10th - 15th March
The Players Championship really gets the golf betting juices flowing, with the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass providing one of the most iconic venues on the PGA Tour. The signature hole is the par-3 17th, an island green where the world’s best golfers shake with fear, despite only having a wedge in their hands. That’s because just a puff of wind can make the difference between a birdie and a short trip to the dreaded zone after finding the water.
Rory McIlroy arrives at Sawgrass having claimed his first Players Championship title last year, and he’ll be hoping to add his name to the list of players that have won here more than once. That includes Jack Nicklaus (three) and Tiger Woods (two) but neither those two greats nor anyone else have won here back-to-back in the tournament’s 46-year history.
McIlroy is playing great golf, having finished top-5 in his last four events, but do you want to take 7/1 about him becoming him being the first to win here in successive years? There will be plenty of each-way takers, with some bookies offering up to 10 places, but he’s not for me.
John Rahm is the second-favourite with most bookies and the flamboyant Spaniard hasn’t been out of the top-17 in his last five starts. He comes here refreshed after two weeks off, and it will be interesting to see whether he can take another significant step forward after finishing 12th last year.
Justin Thomas is a similar price to Rahm and has also posted lots of top finishes this season. He’s had two weeks to get over his disappointment of blowing a great chance to win the WGC Mexico and he could easily match his third 3rd place in 2016, without looking to offer any great value this week.
Bryson DeChambeau has finished 37th and 20th on his first two visits to Sawgrass and he’s been in decent form with three consecutive top-5 finishes. But Sawgrass demands a certain amount of finesse and the Scientist has been concentrating more on boosting his power.
No English player has won the Players Championship yet, but Tommy Fleetwood is fancied to at least go close to changing that statistic this week. Fleetwood has finished seventh and fifth in the last two editions. He’s shown on many occasions he can raise his game for the big tournaments, and two top-3 finishes in his last five events suggests he’s got a tournament of this magnitude in him. That makes Fleetwood the first of our 2020 Players Championship Free Tips.
Adam Scott was another player to miss the cut last week, but the Australian has what it takes to conquer Sawgrass, as he showed way back in 2004 when he was just a youngster. After a few wayward years, he’s been a model of consistency at Sawgrass in the last four editions with finishes of 12th, 6th, 11th, and 12th and, after two wins already this season, he’s one of our 2020 Players Championship free tips.
I might be mad making Jason Day one of our free tips this week, but he won the 2015 Players Championship and has also posted top-8 finishes in each of the last two seasons. The bookies are willing to offer big prices about the Australian this week because he withdrew from last week’s tournament with a bad back, but he did the same last year before claiming a place in what is one of his favourite tournaments.
Interestingly, South Korean players have won two of the last nine editions of the Players Championship and the in-form Sungjae Im is sure to be popular. But he missed the cut on debut last year and I’d much rather side with his countryman Byeong Hun An at a bigger price. He’s finished 30th and 26th in the last two renewals of the Players Championship and his fourth two-weeks ago suggests he’s playing well enough to be one of our Players Championship tips.
I get the feeling I’m going to follow Kevin Na over a cliff this season, but he’s always looked to have the neat and tidy game that can prosper at Sawgrass. He’s finished in the top-7 here three times in his last 10 visits and this ace putter could easily land at least a place at triple-figure odds.