asked to name a player, other than Woods, who had dominated the game recently, Scheffler added: “Well, you kind of put me in a little corner here by taking Tiger away.

“As far as I’m concerned and in my lifetime, Tiger’s really been the guy that’s dominated basically since 1997 up until about 2020, whenever he really got hurt. I don’t know if we’ll ever see anything like that again in the game of golf.

“As far as who else has been dominant, I think you’ve had a lot of guys that go through stretches where they are. You had Jordan [Spieth] go through his stretch, you had a year where JT [Justin Thomas] won five times, you had those years where Rory was winning majors by a bunch of shots.

“Nobody’s really been able to have the longevity that Tiger had.”

Rory McIlroy would welcome the PGA Tour being more “cut-throat” in an effort to improve its competitiveness.

World number two McIlroy has been one of the strongest advocates for the PGA and DP World Tours after the inception of the LIV series rocked the golf landscape.

McIlroy has softened his hardball stance on LIV in recent months after Europe Ryder Cup team-mates Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton were the latest top names to be tempted to sign up for the big-money Saudi venture.

Competing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week, McIlroy reflected on where the PGA Tour can get better.

“No, I mean, I’m all for making it more cut-throat, more competitive,” the Northern Irishman told reporters.

“Probably won’t be very popular for saying this, but I’m all for less players and less TOUR cards, and the best of the best.”

Wet weather suspended play on the final day of the Cognizant Classic with 26 players to return on Monday, including Ireland’s Shane Lowry who sits three strokes off the pace.

After sharing the lead on the third day with American Austin Eckroat and England’s David Skinns, Lowry played five holes on Sunday at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida before play was suspended, hitting one bogey and dropping to equal fourth place.

Eckroat picked up two birdies in his first seven holes to take the outright lead, while Skinns  dropped two shots in his five holes to sit tied for eighth.

South African Erik van Rooyen finished one shot behind Eckroat after he shot nine birdies through 18 holes, while American Jake Knapp sits in third place and two shots off the lead after 15 holes.

The severe weather in Florida caused a three hour delay to play with officials having to suspend play because of dangerous conditions for players and spectators, after lightning struck near the course.

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