PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Jordan Spieth is doing just about everything right this year, and it shows.
He is No. 5 in the Ryder Cup standings and No. 8 in the FedEx Cup. He was runner-up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Masters, and he at least put himself in the mix on the weekends at Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines and Riviera. He reached the quarterfinals in his debut at the Match Play Championship.
And his star power keeps rising, mainly as the 20-year-old Texan who seems to have a chance to be the “youngest” to do everything.
What gnaws at him is Spieth is missing one thing.
“Plenty of chances to win, and it’s eating at me a little that I haven’t taken advantage of one of them yet,” Spieth said Wednesday on the eve of The Players Championship. “But I keep putting myself in position, and I believe that it will go my way here soon.”
Get in line.
Winning hasn’t been easy for anyone this year, with only Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker winning more than once. Only three players from the top 10 in the world ranking - Watson, Matt Kuchar and Jason Day - have won this year.
The Players Championship has never really favored anyone. That might be what defines this tournament, along with the island green for the par-3 17th hole, and the fact the purse ($10 million) is the richest in golf.
No one has ever won back-to-back at the TPC Sawgrass, and that won’t change this year because Tiger Woods is still recovering from back surgery.
Woods last played on March 9 at Doral, and since then, seven of the nine winners on the PGA Tour have been No. 90 or lower in the world ranking.
What adds to the interest at Sawgrass this week is the battle for No. 1. Four players - Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Watson and Kuchar - have a chance to replace Woods atop the world ranking.
None has ever been No. 1. Kuchar is the long shot, needing a win and for Scott to finish well down the leaderboard. Watson would need to finish alone in second, so he considers himself a long shot, too.
“My best finish is 37th,” Watson said. “So unless 37th moves me to No. 1, we probably don’t need to worry about that.”
Kuchar didn’t know he could get to No. 1 until it was mentioned to him Wednesday. He thought it was cool.
It’s old hat for Scott, who has had a mathematical chance to get to No. 1 for more than two months. His best chance was at Bay Hill, where he couldn’t hold a seven-shot lead on the weekend. He still cares, but it’s not at the forefront of his mind.