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BlogThe Players Preview and Picks

The Players Championship

March 12th – 15th, 2020

TPC Sawgrass

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,189

Purse: $12.5 million

with $2.25 million to the winner

Defending Champion:
Rory McIlroy

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 79 of the top 100 in the lastest Official World rankings and 47 of the top 50.  Unfortunately, Tiger Woods back is still not 100% as we all start to wonder what is up and if he can get it ready for the Masters.  With three events left on the calendar and one of them being the Match Play, which Tiger will probably play in be interesting to see if he plays next week at the Valspar, a course he likes.  He needs some reps before the Masters and we just don’t know if the Match Play will be enough.  As for Lee Westwood, he leads a second life in the horse racing world and since this week is Cheltenham Festival, a big horse race in England he is probably there.  As for Shugo Imahira he just decided not to play, he was in Mexico three weeks ago.  So it’s the best field of the year, not as good as last year but good.  One thing to keep in mind, last week Jason Day’s back forces him to withdraw after four holes in the first round and we don’t know the status of him this week so the same could happen this wee

Last year 49 of the top-50 played in the event

The field includes all 49 of the top 50 on the FedEx point standings for 2020, #28 Tiger Woods is not playing.  

The field includes 10 past champions: Rory McIlroy (2019), Webb Simpson (2018), Si Woo Kim (2017), Jason Day (2016), Rickie Fowler (2015), Matt Kuchar (2012), Henrik Stenson (2009), Sergio Garcia (2008), Phil Mickelson (2007) and Adam Scott (2004).

All winners on the PGA Tour since last year Players in the field this week except for Zozo Championship winner Tiger Woods.  16 of the players that have won the last 22 majors and Players are in the field.

A total of 19 will play in the Players Championship for the first time: Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Sam Burns, Dylan Frittelli, Lanto Griffin, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland, Jazz Janewattananond, Nate Lashley, Kyoung-Hoon Lee, Collin Morikawa, Sebastian Munoz, Joaquin Niemann, Victor Perez, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Schenk, Roger Sloan, Sepp Straka, Matthew Wolff, Erik van Rooyen.

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Players Championship field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Players Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Players Championship.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker North America, bovada.  They give winning odds plus top-five and first-round leader odds.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for The Players Championship

Player Arnold Palmer The Honda Classic WGC Mexico Champ. Puerto Rico Open Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Intern. Farmers Insurance Open Dubai Desert Classic The American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open in Hawaii
Bryson DeChambeau
(290 pts)
4
(80)
DNP 2
(150)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sungjae Im
(285.17 pts)
3
(90)
Win
(132)
T29
(31.5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP T21
(9.67)
Rory McIlroy
(251.67 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP 5
(105)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patrick Reed
(243 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP Win
(198)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T6
(20)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Tyrrell Hatton
(222 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP T6
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jon Rahm
(220.33 pts)
DNP DNP T3
(135)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(174.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
3
(90)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(173.67 pts)
T56
(0)
DNP T6
(90)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
Marc Leishman
(168 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T42
(12)
DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
Daniel Berger
(167.67 pts)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T9
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(7)
DNP T38
(4)
Max Homa
(152.33 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T14
(24)
T6
(40)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP T48
(0.67)
DNP DNP
Joel Dahmen
(150 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T14
(24)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
Justin Thomas
(140 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(90)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Abraham Ancer
(139 pts)
T56
(0)
DNP T12
(57)
DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T38
(4)
Byeong Hun An
(138.17 pts)
T56
(0)
T4
(80)
T29
(31.5)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Viktor Hovland
(137 pts)
T42
(8)
CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T38
(8)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T23
(9)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matt Kuchar
(136 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(42)
DNP T2
(66.67)
T38
(8)
T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Erik Van Rooyen
(128.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T3
(135)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP
Graeme McDowell
(122.67 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
Patrick Rodgers
(118.33 pts)
T24
(26)
T21
(29)
DNP T35
(15)
T30
(13.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T16
(22.67)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP T38
(4)
Webb Simpson
(118 pts)
DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(30)
Xander Schauffele
(117.33 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T14
(54)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(116.17 pts)
T36
(14)
T42
(8)
T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
(116.17 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP T29
(31.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP
Adam Scott
(114 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T26
(36)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sung Kang
(113 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T52
(0)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(112.83 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP T37
(19.5)
DNP T30
(13.33)
T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Bubba Watson
(111.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T18
(48)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Gary Woodland
(110.33 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
T12
(57)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Collin Morikawa
(109 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP T42
(12)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
Dustin Johnson
(108.33 pts)
DNP DNP T48
(3)
DNP T10
(26.67)
T32
(12)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scottie Scheffler
(104.33 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP T26
(36)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 3
(30)
DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(103.17 pts)
T36
(14)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T14
(24)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP DNP
Harris English
(101.33 pts)
T9
(45)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T71
(0)
DNP T48
(0.67)
DNP DNP
Tom Hoge
(97.67 pts)
T15
(35)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
T25
(16.67)
DNP 5
(23.33)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP T12
(12.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for The Players Championship

Player Arnold Palmer The Honda Classic WGC Mexico Champ. Puerto Rico Open Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Intern. Farmers Insurance Open Dubai Desert Classic The American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open in Hawaii
Tyler Duncan
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Chris Stroud
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Ryan Armour
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Roger Sloan
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Jim Herman
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
C.T. Pan
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Si Woo Kim
(-26.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP
Joaquin Niemann
(-26.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
Jim Furyk
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The big talk this week, of course, is of the coronavirus and if it will have any effect on the PGA Tour.  Already the LPGA has had to cancel three events this year as it has not played since the Women’s Australian Open in mid-February.  They will be playing next week in Phoenix.  As for the European Tour have also canceled three events, one that was supposed to be played in Kenya, Africa this week got canceled last week.  As for the PGA Tour, it’s been business as usual, but there has been some talk.  The Masters sent out a press release last week saying they were monitoring things and everything was on schedule but the big question will be if the virus grows in the United States, could golf be effected?  Of course it could, already the NBA and NCAA are talking about playing games without spectators, so the same could happen with golf.  I would say that would be the first step since TV has such a big foothold in sports and would document the tournament.  Financially the PGA Tour wouldn’t take the hit for lack of crowd, the tournament would take that hit but the PGA Tour would have to kick in some money to help that tournament with their expenses.  We have seen rounds played without a gallery, the last in October in Japan at the Zozo Championship when bad weather made it dangerous for spectators.  For gambling there wouldn’t be any difference if the tournament goes on, you still would have a winner at the end of Sunday.

New TV deals

So the PGA Tour have announced their new TV contracts that will go into effect in 2022.  For golf fans there won’t be big changes, everything stays the same with the exception that instead of CBS doing the first FedExCup playoff event and NBC doing the last two, they will rotate each year and do all three of them making it more seamless on just one network.  Some of the changes that fans won’t see are the money, supposedly the PGA Tour will get a hefty price increase as Variety is saying the rights will go from around $400 million to $680 million, a 70% increase.  That sounds like a lot, but that is becoming the norm for live sports rights in this world.  One other big change, since television first starting doing tournaments in the 50s they have always been responsible for putting together the telecast by setting up a compound, bringing in people and equipment, and then calling all the shots in producing the overall telecast.  But in the new telecast, the PGA Tour will take over that responsibility as they will do the compound and be in charge of setting up the telecast.  But the networks will still call the shots in producing the live golf, what this new arrangement will allow is for the PGA Tour to document more coverage and record more shots to better aggregate and distribute all of this.  So this will help make gambling more popular because you will be able to follow every pairing and bet on every shot in the future.

The Honda and Arnold Palmer

The last two weeks have seen some really tough playing conditions.  Not only have the courses been tough and penal, but with high winds making it harder for players to control their shots, we have seen some unusual things.  Like both being won by first time PGA Tour winners, Sungjae Im at the Honda and Tyrrell Hatton at the Arnold Palmer.  Both are solid winners and nobody will call them flunk winners, which we get about 10 to 15% a year winning on the PGA Tour Tour.  There are still some really good players left that are looking for that first PGA Tour victory, the biggest probably being Tommy Fleetwood who has won five times on the European Tour and in 65 PGA Tour starts has 17 top-ten finishes.  We go into this week’s Players, who in its first 28 years prided itself as never seeing a first time PGA Tour winner until Craig Perks broke the streak in 2002 and then Tim Clark becoming the second in 2010 wondering if we could have the third this week?  Along with Fleetwood, there are others that could claim their first PGA Tour victory this week, Abraham Ancer was T-12th last year and has been in the top ten 12 times in his four seasons on the PGA Tour.  Korean Byeong Hun An has also played well this year, he has never won despite being in the top-ten in 17 of his 109 PGA Tour starts.  One other name that we should not leave off the list is Joel Dahmen who is playing his fourth straight season on the PGA Tour and despite not being well know by betters has finished in the top ten, ten times including a runner-up last year at the Wells Fargo and a pair of T-5th place finishes in his last two starts at the Genesis Invitational and last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Some thoughts on Tiger and Jason Day

Lot’s of disappointment when Tiger Woods couldn’t play this week at the Player Championship.  Have to wonder how serious his back really is or if he is close.  With the Masters just four weeks away he doesn’t have many events to get ready.  Yes, he will probably play in the Match Play, but if his back is good next week, could Tiger add Valspar to his list?  Probably doubtful, but nice to think about.  But we know that Tiger will be back soon and even if he isn’t ready for the Masters, there will be the PGA Championship played at Harding Park, the same course that Tiger won a WGC event at in 2005.

The person I really worry about is Jason Day.  His back has been a problem for a number of years and he just rests it.  It was disappointing when he had to pull out of the Presidents Cup played in his native country Australia.  It was also disappointing when he withdrew last week for the Palmer because of the bad back.  He played so well at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am it gave me a thought that maybe, just maybe things were better, maybe his back was well-rested and would not act up again.  But as I have said numerous times over the years, Day’s back is like a dominate bomb that can go off at any time and until he gets it properly fixed, which probably requires some form of surgery, this is what is going to happen when he least expects it the back goes out on him.  Of course, it’s easy for me to write these words, I’m not the one with the crappy back.  But I endured bad and painful knees for six years, trying every quack pill and brace under the sun.  It wasn’t until I met a good doctor who explained what the problem was and showed me how bad the knees were and how he could fix it over the course of 18 months that I took action.  I had my second knee replaced the first of November and today I am a new man.  I can walk with no pain, go up and downstairs with no pain and hopefully when it gets warmer play golf with no pain.  Still, I was lucky to find someone who did a great job, I can only hope that Jason Day can find that person that can do a great job for him too.

The season is almost half over 

It may be early March but we are playing the 23rd of 49 events on tour for the year.  So it’s hard to believe that the golf year is just about halfway over.  Over the course of the next 24 weeks along with this week’s Players, we have four majors to play, along with two more WGC events, three FedEx Cup playoffs, and the Olympics so I guess it’s easy to say this is the start of the really big events on the PGA Tour.

Things you need to know about the Players Championship:

This week we have the crowning jewel of the PGA Tour, The Players. This is the 47th edition, which has been played at the TPC Stadium Course every year since 1982. Other than the four majors, it’s the fifth most important tournament in men’s professional golf.  In looking at the field the last couple of years only one other tournament in golf gets more top-100 ranked players, the PGA Championship.  The big news about changing the date of the event is what will be different for the players.  How will the course play this year?  Will it be firm and fast as officials hope?  The weather has been pretty dry over the last couple of weeks, so officials shouldn’t have any trouble with getting the course fast. One thing that will be different this week, the wind will be low right around the 12 mph figure which is low for March.  So look for low scores as the weather will be picture perfect all for days.

Many may feel that it takes a lot of experience to win the Players. Since the event moved to the Stadium course, 17 different players in their 20s have won, including last year’s winner Rory McIlory, 2017 champion Si Woo Kim, 2016 champion Jason Day and 2015 winner Rickie Fowler.  The list is impressive: Jerry Pate in 1982, Hal Sutton in 1983, Fred Couples in 1984, Sandy Lyle in 1987, Jodie Mudd in 1990, Steve Elkington in 1991, Davis Love III in 1992, Justin Leonard in 1998, David Duval in 1999, Tiger Woods in 2001, Adam Scott in 2004, Sergio Garcia in 2008, Martin Kaymer in 2014, Fowler in 2015, Day in 2016, Kim in 2017 and Rory in 2019.  Need I also bring up that guys like Craig Perks, Fred Funk, Henrik Stenson and Tim Clark have also won so anything can happen this week.

Course information:
  • The Players Stadium Course
  • Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl.
  • 7,189 yards     Par 36-36–72
  • TPC Sawgrass features a course rating of 76.8 and a slope rating from the back tees of 155. The tees and fairways are Celebration bermudagrass while the rough is 419 bermudaGrass.  The greens are Mini Verde Ultrdwarf which has become very popular in the Southeast. The course played to a 71.53 average last year and was the 23rd toughest course on tour.

Rank compared to

Year    Scoring avg      other courses

2019       71.513             23rd

2018       71.409            29th

2017       73.289            5th

2016       72.055           19th

2015       72.083          18th

2014       72.155           25th

2013       72.323           19th

2012       72.466           19th

2011       72.000          23rd

2010       71.804          28th

2009       72.690          12th

2008       74.286           6th

2007       73.248           12th

2006       73.529           7th

2005       72.841           17th

2004       73.004           12th

2003       72.541           21st

2002       73.500            3rd

2001       73.536           3rd

2000       74.451           2nd

1999       74.642           3rd

1998       73.375            7th

The course opened in 1981 and hosted The Players Championship in 1982.  That year the course was very “raw” with a lot of complaints from the players that the greens and landing areas had too much slope.  Winds in the early days didn’t help ease the pain of the mounds, but over the years improvements have made the course more “player-friendly”.

Over the years, the TPC Sawgrass has gone from a course the players didn’t care much about to one of the most loved, but most robust courses on Tour.  With the advent of the Players moving to May, the course went through an extensive renovation in 2007 in which all of the grass on the tees, fairways, and greens were stripped off with a new drainage and irrigation system placed underneath. The greens were built with a sub-air system just like the one at Augusta National, which can control firmness in any weather conditions.

At the same time, 122 yards were added to the course and the rough was Bermuda instead of rye.

With all of this, plus the new clubhouse, it gave the Players a new dimension in making it one of the best tournaments in the world, with the possibility of it one day being considered a major.

A couple of things to know, the average green size is 4,500 which is small and makes the targets harder.  With small greens that place more emphasis on shotmaking, but you have to be useful in getting it up and down.  Water is on all 18 holes, but for the pros only comes into play on 11 holes. There are a total of 92 bunkers around the course along with a lot of waste areas in the fairways.

One other thing, in 2018 and in 2017 the course played to a yardage of 7,189 which is 26 yards shorter than in 2016 before the 12th hole got changed.

A look at the winners of the Players at TPC Sawgrass:

33 have won the 38 Players Championship since the event moved to its permanent home of TPC Sawgrass.  Of those 33 champions they have….

  • *Played in 14,089 PGA Tour events in their careers
  • *Won a total of $939,288,166 million
  • *With a total of $65.2 million being won at the Players
  • *The 33 have won a total of 437 times on the PGA Tour
  • *While 19 of the 33 won a total of 49 major championships
  • *Seven of the 33 are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame
  • *eight of the 33 winners spent a total of 1,239 weeks as world number one.
  • (Woods 683, Norman 311, McIlory 100, Price 44, Couples 16, Duval 15, Scott 11, Kaymer 8 and Day 51 weeks)
  • *Of the winners of the Players only two won their first event at the Players, Craig Perks and Tim Clark. For Perks, it was his only win on the PGA Tour while Clark won again four years later.
  • *Of the 33 winners, these nine did it on their second start: Adam Scott, Fred Couples, Hal Sutton, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Stephen Ames, Steve Elkington and Si Woo Kim.
  • *Only two made the Players their last PGA Tour victory: Jerry Pate and K.J. Choi.

In talking about those that have won at the Players, it’s interesting to note that the new breed of winners, those at the top of the world rankings seem to struggle at the Players.  Of the top-ten, only #1 Rory McIlory, #7 Webb Simpson and #9 Adam Scott have won at TPC Sawgrass.  Here is what has happened to all ten:

 

Player                        Player starts       Top-ten     Cuts Made          Best finish

#1 Rory McIlroy              10                      4                   6                    Won, 2019

#2 Jon Rahm                    3                       0                   3                    T-12, 2019

#3 Brooks Koepka           5                       0                   4                     T-11, 2018

#4 Justin Thomas           5                        1                    5                     T-3, 2016

#5 Dustin Johnson         11                       1                  10                    T-5, 2019

#6 Patrick Cantlay           3                       0                  2                     T-22, 2017

#7 Webb Simpson          10                       1                  6                     Win, 2018

#8 Patrick Reed              6                         0                  4                   T-22, 2017

#9 Adam Scott               18                        4                15                   Win, 2004

#10 Tommy Fleetwood    3                         2                 3                    T-5, 2019

 

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at TPC Sawgrass.

This is based on the most important stats for TPC Sawgrass, based on data from last year’s Players Championship, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2020. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
Last year the Players Championship returned to it’s March date, with the thought that the course would have more bite to it with March winds. When it was played in May, the course plays differently due to the heat but mostly the lack of winds. Between 2013 and 2018 the course only played tough once, in 2017 when all four days saw the wind blowing 20 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph over the weekend. The course played to a 73.29 average and it was the 5th hardest course on the PGA Tour. The next year in 2018 a combination of low winds, lots of thunderstorms and rain help make the course play to a 71.41 scoring average, the lowest the course has ever played in its history. So it was important to change dates and even though they did change dates last year and each day saw winds in the 8 to 20 mph area, scoring was still low with the average being 71.51 which ranked T-23rd.
Still, the weather is one of the things that makes TPC Sawgrass unique, weather and wind. It’s about a mile from the Atlantic and if the wind blows, it plays tough. The course architect Pete Dye said many times over the last 40 years that one thing he kept in the back of his mind in designing the holes was the March winds Each hole is challenging with water on every one of them, but water becomes a hazard on 12 holes, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9,11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18. Bunkering is also hard along with chipping as most of the greens are raised so a shot missing a green is an adventure getting it up and down.
Between the first year, it was played at TPC Sawgrass in 1982 and 2006, it was played in March when conditions were totally different, due to higher winds and cooler weather. When the dates changed from 2007 to May, winds decreased and it was a lot warmer. You could say that the change of dates made the event play easier because of the lack of wind. So with the tournament moving back to March, look for drastically different conditions. In looking at the long-range forecast for this week, the good news for the players is that conditions will be benign and perfect for them with temperatures in the mid-70s and winds around 10 to 12 mph each day.  So with conditions like this, look for scores to be low like the previous two years.

Still how much did the change of date cause the course to play differently? The winners have been pretty consistent as in most years hitting greens is very important. Between 1997 and 2006, seven of the ten winners were in the top-ten in greens hit, with four of them leading that stat. Since the change to May, of the 12 winners six of the winners have been in the top-ten with only one, Sergio Garcia leading in greens hit. In 2018 Webb Simpson was T-5th, but most of the time in May dates it wasn’t that important.
In looking at our four categories, we have seen Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green as very important. It was 3rd last year and T-15th on tour in 2018 and T-11th in 2017. But in 2016 it was T-2nd so we pick that as the key stat. In looking at our past winners, last year Rory McIlroy led the stat while in 2018 Webb Simpson was 16th. But in 2017 Si Woo Kim was 2nd in his win while in 2016 Jason Day was 3rd. In 2015 Rickie Fowler won ranking 5th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. In 2014 winner Martin Kaymer was 2nd in this stat while 2013 champion Tiger Woods was 1st. So you can see that Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green is very important in winning at the Players as proven in six of the last seven winners other than Simpson finished no higher than 5th.

The next important stat is Proximity to hole. Last year it ranked 6th on tour with McIlroy ranking 11th, the previous year the course ranked 9th on tour with Simpson ranking 69th. In 2017 it ranked 2nd on tour with Kim finishing T-39th in that stat. In 2016 it ranked 14th on tour with champion Jason Day ranking T-50th in this stat. But in 2015 this stat was important in Rickie Fowler’s win, he was T-3rd while in 2014 Martin Kaymer was 46th while Tiger in 2013 was T-23rd. Still, since it’s important to hit greens and get it close we feel the importance of this stat.

Our third important stat is scrambling, since it’s important to hit greens and hard to do this, you have to be able to get it up and down on the greens you miss. Last year the course was 8th hardest while McIlroy was T-40th. In 2018 it was 7th hardest on tour while Simpson was 24th. In 2017 the course was 4th in this stat while the winner Si Woo Kim was 1st in scrambling. For 2016 the course ranked 9th in scrambling, while we see that winner Jason Day was 1st in this stat. In 2015 Rickie Fowler was 10th while in 2014 Martin Kaymer was 4th and Tiger Woods in 2013 was 6th. So you can see the importance of scrambling.

Our fourth stat is something that was very hard to pinpoint. That is because putting doesn’t show us much and there is nothing that catches our attention in playing the par 3s, par 4s and par 5s. But one thing that TPC Sawgrass does give up is a lot of birdies. It seems hard to believe since the course is so hard, but last year 1,704 birdies were made on the course as only eight other courses saw more birdies made. I was a bit surprised to see that Rory made 21 birdies and it was T-5th (Brandt Snedeker and Abraham Ancer led with 23). In 2018 1,754 birdies were made as only four of the 51 courses saw more birdies made. Webb Simpson made 23 which was T-2nd. In 2017, remember the course played very tough, it had 1,429 birdies made making it the 17th hardest of 50 courses. One thing to realize is that the field is 144 players, while most events have fields of 156 giving it more chances for more birdies But if you look at some of the other courses that have had more birdies, they aren’t as challenging as TPC Sawgrass so that is why making lot’s of birdies is important. Now total birdies are very misleading since some players like Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott haven’t played as many events as those that play week in and week our. So our fourth important stat is birdie average, which is the average birdies made for each of the rounds. In looking at the last seven winners, Rory McIlroy ranked T-5th, Webb Simpson ranked T-2nd while in 2017 Si Woo Kim ranked T-34th while in 2016 Jason Day ranked T-2nd in birdie average, 2015 winner Rickie Fowler was T-1st, Martin Kaymer in 2014 was T-9th and Tiger in 2013 was T-15th.
But the big thing to think about this year, the course will play totally different with not only the change of dates but the grass, which will be overseeded with Rye which also will create different challenges.

*Strokes Gained tee-to-green: Course was the 3rd hardest on tour, so you need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lots of greens. So this is important to find a player that will do this

*Proximity to hole: Hitting greens is important, last year TPC Sawgrass ranked 24th, but in proximity to hole, which tells how close players get to the hole, Sawgrass ranked T-6th as the players averaged hitting it 38 feet, 11 inches away from the hole.

*Scrambling: The percent of the time a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better.

*Birdie Average: Takes the number of birdies and multiplies it by the number of rounds so that we can see what the average of birdies are made per each round. Last year 1,704 birdies were made making it a 3.90 average per player.

Here are the 138 of 144 players from this year’s field with stats from 2020:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Let’s look at the stats of the other 128 players from The Players Championship

DraftKings tips

We are trying a new database.  Since the Sentry Tournament of Champions, we have archived every event that Draftkings has had a game and recorded the points each player has received for their performance for the week.

We have totaled each players total and come out with a list, based on the total point total via his average on his number of rounds.  So for the week, if he played four rounds and made 100 points, his point average is 25.  If his point total is 100 for eight rounds, his point average is 12.5.

Now Draftkings has had games for every PGA Tour and European Tour event since the first of January and we have totaled all of them up.

So the list below is the top 52 players in the Players field that have the best DraftKings Point average, per round.

Hope you enjoy it, please give us some feedback:

DraftKings tips

Of the 144 in the field, 125 have played at least once at TPC Sawgrass in The Players since 2015.

Here are the players with the most under par totals at The Players since 2015:

  • Adam Scott is 37 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Rory McIlroy is 28 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Webb Simpson is 27 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Jason Day is 27 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Dustin Johnson is 25 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Justin Thomas is 24 under in 19 rounds playing 5 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 23 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Rory Sabbatini is 22 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 22 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Ian Poulter is 21 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Si Woo Kim is 19 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Billy Horschel is 17 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Justin Rose is 17 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Matt Kuchar is 17 under in 17 rounds playing 5 years
  • Sergio Garcia is 17 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 16 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Byeong Hun An is 16 under in 10 rounds playing 3 years
  • Jhonattan Vegas is 16 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Keegan Bradley is 16 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Emiliano Grillo is 15 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Brooks Koepka is 15 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Patrick Reed is 15 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Xander Schauffele is 14 under in 6 rounds playing 2 years
  • Francesco Molinari is 14 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Jim Furyk is 14 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Charles Howell III is 12 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Kevin Na is 12 under in 13 rounds playing 4 years
  • Abraham Ancer is 11 under in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Joel Dahmen is 11 under in 4 rounds playing 1 year
*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 16 under, playing 2 years (-8.00)
  • Adam Scott is 37 under, playing 5 years (-7.40)
  • Rory Sabbatini is 22 under, playing 3 years (-7.33)
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 22 under, playing 3 years (-7.33)
  • Xander Schauffele is 14 under, playing 2 years (-7.00)
  • Webb Simpson is 27 under, playing 4 years (-6.75)
  • Rory McIlroy is 28 under, playing 5 years (-5.60)
  • Jason Day is 27 under, playing 5 years (-5.40)
  • Byeong Hun An is 16 under, playing 3 years (-5.33)
  • Dustin Johnson is 25 under, playing 5 years (-5.00)
  • Justin Thomas is 24 under, playing 5 years (-4.80)
  • Si Woo Kim is 19 under, playing 4 years (-4.75)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 23 under, playing 5 years (-4.60)
  • Ian Poulter is 21 under, playing 5 years (-4.20)
  • Emiliano Grillo is 15 under, playing 4 years (-3.75)
  • Francesco Molinari is 14 under, playing 4 years (-3.50)
  • Jim Furyk is 14 under, playing 4 years (-3.50)
  • Billy Horschel is 17 under, playing 5 years (-3.40)
  • Justin Rose is 17 under, playing 5 years (-3.40)
  • Matt Kuchar is 17 under, playing 5 years (-3.40)
  • Sergio Garcia is 17 under, playing 5 years (-3.40)
  • Jhonattan Vegas is 16 under, playing 5 years (-3.20)
  • Keegan Bradley is 16 under, playing 5 years (-3.20)
  • Brooks Koepka is 15 under, playing 5 years (-3.00)
  • Patrick Reed is 15 under, playing 5 years (-3.00)
  • Charles Howell III is 12 under, playing 4 years (-3.00)
  • Kevin Na is 12 under, playing 4 years (-3.00)
  • Jon Rahm is 8 under, playing 3 years (-2.67)
  • Chesson Hadley is 10 under, playing 4 years (-2.50)
  • Mackenzie Hughes is 5 under, playing 2 years (-2.50)
  • Tom Hoge is 5 under, playing 2 years (-2.50)
  • Patrick Cantlay is 7 under, playing 3 years (-2.33)

 

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

 

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

 

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:
  • Rory McIlroy – $11,700
  • Jon Rahm – $11,000
  • Justin Thomas – $10,800
  • Brooks Koepka – $10,200
  • Dustin Johnson – $11,000
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,800
  • Adam Scott – $9,600
  • Xander Schauffele – $9,400
  • Webb Simpson – $9,200
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $9,100
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $9,000

In the list above I can’t find much fault on anyone on this list, they are great players and will do ok.  But what I fault is the cost.  First I like Rory McIlroy but at $11,700 I have to say no to him because the price is way too extreme.  The price seriously effects being able to take anyone else over $9,000 and frankly the way Rory has played in his final rounds it’s easy to say no.  Of course, he was the same last year and did the deed last year, but that was because 70 did the job as no one forced the issue.  I realize how many birdies and eagles he makes, but his price is too high.  As for Jon Rahm at $11,000, his price is high when you consider his record isn’t that great in this event, but last year he opened up with rounds of 69-68-64 before a terrible 76 in the final round.  He has played well this year and should do good this year and he does average 23.8 Draftkings points per round which is high so he is a big yes.  Justin Thomas at $10,800 is also a yes, even though he hasn’t played great of late.  But he finished T-3rd in 2016 so maybe it’s time to regain that form and he averages 23.7 Draftkings points per round which is high.  Brooks Koepka at $10,200 is a gamble, I say he plays well this week but not well enough to make him worth that price, so pass on him.  Dustin Johnson at $11,00 is another player who has struggled, think he will play better possibly even a top-ten but at his price, I say no.  Patrick Cantlay is at $9,800 and I say no for several reasons.  This is his first start back from septum surgery and even though the procedure wasn’t that hard, he has been away from the game for three weeks and hasn’t played that great at TPC Sawgrass.  I like Adam Scott at $9,600, he plays well at TPC Sawgrass.  On top of his 2004 win, he was T-6th in 2017, T-11th in 2018 and T-12th in 2019.  Now I was very high on him last week at the Arnold Palmer and he missed the cut, hopefully, he got that out of his system.  Have mixed emotions on Xander Schauffele at $9,400.  He was runner-up in 2018 but missed the cut last year, the same with his play in 2020.  After he was runner-up at the Sentry Tournament of Champions has played indifferently, his best finish was T-14th in Mexico so he is a toss-up pick.  Webb Simpson is $9,200 and I like him a lot.  He is miles ahead of anyone else in our stat look plus he averages 22.8 Draftkings points per round, he won the Players in 2018 and won in Phoenix just over a month ago.  I think you can’t go wrong with him.  The same with Bryson DeChambeau at $9,100, he has been consistent at the Players finishing T-37th in 2018, T-20th last year, is 16 under in 8 rounds of play.  Plus his game is red hot, was T-5th at Genesis, 2nd in Mexico and 4th at Arnold Palmer and he averages 20.5 Draftkings points per round.  I also like Tommy Fleetwood at $9,000, yes he missed the cut last week at the Palmer and hopefully has gotten that out of his system.  His record at TPC Sawgrass is great, is 25 under in his last 25 rounds on the course.  On top of all that, he makes a lot of DraftKing points, averaging 20.1 per round.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Boy the big decision is do we go to the well again with Snagjae Im at $8,600?  He has played well of late, he slowed down over the weekend at the Palmer, shooting 74-73.  He missed the cut last year at the Players so as a double whammy against him being a bit tired and on a course he hasn’t played well on I say no to him.  Patrick Reed at $8,500 is another story.  He may never have played great at TPC Sawgrass but he won at Mexico and finished T-15th at the Arnold Palmer which is great considering he shot 80 in the third round.  One big pick for me is Gary Woodland at $8,300.  Yes has never had a great Players Championship but has had some good rounds, his problem just like at the U.S. Open before he won, he just has not put together four good rounds.  Last two starts, T-8th at Honda and T-12th Mexico plus he averages 19.5 Draftkings points per round.  Collin Morikawa is $7,900 and playing the Players for the first time but shows that he can play well in Florida with his T-9th last week at the Palmer.  Also a bit stunned to see Marc Leishman at $7,600.  Yes he has not played well at the Players, but he was runner-up at the Palmer so comes into this week hot and averages 19.6 DraftKings Points per round makes him very undervalued.

Are there any “Bargains” at the Players Championship?

Yes, there are and the biggest right off the bat am very shocked to see last week’s winner Tyrrell Hatton at $7,400.  I understand he has struggled at the Players, but he is playing so well that maybe he can turn it around and his price is cheap enough to try him.  Matthew Fitzpatrick is the same $7,400 price and the same problem on having four poor Player starts.  Still he can turn it around anytime and he showed how well he is playing finishing T-9th at the Palmer with a 69 in tough conditions on Sunday.  Also, like Abraham Ancer at $7,200, he was T-12 at The Players last year with rounds of 69-66-70-72.  Have to look at his game which has been consistent since Thanksgiving, he was T-4th at WGC-HSBC and was runner-up at the American Express.  Another good sleeper is Daniel Berger at $7,200.  He hasn’t played great of late at the Players but was T-9th in 2016.  What we like about Berger is in his last three starts was T-9th in Phoenix, T-5th at Pebble and T-4th at Honda.  Our best pick of the week has to be Joel Dahmen at $6,600.  He was T-12th at the Players last year and in his last two starts was T-5th at the Genesis Open and Arnold Palmer.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at The Players Championship:

The key stat for the winner:
  • Craig Perks blew the greatest stat the tournament had going for it with his win in 2002.  Before his victory, nobody had ever won the Players without a win on the PGA Tour.  On top of that, since 1982 when the Players switch to the Stadium course there have been 32 different winners with 19 of them winning 44 major championships. Still, the fact is if the course is dry and firm without rain hampering it the cream always rises to the top.   Just look at the list of champions at TPC Sawgrass, Sutton, Couples, Kite, Love, Norman, Leonard, Garcia, Duval, Mickelson, Day, McIlroy and Woods. Not a bad list.  But the one thing they have in common is firm and fast conditions so if that happens this year look for a marquee winner.  Oh, Craig Perks has some company as Tim Clark became the second player to win for the first time at the Players Championship.  Talking about weird winners 2017 champion Si Woo Kim also goes down in the annals of the Players has a long-shot winner.  He became the youngest winner at 21 years, 10 months and 16 days and he only had 61 career PGA Tour starts, the 2nd least of anyone to win the Players (Henrik Stenson won on his 44th PGA Tour career start)
Totally useless stat:
  • One of the most significant oddities of The Players Championship is the fact that nobody has ever repeated as champion. If you go back and look at all the tournaments that started before 1998, the only other one like this was the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee which is no longer played.  Six players have won this event multiple times, but none in consecutive years. Nicklaus is the only three-time winner (1974, 1976, 978). Two-time winners include Tiger Woods (2001, 2013), Steve Elkington (1991, 1997), Hal Sutton (1983, 2000), Fred Couples (1984, 1996) and Davis Love III (1992, 2003).
  • The most unusual winner of the Players has to be Sandy Lyle who won it in a playoff in 1987.  We say unusual because of his 13 starts he only made three cuts, his win in 1987, a T74th in 1994 and a T70th in 1997.  Now Craig Perks only made two cuts in six tries, but after winning the 2002 Players, he finished T17th the next year.  Also, have to add 2016 winner Jason Day to this list.  In five tries before he won he missed the cut three times.
So what does it take to win at the Players?
  • Going back to 2000, every winner but seven have been in the top-10 of greens hit category and five of them have led (Sergio Garcia-2008, Stephen Ames-2006, Fred Funk-2005, Adam Scott-2004, Hal Sutton-2000). In 2012 Matt Kuchar was T3rd in hitting 53 of the 72 greens, in 2013 Tiger Woods was also T3rd hitting 55 of 72 greens.  In 2014 Martin Kaymer also finished 3rd, hitting 54 of 72 greens. In 2015 Rickie Fowler had the worst greens hit performance of any champion going back to 1997, he hit only 45 of 72 greens and ranked T-51st.  In 2016 Jason Day hit 52 of 72 greens and ranked T-15th, 2017 Si Woo Kim hit 45 of 72 greens (least of any champion since 1997) and ranked T-37th.  In 2018 Webb Simpson hit 55 of 72 greens and was T-5th while last year Rory McIlory hit 58 of 72 greens and was T-3rd.
  • Great putting is a must for the week. The greens are always tricky and fast; historically players have had a tough time making putts inside of ten feet.  In looking at the rankings, last year TPC Sawgrass was T-23rd hardest course in making putts inside ten feet with an average of 86.75%.  In 2018 it was ranked T-14th hardest course with an average of 87.02%. In the past, the number of putts hasn’t been the key as between 2004, and 2010 nobody was in the top-ten in number of putts made. K.J. Choi broke that streak finishing T6th in 2011 with only 108 putts, while Kuchar was T5th in 2012 with 110 putts.  In 2013 Tiger Woods was T35th taking 114 putts while in 2014 Martin Kaymer also took 114 putts which ranked T38th.  In 2015 Rickie Fowler was T-2nd taking only 106 putts, while in 2016 Jason Day was T-3rd taking just 107 putts.  In 2017 Si Woo Kim kept the streak going as his 108 putts ranked T-3rd and in 2018 Webb Simpson also had 108 putts which ranked T-4th.  Last year Rory McIlroy had 116 putts which ranked T-43rd.
  •  Scrambling is important, no matter how well a player does he will still miss greens and have to be able to get it up and down to win.  Last year TPC Sawgrass was the 8th hardest course to get it up and down as the field average 55.08 in getting it up and down.  McIlory finished T-40th in scrambling.  In 2018 it was the 7th hardest course to get it up and down as the field averaged getting it up and down 53.013%, with Webb Simpson finishing 24th.  But in 2017 SiWoo Kim and Jason Day in 2016 leading the scrambling stat getting it up and down 81.48 for Kim and 85% for Day.  There are a lot of tough chips on this course, and it will take a lot of chip and runs instead of pitching it in the air.
  • Lastly, the last three holes are the most talked about holes in golf.  They all represent their challenges, problems, and drama as water plays a prominent role.  Between 2003 and 2016, 1,585 balls have gotten wet on the three holes, compare this to holes 1 thru 15 that have had a total of 1,519 balls in the water.  The 17th has the most with 634; the 18th has seen 584 go in the water while the 16th has seen 403 balls in the water.  So in doing the math, these three holes have been played 5,664 times with 1,585 in the water for a 33.9% average.  So the chances of getting your ball wet on those holes on any given round is a shade over 3 in 10.  Last year 45 balls went into the water on the 17 hole.
Here is how the last nine winners of the Players did on the final three holes in their final rounds:

Year – Player                         16th hole    17th hole    18th hole

2007 – Phil Mickelson             Par              Par            Bogey

2008 – Sergio Garcia               Par               Par             Par

2009 – Henrik Stenson          Birdie           Par             Par

2010 – Tim Clark                       Par             Par             Par

2011 – K.J. Choi                        Par             Birdie          Par

2012 – Matt Kuchar                Birdie         Bogey          Par

2013 – Tiger Woods                Birdie          Par             Par

2014 – Martin Kaymer            Par              Par             Par

2015 – Rickie Fowler             Eagle          Birdie        Birdie

2016 – Jason Day                  Birdie            Par             Par

2017 – Si Woo Kim                   Par             Par             Par

2018 – Webb Simpson          Birdie           Par           Double

2018 – Rory McIlroy             Birdie           Par             Par

Since hole by hole records have been kept, here is a summary of how the winners fared on the final three holes in the final round:

  • 16th hole – Winner has never made higher than par, with four Eagles (last was Rickie Fowler in 2015), 13 birdies (last was Rory McIlroy in 2019) and 19 pars
  • 17th hole – Winner has birdied the hole ten times (last was Rickie Fowler in 2015), par has been made 24 times and three bogeys on the hole (last was Matt Kuchar in 2012).
  • 18th hole – Only four times has the winner birdied 18, Sandy Lyle in 1987, Steve Elkington in both 1991 & ’97 and Rickie Fowler in 2015.  24 times has the winner made par while 8 times the champion made bogey, the last being Phil Mickelson in 2007.  In 2018 Webb Simpson made double on the hole, the first champions to end his championship in that manner.

Here is a look at how the last eight winners of the Players have done on 16, 17 and 18 in their winning years:

 

Who to watch for at The Players Championship

Best Bets:

Webb Simpson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T16 Win T16 T66 CUT T15 CUT T69 CUT CUT

Not only does his stats for the year tell the story, he is the best in birdie average, 5th best in scrambling and 7th best in proximity to hole and greens hit, he is playing well and has a good record at TPC Sawgrass.

Tommy Fleetwood

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T5 T7 T41

It’s time for him to win on the PGA Tour and it doesn’t matter if its this big of a win he is that good of a player. Forget that he missed the cut last week, that was a fluke. His record at TPC Sawgrass is great, is 25 under in his last eight rounds.

Justin Thomas

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T35 T11 T75 T3 T24

Disreguard that he hasn’t played well at Sawgrass since finishing T-3rd in 2016, he is ready to go was T-6th in his last start in Mexico.

Best of the rest:

Gary Woodland

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T30 CUT T75 T28 CUT T11 CUT CUT

Dispite not playing well on TPC Sawgrass the course is good for him, he has the same problem he had on Pebble Beach and found a way to win the U.S. Open on that course. Last two starts T-8th at Honda and T-12th in Mexico.

Jon Rahm

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T12 T63 T72

Was T-12th in his third Players start last year, shot 64 in the third round. Has had a good year, was T-3rd in his last start at WGC-Mexico.

Bryson DeChambeau

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T20 T37

His game has been red hot, was T-5th at Genesis, 2nd in Mexico and 4th at Arnold Palmer. During the stretch is 26 under.

Adam Scott

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T12 T11 T6 T12 T38 T38 T19 T15 CUT T26 CUT T54

Past Players Champion (2004), has played great last four years, best finish T-6th in 2017. In his last 16 rounds is 34 under par. Forget that he missed the cut last week at the Palmer he is ready to go.

Xander Schauffele

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T2

Mixed signs at The Players, after finishing runner-up in 2018 missed the cut last year.

Solid contenders, but be careful there are problems with each one of these players

Rory McIlory

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
                  Win           CUT          T35            T12           T8            T6          T8           CUT                         CUT       CUT

Always tough in this event as the defending champion, has played well this year but struggles in final round.

Marc Leishman

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T63 CUT T64 T24 T23 T8 45 CUT CUT

Did finish T-8th at The Players in 2013 but has struggled since, missed the cut last year. Won at Farmers, was 2nd at the Palmer shooting 72-73 over the weekend.

Dustin Johnson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T5 T17 T12 T28 T69 T59 WD T57 T34 T79 CUT

Seems to have learned how to play at TPC Sawgrass, was T-5th last year has been par or better in his last 9 rounds.

Tyrrell Hatton

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT CUT T41

Great win was last week at the Palmer, But he comes to a course he has never played well on, in three starts only made the cut once finishing T-41st in 2017. In 8 rounds only under par twice, 70-71 in 2017, in his 8 rounds 9 over par.

Sungjae Im

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT

What a great last two weeks he has had winning the Honda and finishing 3rd at the Arnold Palmer. But he slowed down over the weekend, shooting 74-73 and missed cut last year at the Players so it could spell a tough time for him.

Brooks Koepka

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T56 T11 T16 T35 CUT

On the comeback trail but just like at Bay Hill, TPC Sawgrass is not one of his favorite course as in five starts his best finish is T-11th in 2018.

Rickie Fowler

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T47 CUT T60 CUT Win T77 CUT T2 CUT CUT

Won at The Players in 2015, since his best finish was T-47th last year. The good news was he finished T-18th at the Arnold Palmer even though he shot 77-74 over the weekend.

Long shots that could come through:

Abraham Ancer

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T12

Was T-12 at The Players last year with rounds of 69-66-70-72. Have to look at his game which has been consistent since Thanksgiving, he was T-4th at WGC-HSBC and was runner-up at the American Express.

Collin Morikawa

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Playing for the first time at The Players showed he can play well in Florida with his T-9th last week at the Palmer.

Joel Dahmen

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T12

Was T-12 at The Players last year with rounds of 69-71-67-70. Was T-5th in his last two starts at the Genesis Open and Arnold Palmer. Looking for that good sleeper pick here is your man.

Someone with big problems:

Jason Day

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T8 T5 T60 Win CUT T19 CUT T6 CUT

Terrific record at the Players, Won in 2016, Was T-5th in 2018 and T-8th last year. Unfortunately, after what happened last week at the Palmer, no matter how good his potential is, his back is a ticking time bomb that you won’t want to gamble on.

Comments

  1. William Harvey says:

    Surprised not to see Patrick Cantlay on your list of potential winners.

  2. Back from surgery, Patrick is a California boy that has never played well in Florida and has never done well in this event so not taking him was easy.

  3. Hey Sal, under Solid Contenders section, you have Rory as never having played in this event. Just wanted to FYI you…

  4. Sorry, I type in a small I on his last name and the program didn’t catch it. Have fixed the problem, thanks for the heads up.

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