Dustin Johnson shares early lead at The Players Championship

Justin Thomas has his eyes on the No 1 spot

Phil Mickelson seemed to be tired after playing well last weekend. The lead belonged to just about everyone else. The Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass can be feast or starvation for just about anyone. He settled for a T10 by week's end and now he's right back in the mix this week here in Ponte Vedra Beach. May.

Phil Mickelson, who donned a "dress" long-sleeve shirt for the round, was left short-changed in ending his round played alongside Woods and Rickie Fowler also in shock manner.

Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Alex Noren set the pace early.

"I think I've done a better job of. not figuring it out, you never figure it out, but I've done a better job of being less aggressive when I need to and more aggressive when I need to", Glover told reporters of his approach at TPC Sawgrass.

That's been the story of the TPC Sawgrass over the years - a design that doesn't favor one particular style of play.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy finished the day on one under par, while 14-time major champion Tiger Woods eagled the par-five ninth during his level-par round of 72.

Woods wasn't among them.

Kuchar ignited his round heading into his inward nine birdie, eagle and birdie and then moved to seven-under with birdies at 16 and 17 but only to bogey the last.

"Toward the back nine, it started getting a little sparse", Woods said.

Or maybe they were just bored.

Johnson has been ranked No. 1 for 64 straight weeks, but there are four players - Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose - who conceivably could overtake him this week, and though he was asked about it on Thursday, he seemed indifferent.

Tiger will play at The Open in July
The much-anticipated Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson showdown at the 2018 Players Championship did not live up to its billing. But after a par 3 at No. 13 Mickelson played one of the worst stretches of golf during his Hall of Fame career.

"You've got four par-5s-given the right wind, even I can get to all four of them". He liked the results. But with the winds calm and flawless scoring conditions in the morning, Johnson opened the tournament on the back nine and rolled in five birdies to make the turn at 5-under 31. The 66 was his best round by two shots, and only the fourth time he broke 70.

"I want to play well, and I want to put myself in a position to have a chance to win on Sunday, and coming into here it's no different", Johnson said. So it definitely works.

"I didn't hit the ball close enough", he said. I had done it a little bit, like messing around with it.

"I'm very pleased with the way I'm putting it today", Johnson said.

PGA Tour rookie Keith Mitchell, who was an alternate and got into the field Wednesday afternoon when Paul Casey withdrew, shot a 4-under 68 to stand just two shots out of the lead.

The veteran was 51-year-old Steve Stricker, who still can't decide whether to hang his hat in the big leagues or the senior circuit.

"I don't care what people are talking about, it doesn't bother me", Johnson said.

"Obviously, this week if I play really well I'll still be No. 1". He needed only 12th place alone last week at Quail Hollow (he tied for 21st). Back on putting surfaces he knows, Woods made a number of key putts. His only brush with bogey was a 6-foot par putt on the island-green 17th. He then hit his tee shot in the water at the seventh for another double, leading to a score of 71 and a total of 145. And it's more of let's just get it in the fairway, even if you have to lay way back, sometimes you have to hit it in the middle of the green.

Mickelson said he ran out of energy, which he feared coming into the week.

The feature group in the morning wasn't much better. McIlroy topped his group but was tied for 55th overall.

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