The Players Championship has been played at TPC Sawgrass since 1982, having being introduced to the Tour schedule eight years earlier. The event usually attracts the strongest field of the year, so it is often called the ‘fifth major’. The tournament is the third leg of the ‘Florida Swing’.
Sawgrass in Ponte Vedre Beach at the HQ of the PGA Tour is a stadium course that rewards accuracy due the long rough. Water is a feature of several holes and the fairways are more difficult to find in the usual breeze. The course is famed for the 17th hole which has an island green.
The degree of difficulty means the course is difficult to play catch-up from off the pace. The third-round leader has a good record because low scoring in the final round is rare. The average winning score over the last 11 years is 13 under (the 2020 event was cancelled after 18 holes due to Covid).
This year it’s a par 72 course, measuring 7,256 yards. Ball-striking is at a premium and the key to good scoring is more about bogey and double bogey avoidance than breaking par. Keeping the ball in play is more important than birdie conversion so here are the key skills for TPC Sawgrass:
Greens in Regulation (GIR)
Strokes Gained Tee to Green
Players Championship Picks
John Rahm (+1200)
Rahm is the current US Open champion and that major puts a premium on accuracy over distance. The host course is arguably the toughest of the year and any winner must display an outstanding all round game with few flaws. The winner of the US Open must avoid bogeys and often par is a good score. Rahm won with a score of six under on a par 71 track. Hence, he has the recent proven form to win at the highest level under the most challenging playing conditions.
The Spanish player is at number one in the standings for greens in regulation and strokes gained from tee to green. Without winning in 2022 he has made six cuts from six starts. Rahm has contested the Players Championship four times and made the cut in each outing. The outright winner pick combines solid current and course form with a skills’ profile that is ideal for Sawgrass. He finished tied 9th last year but is tipped to win this week.
Best Value Top 10 Pick
Matt Fitzpatrick (+3300)
There is a saying that even a blind squirrel will find a nut once. Hence, we are making Matt Fitzpatrick a pick for the third successive week. He withdraw from the Genesis Invitational but was tied 9th in last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. That was his fourth top 10 in four official tournaments so a player whose skills lie in accuracy rather than distance cannot be ignored. Fitzpatrick also made the top 10 in the Players Championship in 2020.
Potential Sleeper Pick
Tommy Fleetwood (+8000)
Even in his prime when he was the best player in the world, Nick Faldo did not win the Players Championship. That means Fleetwood would be the first English winner but that will probably be beyond him. He was the last qualifier on Official World Rankings and was tied 20th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week. Top 10s at Sawgrass in 2018 and 2019 represents solid form for a player with exemplary ball striking which should see him get in the mix this week.
For the full list of odds for the outright winner of the Players Championship, you should visit: https://nj.pointsbet.com/sports/golf