The PGA Tour’s most prestigious golf tournament tees off this week as the world’s top golfers prepare for the 42nd edition of The Players Championship. Played at the iconic TPC Sawgrass — owner of the (in)famous par-3, floating 17th green — The Players boasts the highest purse of any tournament in golf. Expected in attendance this year is 2014 champion Martin Kaymer, Masters champion Jordan Spieth, and of course the ever-popular, yet wildly frustrating Tiger Woods.
Though golf seems to grow in popularity year over year, we’re well aware of the wealth of broadcast limitations facing some fans. Perhaps you don’t have easy access to a TV while you work, live in an area without a sports bar willing to show golf, or have some hurdle or another preventing you from catching the action. Knowing this, we’ve put together this simple guide on where to catch every birdie, putt, and water hazard set for this weekend’s Players Championship. So blend up some ice tea and lemonade and grab your favorite visor, here’s your (digital) entry to The Players Stadium Course at Florida’s legendary TPC Sawgrass.
With The Players Championship essentially serving as the biggest event for the PGA Tour in 2015, the PGA itself plans to run multiple streams of the tournament via its website. One of the dedicated streams plans to broadcast a featured group from both the morning and afternoon waves, during each round of the tournament. The other feed focuses on TPC Sawgrass’ iconic floating 17th hole, as well as a few shots from holes 8 and 18. Unlike many streaming options available online these days, access to the PGA Tour online stream does not require account information from a compatible cable or satellite provider. As long as you have Internet access — and a competent computer — you’ll have unfettered access to the 42nd edition of The Players Championship.
Golf Live Extra
(Web | iOS | Google Play)
Free with cable subscription
NBC and Golf Channel’s online video client Golf Live Extra plans to run a simulcast stream during every round of this weekend’s Players Championship. Though it does require users to tether a supported cable or satellite subscription to view the stream, Golf Live Extra brings an incredibly unique viewing experience to fans. All of the offered streams feature the channel’s signature TrackMan technology, which accurately traces each golfer’s shot during live video. Users also have access to an abundance of stats, leaderboard news, and other golf-related happenings scrawling across the channel’s bottom line. Golf Live Extra’s spotlight coverage typically focuses on TPC Sawgrass’ iconic 16th, 17th, and 18th holes, giving viewers the chance to see a number of water hazards and (possibly) thrown clubs.
Free 7-day trial | Access: $50 per month | Core: $60 per month | Elite: $70 per month
Sony’s venture into the cordcutting industry isn’t necessarily a specific online streaming option, though it does provide a great way for golf fans to catch The Players Championship. Currently available in just Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City, PlayStation Vue features three separate plans for subscribers to choose from. Its basic “Access” package costs just $50 per month and offers an introductory batch of roughly 50 to 60 channels — depending on your area. In each available area, the Access membership grants users access to NBC and NBC Sports Network, among others, meaning even the lowest subscription level plans to feature a Players Championship broadcast. For those who prefer to splurge on either the Core ($60/month) or Elite ($70/month) package, they’ll also have access to the Golf Channel and it’s scheduled tournament coverage.
PGA Tour Mobile
(iOS | Google Play)
For a bite-sized version of PGA Tour coverage, PGA Tour Mobile is your ticket to keeping track of all the action planned for The Players Championship. The app treats tablet users to shot trails, shot plots, and real-time contextual stats depending on where each golfer is on the course. With up-to-the-second leaderboard updates, tee times, and location information, you’ll hardly notice you aren’t in attendance at TPC Sawgrass. Perhaps PGA Tour Mobile’s greatest feature is the fact it’s available for anyone to download free of charge.
Until recently, PGA’s dedicated radio channel granted station access solely to subscribers of Sirius XM’s satellite radio service. Luckily for golf fans, the SiriusXM subscription restriction lifted, granting everyone the ability to access PGA Tour Radio and its live tournament coverage and analysis. Expect real-time scoring updates and leaderboard changes, expert analysis and course breakdowns, as well as thrilling hole-by-hole calls from the announcers. It’s not a video option, but PGA Tour Radio puts golf fans right in the thick of the action, all weekend long.
An incredible resource for information about literally everything, Reddit features a host of Players Championship-specific information to satisfy any fan of the PGA Tour. With tournament coverage planned for the entire weekend, look for a host of content related to the 2015 Players such as interviews, course statistics, round-by-round breakdowns, and hilarious memes. Reddit’s loyal user base populates the site’s wealth of content, which is both a blessing, and a curse. Moreover, during each round of the tournament you’ll find dozens of golf-themed pictures, videos, and even alternative streaming resources.
While Reddit is an excellent resource for anything and everything PGA-related, it’s incredibly easy to lose many an hour simply perusing through the rest of the site. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Though not a video-specific option, ESPN does offer leaderboard stats for any golf tournament, including this weekend’s Players Championship. Simply navigate to the golf scoreboard page via the ESPN.com, click the PGA tab, and every golfer’s standing in The Players Championship loads. Users have access to round-by-round scoring updates, how far under (or over) par each golfer is, and the eventual winnings as they trickle down the final leaderboard. While not a complete experience, Gamecast does get the job done when the TV broadcasts are out of the question.
Questionable streaming sites
Keep in mind most of the illegal streaming options available come loaded with unwanted spam and a barrage of pop-up windows. Leaning on such links tends to be frustrating, particularly when it comes to finding quality video and audio feeds with little buffering.
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However, you must also keep in mind many of these sites illegally broadcast the content, and your computer remains at a high risk of malware when using them. Nevertheless, you’ll notice the deep selection of links available to you once you find an adequate streaming site on the Web. Notorious sites — though technically legal given they only provide links to various broadcast streams instead of broadcasting the copyrighted content — fall upon the gray areas of the law.
Note: As a rule of thumb, never click on any link which asks you to download any HD Players, update your streaming software, or to install any “required” media players. These are often just spam links that could infect your computer with viruses.