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The Players: World No 1 Jon Rahm withdraws ahead of second round due to illness at TPC Sawgrass

Jon Rahm carded an opening-round 71 at The Players but withdrew from the PGA Tour's flagship event on Friday; Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy can replace the Spaniard as world No 1 at TPC Sawgrass; Watch live this weekend on Sky Sports Golf

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After competing on day one, Jon Rahm has announced his withdrawal from The Players Championship due to illness

World No 1 Jon Rahm has withdrawn from The Players ahead of his second round due to illness at TPC Sawgrass.

Rahm, who was chasing a fourth win of 2023 and a sixth victory in 11 worldwide starts, pulled out of the PGA Tour's flagship event less than an hour before his scheduled 5.56pm (12.56 GMT) tee time.

The Spaniard, seven strokes behind overnight lead Chad Ramey after a one-under 71 on Thursday, informed playing partner Rory McIlroy of his decision on the range ahead of their round.

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Rory McIlroy struggled to a four-over-par 76 during the first round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Rahm was due to go out for the second day running alongside McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler, the two players who can overtake him at the top of the world rankings this week, but the withdrawal left the afternoon marquee group as a two-ball.

What does that mean for world No 1 battle?

Rahm's withdrawal means that a top-five finish could be enough for Scheffler to return to the top of the world rankings, depending on McIlroy's finish.

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Scottie Scheffler revealed he had a bad warm-up and his confidence grew as his opening round went on at The Players

The American was top of the rankings last month after his successful title defence at the WM Phoenix Open, only for Rahm to overtake him a week later after victory at the Genesis Invitational.

Scheffler was four strokes off the early lead after an opening-round 68, while world No 3 McIlroy - who won The Players in 2019 and struggled to a four-over 76 on the opening day - could finish as low as seventh and return to top of the standings.

Also See:

The Players Championship Live

Both players had the chance to overtake Rahm as world No 1 when the Spaniard struggled to a tied-39th finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, his worst finish since July, although Scheffler and McIlroy were both unable to do so.

Rahm entered the week with the PGA Tour's longest active cuts-made streak at 25 starts, with the 28-year-old also heading into The Players as world No 1 for a second successive year.

Watch The Players throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 12.30pm via the red button on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of coverage on the front channel from 2pm. Extra feeds and groups are also available via the red button.

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