Players Championship

Aside from the four annual Majors, The Players Championship is the next tournament win on any pro golfer’s bucket list, and a host of big names have lifted the trophy here… along with the odd surprise as well. As usual, the field is brimming with talent.

The Players Championship

It’s called the ‘fifth Major’ and with good reason. It’s played on a superb course, attracts all the top golfers and provides great drama with signature holes like the par-3 17th. It only dates back to 1974 but has acquired the status comparable to a Major… and there was talk at one stage that it might have become one. However, a change in the annual schedule, which has seen the US PGA Championship move from August to May, put paid to this idea. But a switch back to March, pre-US Masters, is still a good move and should see the event regain its high-quality appeal.

Prize money $20m ($3.6m to the winner)

Field 144

72-Hole Record 264, Greg Norman (1994)

18-Hole Record 63, Fred Couples (1992), Greg Norman (1994), Roberto Castro (2013), Martin Kaymer (2014), Jason Day (2016), Colt Knost (2016); Webb Simpson (2018), Brooks Koepka (2018).

Highest-ranked OWGR players in field: Rahm (1), Morikawa (2), Hovland (3), Cantlay (4), Scheffler (5), McIlroy (6), Schauffele (7), Thomas (8), Johnson (9), Smith (10).

2021 result:
-14 Justin Thomas ($19)
-13 Lee Westwood ($81)
-12 Brian Harman ($176)
-12 Bryson DeChambeau ($17)
-11 Talor Gooch ($161)
-11 Paul Casey ($56)

The Players Championship: The Course

We’re at TPC Sawgrass this week at Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida. The facility was opened in 1980, and is designed by the well-known course architect Pete Dye. The layout is a par 72 at 7,189 yards, and it’s here that the event has been held every year since 1982. Best known for the “island green” on the 17th, it’s a fine test for the players with scoring tough, but not impossible.

The Players Championship: The Weather

A wet and stormy week is forecast with a daily precipitation forecast of 80%-90%-90%-00% over the course of the tournament. Temperatures will be in the mid-70s, with lots of cloud cover during the week. Winds will be gusting, with maximum wind speeds reaching just 20-22mph over the weekend.

The Players Championship: Value Bets

These are two value bets from the Golf Insider. Members receive all of his best bets for all markets – win and each-way, Top 10, Top 20, Round 1 Leader and 3-Ball groups. He covers every tournament on the PGA and European Tours.

Hidei Matsuyama ($29 with TopSport)

Matsuyama has a point to prove at Sawgrass after shooting a R1 63 in 2020, only to see the tournament cancelled midway due to the pandemic! But besides that performance the Japanese player has posted two Top 10s in his last five visits, and enters this week swinging the club well. Matsuyama won the Zozo Championship back in October, and the Sony Open in Hawaii to start this year impressively. The 30-year-old is now a Major winner after landing last year’s US Masters, and with this success under his belt he seems a much more potent threat in these big tournaments.

Abraham Ancer ($71 with TopSport)

The Mexican is another with a positive experience of playing here at Sawgrass. Ancer was 22nd last year, and 12th on debut in 2019. Ancer is generally arrow-straight off the tee, and with a decent putting stroke, if he can get his irons on-point, then he’s more than able to challenge on any course. His recent form isn’t standout good, compared to some, but he’s generally been throwing in one poor round to scupper his week. With the terms on offer here I think there’s a number of players at value prices who can get into the mix, and Ancer is certainly one of them.

The Golf Insider is a GUN. Look at these winners, all since the start of 2020...

Martin Laird $201, Rasmus Hojgaard $151, Mark Hubbard $126, Marc Warren $101, Sam Burns $67, Tyrell Hatton $51, Peter Malnati $46, John Catlin $46, Talor Gooch $41, Harold Varner $36, Harris English $34, Robert Macintyre $31, Adri Arnaus $26, Connor Syme $26, Scott Jamieson $24, JB Holmes $21, Seamus Power $21, Dustin Johnson $21

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