Rory McIlroy, the No. 3 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, is the favorite to win the 2023 Players Championship. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo
MIAMI, March 10 (UPI) — The Players Championship golf tournament, early rounds of the World Baseball Classic and college basketball’s annual Selection Sunday lead the weekend sports schedule. Soccer games and hockey matches also fill the slate.
In addition, two NASCAR races are on tap this weekend in Phoenix. And nearly two dozen NBA games will air Friday through Sunday. College basketball enthusiasts will have a number of offerings, as well.
Players Championship golf
The 2023 Players Championship teed off Thursday and will run through Sunday at picturesque TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The 144-player field will compete on the Stadium Course for a record $25 million purse, with $4.5 million to the winner.
Jon Rahm, the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, is among 19 of the Top 20 golfers in the Players Championship field.
No. 3 Rory McIlroy favored to win. But Rahm, No. 2 Scottie Scheffler, No. 4 Patrick Cantlay, No. 9 Justin Thomas, 7. Max Homa, No. 10 Collin Morikawa, No. 11 Viktor Hovland, No. 6 Xander Schauffele, No. 43 Jason Day, No. 13 Tony Finau and No. 8 Will Zalatoris all stand a good chance to win.
No. 5 Cameron Smith, the defending champion, is among a cluster of Top 100 players from the LIV Golf Series who are not permitted to play in the Players Championship or any PGA Tour affiliated event because of their defection to the controversial, rival league.
Players Championship coverage will air on Golf Channel and NBC. The second round will air from noon to 6 p.m. Friday on Golf Channel. Third- and fourth-round coverage will air from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on NBC.
Thunderstorms are expected Friday afternoon on Ponte Vedra Beach. Additional rain is expected Sunday night.
World Baseball Classic
The 2023 World Baseball Classic started Wednesday in Taichung, Taiwan, one of four host cities. Additional games started Friday in Tokyo. United States-based games will start Saturday in Phoenix and Miami.
All World Baseball Classic games will air on FS1, FS2 or FOX, or can be streamed on Tubi.
The 20 participating teams are split into four groups for the first round of the tournament. Each team will play every team from its group.
The Top 2 teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals, hosted from March 15 to 18 in Tokyo and Miami. The four winners move on to the semifinals and play March 19 and 20 in Miami. The title game will be March 21 in Miami.
The Dominican Republic, USA, Japan, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Korea are expected to be top contenders. Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani and Japan will battle Korea at 5 a.m. Friday on FS1. Japan will take on the Czech Republic early Saturday and Australia early Sunday on the same channel.
San Diego Padres star Juan Soto and the Dominican Republic will make their World Baseball Classic debuts at 7 p.m. Saturday on FS1. Angels outfielder Mike Trout, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and the Americans will debut against Great Britain at 9 p.m. Saturday on Fox.
Team USA will play Mexico at 10 p.m. Sunday on FS1.
The annual selection shows for the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will air Sunday. The men’s tournament field will be revealed at 6 p.m. on CBS. The women’s field will be announced at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Men’s tournament action will run from Tuesday through April 3 and air on TBS, TNT, TruTV and CBS. Women’s games will be held from Tuesday through April 3 and air on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News and ABC.
The South Carolina Gamecocks (32-0), the defending champions, are heavy favorites to win the women’s tournament. The Indiana Hoosiers (27-4), Stanford Cardinal (28-6), UConn Huskies (29-5) and Iowa Hawkeyes (28-6) are among other favorites to win the title.
The Houston Cougars (25-2), Alabama Crimson Tide (23-4), defending champion Kansas Jayhawks (25-6), Purdue Boilermakers (23-5), Arizona Wildcats (25-6), UCLA Bruins (27-4) and Baylor Bears (22-9) are the favorites for the men’s title.
Weekend schedule (all times EST/EDT)
World Baseball Classic: Korea vs. Japan at 5 a.m. on FS1
World Baseball Classic: Italy vs. Chinese Taipei at 6 a.m. on Tubi
World Baseball Classic: Australia vs. China at 10 p.m. on FS2
World Baseball Classic: Italy vs. Panama at 11 p.m. on FS1
Players Championship: Second round from noon to 6 p.m. on Golf Channel
Serie A: Inter Milan at Spezia at 2:45 p.m. on Paramount+
La Liga: Getafe at Cadiz at 3 p.m. on ESPN Deportes
Cavaliers at Heat at 8 p.m. on NBA TV
Raptors at Lakers at 10:30 p.m. on NBA TV
World Baseball Classic: Japan vs. Czech Republic at 5 a.m. on FS1
World Baseball Classic: Chinese Taipei vs. Netherlands at 6 a.m. on FS2
World Baseball Classic: Puerto Rico vs. Nicaragua at noon on FS2
World Baseball Classic: Mexico vs. Colombia at 2:30 p.m. on Fox
World Baseball Classic: Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic at 7 p.m. on FS1
World Baseball Classic: United States vs. Great Britain at 9 p.m. on Fox
World Baseball Classic: Korea vs. Czech Republic at 10 p.m. on FS1
World Baseball Classic: Cuba vs. Chinese Taipei at 11 p.m. on FS2
Premier League: Liverpool at Bournemouth at 7:30 a.m. on USA Network
La Liga: Espanyol at Real Madrid at 8 a.m. on ESPN Deportes, ESPN+
Bundesliga: FC Augsburg at Bayern Munich at 9:30 a.m. on ESPN+
Premier League: Chelsea at Leicester at 10 a.m. on USA Network
Premier League: Nottingham Forest at Spurs at 10 a.m. on Peacock Premium
MLS: Atlanta at Charlotte at noon on Fox
Serie A: Atlanta at Napoli at noon on Paramount+
Premier League: Manchester City at Crystal Palace at 12:30 p.m. on USA Network
Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund at Schalke 04 at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN+
Serie A: Lazio at Bologna at 2:45 p.m. on Paramount+
Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain at Brest at 3 p.m. on beIN Sports
MLS: Dallas at Vancouver at 5 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Seattle at Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Orlando at DC United at 7:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Miami at NYCFC at 7:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Chicago at Philadelphia at 7:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Columbus at Toronto at 7:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Kansas City at 8:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: New York Red Bulls at Minnesota at 8:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Montreal at Nashville at 8:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Austin at Real Salt Lake at 9:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: St. Louis at Portland at 10:30 p.m. on Apple TV
MLS: Colorado at San Jose at 10:30 p.m. on Apple TV
Players Championship: Third round from 1 to 6 p.m. on NBC
Red Wings at Bruins at 1 p.m on ABC
Flyers at Penguins at 3:30 p.m. on ABC
Xfinity Series United Rentals 200 at 4:30 p.m. on FS1
Bucks at Warriors at 8:30 p.m. on ABC
World Baseball Classic: Australia vs. Japan at 6 a.m. on FS1
World Baseball Classic: Italy vs. Netherlands at 7 a.m. on FS2
World Baseball Classic: Israel vs. Nicaragua at noon on FS2
World Baseball Classic: Canada vs. Great Britain at 3 p.m. on FS1
World Baseball Classic: Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela at 7 p.m. on FS1
World Baseball Classic: United States vs. Mexico at 10 p.m. on FS1
World Baseball Classic: Czech Republic vs. Australia at 11 p.m. on FS2
La Liga: Real Sociedad at Mallorca at 9 a.m. on ESPN Deportes, ESPN+
Premier League: Arsenal at Fulham at 10 a.m. on Peacock Premium
Premier League: Southampton at Manchester United at 10 a.m. on Peacock Premium
MLS: New England at LAFC at 10:30 p.m. on Apple TV
La Liga: Almeria at Sevilla at 11:15 a.m. on ESPN Deportes, ESPN+
La Liga: Real Betis at Villarreal at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN Deportes, ESPN+
Sampdoria at Juventus at 3:45 p.m. on Paramount+
La Liga: Barcelona at Athletic Club at 4 p.m. on ESPN Deportes, ESPN+
Players Championship: Final round from 1 to 6 p.m. on NBC
Bruins at Red Wings at 1:30 p.m. on TNT
Rangers at Penguins at 4 p.m on TNT
Cup Series United Rentals Work United 500 at 3:30 p.m. on Fox