THE PLAYERS Championship is the PGA TOUR’s crown jewel, and boy, is it a spectacle. The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a par 72, measuring just under 7,256 yards.
Pigeonholing yourself into betting one type of golfer may be a fool’s errand this week when looking at the kind of golfers who’ve won here. Webb Simpson (+8000) mentioned back in 2018 how he loves this course because it doesn’t give a clear advantage to any one type of golfer. Phil Mickelson has talked about how challenging it is around these small greens placing a premium on ball-strikers, and Rory McIlroy (+1600) spoke about how much distance can be an advantage now that the tournament is in March.
Since 2016, the average winning odds are +12900, with Rory McIlroy as the shortest at +1400 in 2019 and Si Woo Kim as the longest at +50000 in 2017. One trend we should be focusing on is course experience. Golfers who’ve played TPC Sawgrass a lot have tended to prevail in the outright markets, even if they’ve missed the cut here multiple times. Webb and Rory had multiple missed cuts before winning, and both Jason Day (+9000) and Rickie Fowler missed the weekend three times before their wins. There are always exceptions to the rule. Hal Sutton and Craig Perks (2002) are the only two golfers to win in their debut since 1983. Si Woo Kim (+6500) was able to win in his second start, and Adam Scott (+3000) prevailed in his third attempt.
For a full course preview, key statistics breakdown and additional players to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook, refer to the DraftKings Preview on DraftKings Playbook. Here are the bets we should be considering this week.
All betting odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Hideki’s been one of the best ball-strikers this season, ranking seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green over the previous 24 rounds. A solid Sunday last week resulted in a Top-20, which adds to his success in Florida, recording a sixth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2016, 15th at the Concessions (2021 WGC Mexico) and a top-25 at Doral back in 2015. The change to March should help Hideki, especially on the greens, which are overseeded with bentgrass.
His number has bounced quite a bit in the market, and while it was longer earlier in the week, anything above +3000 still feels fair. His two MCs were at courses he hasn’t played well historically this year, so we shouldn’t be too worried. His 16th at Honda and top-3 at the WM Phoenix Open both came off strong ball-striking performances, and he’s gained Off the Tee and through approach in three of his last four performances at TPC Sawgrass. Koepka also putts here, gaining in every start since 2015.
As mentioned in the preview article, Lee has a knack for playing TPC courses well. Last season, he gained 6.8 strokes through ball-striking here but lost more than four strokes through his short game. A few weeks ago, an opening round of -6/65 at TPC Scottsdale had him leading after Round 1, but his approach game let him down then and has been shaky this year. Still, they’re getting better each tournament, losing less than the previous, dating back to American Express, and he’s hitting it well Off the Tee, leading the field last week. He’s yet to put the entire game together in one tournament, but when he does, he tends to shoot up the leaderboard.
This week will be his second PLAYERS Championship start, and he has an excellent opportunity for a solid finish this week by the way he’s playing this season. Homa hasn’t finished outside the top-17 this year besides a MC at the Farmers Insurance Open. He’s gaining an average of 5.5 strokes ball-striking in his three previous events and is putting well.
Per Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf), with a minimum of 12 rounds, Spieth has recorded 4.5 birdies or better per round at TPC Sawgrass since 2016, which puts him seventh-highest. Spieth has gained in Off the Tee and approach in his last three tournaments and finished runner-up at Pebble Beach. Fleetwood has good finishers here but currently isn’t hitting it well, losing strokes with his irons in his last three measured events.
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