On 10th of May till 13th of May, The Players Championship, also known as “The Players” will take place in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where we will see world best golf players competing for the 1st place and a hefty reward.
This annual tournament began back in 1974 and for many years to come it was known as the best-paid tournament in golf, with the prize going up to $10.5 million. But in 2015, Players Tournament was stripped of the title for “the best-paid tournament”. It was taken from it in 2017 when U.S. Open offered a $12 million prize. Nevertheless it still is a widely known tournament, which usually includes top 50 golf players in the world, however, it is not included as an official event on the European Tour.
As mentioned before, The Players Championship started back in 1974. It was conceived by PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman, (former professional golfer). The tournament has been played in several locations; the first event in 1974 was played in Georgia, at Atlanta Country Club (Marietta). Next year (1975) it was moved to Colonial Country Club (Fort Worth), Texas and the year after (1976) to Inverrary Country Club (Lauderhill), South Florida. In 1977 we saw the tournament move to Ponte Vedra Beach, initially at Sawgrass Country Club. It was not until 1982 when the Players Tournament moved to TPC Sawgrass where it is played now. The current record in this tournament belongs to Greg Norman who ended the tournament with -24 back in 1994.
Up until now, there are 6 players that have won the tournament more than once, with Jack Nicklaus on top with 3 wins.
– Jack Nicklaus (3 wins); 1974, 1976, 1978
– Fred Couples (2 wins); 1984, 1996
– Steve Elkington (2 wins); 1991, 1997
– Hal Sutton (2 wins); 1983, 2000
– Davis Love III (2 wins); 1992, 2003
– Tiger Woods (2 wins); 2001, 2013
As for current champion, it was Kim Si-woo who won 2017 Players Tournament as the youngest winner up to date with only 21 years.
Jason Day (Outright Win)
Jason Day is a top favourite to win this tournament. This 31-year-old Australian is in great form, winning the last tournament, Wells Fargo Championship. Winning back-to-back is tough but he does have the mental strength and skill to do so. The only negative side is that he is drawn in the afternoon, which is not particularly bad, but nonetheless worse compared to a “morning slot”. Anyhow he is impossible to ignore this week and is rightfully no.1 favourite.
Bubba Watson (to win E/W)
The odds offered for Bubba Watson to win are just too good to pass. At XXX we will be more than happy to pick him. He has already won 2 tournaments this season and with his 5th place at US Masters, it’s clear that he is capable to add another win to his record. The high odds may have something to do with his somewhat poor performance at Sawgrass, but to be fair many of the winners here were in the same position. All in all a great pick at the offered odds.
Ian Poulter (to win E/W)
Much like Bubba Watson, odds on Ian Poulter to win seem too high, especially after his recent win in the Texas Open. His statistics are incredible. He has a great record in Florida and he putts well on Bermuda. In addition, he was 2nd on this course twice before. As said for Bubba Watson, this bet is a must take, especially at these odds.
Billy Horschel (to win E/W)
An obvious pick for me. Billy Horschel performed well at Texas Open but missed a couple of late putts which prevented him to finish higher. As for his recent results, Billy Horschel finished T5 in RBC Heritage and T11 in Valero Texas. In addition, he won the pairs event in Zurich Classic with Piercy. In addition to all that he has knowledge about this venue, being that he lives in Ponte Verda Beach. Taking into consideration, his experience and good form he is the one to bet on.
Patrick Reed (Top 20 finish)
The winner of Masters Tournament is expected to perform well in Players Tournament. With his recent 5th place in Wells Fargo Championship, he is showing great form. In his interview about Sawgrass he stated:
“I think the biggest thing is it seems to be, for the most part, a drawer’s golf course off the tee. A lot of the holes you’re hitting kind of draws off the tee, and for me, that’s my comfort zone. I love to be able to aim right and just send it. But at the same time, I need to swing within myself. Because I get to hit a lot of draws a lot of times I want to amp up and get an extra 20 out of it when you don’t need it, you just need the ball in the fairway. I feel like my short game is really solid right now, around the greens here is absolutely perfect, so I feel like I can get up-and-down from anywhere.”
All in all a player who I see finishing in the top 20 with ease. He could finish higher, but we will settle for a bet on Patrick Reed finishing in the top 20.
Justin Rose (Top 20 finish)
It’s been 31 years since we last saw a British man winning the Fifth Major and we do believe Rose can finally break this spell or at least end up in a great position. One of the main reasons we are going with this pick is consistency. Justin Rose is and will be a golf player who you can trust to give his all and at least try and finish up in a decent spot. His recent results at Arnold Palmer Invitational (3rd) and The Masters (12th) only prove my point.
Despite all that we won’t bet on him finishing on top, but rather pick a safer bet with top 20 finish (although top 10 would also be a decent pick). He has finished in the top 20 in his last 9 events and we are sure he can do so again.
Webb Simpson (Top 20 finish)
The former US Champion was T16 last year and T15 in 2013. Looking at his most recent results, Simpson finished T8 in Valspar Championship, T20 in Masters Tournament, T5 in RBC Heritage and T21 in Wells Fargo Championship. He is capable of reaching top 10 due to his improvement lately, however, we will be picking a top 20 finish.