Players 2021 live updates: The 17th is breaking souls in Round 1

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We’ve been on a great stretch of golf. Last week’s Bryson mania over Data Pond at Bay Hill. Jordan Spieth contending nearly every week. Now golf fans will be treated to one of the sport’s most iconic venues, TPC Sawgrass, which has hosted The Players since 1982 when Pete Dye’s treacherous, ruthless design opened.

Here are the featured groups on Thursday: Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland (7:29 a.m., off the 10th hole) and Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson and Sergio Garcia (7:40 a.m., off the 10th hole) in the morning; and in the afternoon: Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed (12:49 p.m., off the first hole) and Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa (1 p.m., off No. 1).

Live updates from The Players (all times eastern):

8:10 a.m.: We have a little delay as Viktor Hovland’s second shot at the par-5 11th hole went into the water hazard. The PGA Tour Live video clearly showed his ball hitting the grass just in front of the water before hopping back into the hazard. Hovland’s playing competitor, Patrick Cantlay, suggest he get a ruling—and the rules official actually suggested that Hovland should go back to drop in front of the water hazard. Thankfully folks on the grounds informed the rules official that the video clearly showed Hovland’s ball covering the hazard. A very odd scene to start the day for this group. 

Hovland’s adventure led to a double bogey anyway, as his fourth shot after the drop went over the green, and he couldn’t make a comebacker for bogey. Hopefully the young 23-year-old will be able to shake off that unfortunate start.

7:58 a.m.: It has been an eventful morning early at TPC Sawgrass! We have a 50-year-old in the early lead, as Phil Mickelson has birdied his first two holes. In his same group, Tony Finau, who has been one of the best players in the world, opened with double bogey-bogey, so Phil is up five shots early on his playing partner.

Rory McIlroy’s opening tee shot at the 10th hole with a fairway wood went way right, forcing him to take an unplayable with his ball up against a tree (he hit a provisional but ended up finding it). He’d have to punch out and ended up making an early double bogey.

And Ian Poulter also went on an adventure early on at No. 10, too, making an early double bogey:

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