Dyson joins field chasing richest prize

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GOLF: The world No 1 spot could change for the sixth time in 11 weeks on Sunday but the Players Championship at Sawgrass is about far more than just that.

It is about more than money as well, even though the £5.8m purse – well over £1m of it to the winner – is the biggest in golf.

What Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods all want to show is that their best is good enough to beat anybody on any course.

They have all won once this year, but that does not set them apart from the pack let alone each other – 19 stroke-play tournaments on the PGA Tour this season have produced 19 different winners.

While Woods says he preferred the time when he was way out in front on his own at the top of the world rankings, Donald is enjoying the merry-go-round.

“I have no issues – I kind of enjoy the going back and forth,” he said. “And I think the fans enjoy it.

“The last couple of months I think it probably has not been as exciting because Rory and I really haven’t been playing in the same events.”

Simon Dyson continues to reap the benefits of his stellar campaign in 2011 by joining the field.

The 34-year-old Malton golfer has failed to hit the heights in a stop-start year, that was highlighted off the course by the birth of his first child in March.

He is in Florida with some semblance of form, having held the lead after three rounds of last week’s Spanish Open.

That he collapsed to a 76 on the final day and dropped out of the 10 owed much to a lack of regular golf in recent times.

Twelve months on from a Madeira Open appearance that was a rare chance to shine on the European Tour, Danny Denison returns to the Atlantic islands desperate for an upturn in fortunes.

The 27-year-old Leeds golfer has made just one cut in nine attempts in his first full season on Tour and finds himself languishing a long way outside the top 115 who retain their cards at the end of the season.

The Madeira Islands Open at Santo de Serra also offers an opportunity for Harrogate’s John Parry to climb back up the rankings having lost full playing status last season.

Hillsborough professional Oliver Whiteley is also in the field.