Note: The odds presented in this article are from FanDuel Sportsbook, where new users can currently get their first bet risk-free up to $1000. If your first bet loses, FanDuel Sportsbook will refund you in site credit. Click here to lock in this offer.
THE PLAYERS Championship returns to TPC Sawgrass this week, one year after the tournament was halted due to Covid after a first round that saw Hideki Matsuyama tie the course record shooting a nine-under par, 63. That began a three-month hiatus for golf, but 12 months later, the PGA, who led the country’s sports leagues out of lockdown, welcomes back not only golfers, but fans, and as we saw last weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, fans make golf that much more exciting (ex: see Bryson Dechambeau’s drives off the 6th tee last weekend with fan reaction).
This week’s field is the strongest in golf, much like any major, and with the $15 million dollar prize pool, it’s easy to see why this is known as the “fifth major”. 48 of the world’s top 50 golfers will be at Ponte Vedra, with the only exceptions, Matthew Wolff and Brooks Koepka, who are both dealing with injuries. With no winner crowned in 2020 (except for Matsuyama shooting a 63 and winning me low round in round one :)), Rory McIlroy remains the defending champion coming off his 2019 title. According to the odds via FanDuel, Rory comes in at +1600, the 2nd favorite, only behind World #1 Dustin Johnson @ +1200.
Let’s take a look at a few favorites this week;
Dustin Johnson (+1200) – What more really needs to be said here? DJ is World #1, the 2020 Masters Champion, and reigning golfer of the year who played the post-Covid 2020 season at a level not seen since prime Tiger Woods. If anyone wants to win the TPC they’re going to have to go through DJ to do so.
Rory McIlroy (+1600) – Rory knows what it takes to win at the TPC and comes in playing some good golf with two top ten finishes in his last two tournaments. While he’s not my favorite golfer to back, his experience combined with his confidence at this course will help him massively here.
Bryson Dechambeau (+1700) – Mr. 370 yard drive, the Arnold Palmer Champ, takes his talents to Ponte Vedra this week. Can he dominate this course like he did at Bay Hill? One thing for sure, he will try, and he will try to put on a show for the fans who show up. Look for Bryson to not only be among the first round leaders, but to also be in contention on Sunday.
Webb Simpson (+2200) – In 2018 Webb absolutely dominated this field in wire to wire fashion after jumping out to a huge lead and eventually winning by four strokes while posting the lowest score (270) since Fred Couples in 1996. Simpson comes in playing some solid golf and he is always in the mix when it means the most. One thing about Simpson, when he’s in the mix in tournaments he is usually out to a hot start, so I will surely be betting him at +2900 to be the leader after round one.
Hideki Matsuyama (+4500) – Hideki loves this track and his course record 63 to open last year’s canceled tournament makes that very obvious. You know he wants it a little more this year because in his mind he’s the defending champ (what’s a technicality anyway?)
Others in the mix –
- Jon Rahm +1700Justin Thomas +1900
- Collin Morikawa +2200 (Surging)
- Patrick Cantlay +2300
- Viktor Hovland +2500 (Surging)
- Jordan Spieth +3000 (Surging)
Regardless of who wins this week, I think all golf fans can agree that we’re just happy to be back at TPC Sawgrass, with fans especially, as we get back to normalcy in the place where it was all taken away.