The PLAYERS Championship Prediction, Tips & Preview

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PLAYERS Championship Tips

It has been 12 months since golf was brought to an abrupt halt after day one of the 2020 Players Championship, but the very best in world golf will gather at the iconic TPC Sawgrass again, in much more bright circumstances with promising hopes for the future, after last year’s event was abandoned under the dark cloud of the depressing year ahead.

After a full-capacity crowd saw just one day of action last year in Florida, a 20% capacity will, barring exceptional circumstances, witness four days of top draw golf, following on from the thrilling start we have had to the PGA Tour season, with the beginning of the major season just around the corner.

Let's take a look at our PLAYERS Championship tips and predictions.

PLAYERS Championship Tips

skybet betting tip

DUSTIN JOHNSON OR RORY MCILROY TO WIN BY 2 OR MORE SHOTS @ 9/1

The course

Measured as one of the most difficult courses on the tour, adverse weather conditions can really make this Par 72 golf course a daunting prospect for even the very best. Course amendments, calmer weather and the quality of the field in recent years has seen winners and the chasing pack regularly shoot an overall score comfortably in the 270s, however. The course record of 63 (nine-under-par) has been matched on seven occasions in the last eight years, including by Hideki Matsuyama on the first day last year who led the tournament by two shots, but ultimately in vain as the competition was abandoned.

Golf’s unofficial fifth major also gives us the chance to get a look at the brilliant signature 17th hole, known as the Island Green, one of the most picturesque sights in professional golf. The 137-yard par three, almost entirely surrounded by water and located in one of the windiest positions on the course, gives golfers only one option, the centre of the green. It will test the nerve of the 154-strong field this week, and many will succumb to the hazard, as they do every year.

With plenty of water hazards around the course, hitting the fairway is imperative around Sawgrass, but few holes on the course offer more of a test than the par five 2nd. Its narrow fairway is complemented by trees, bunkers and water along the sides, so accuracy may be the deciding factor here as opposed to power.

The 13th hole provides another potentially treacherous par three. Not only is there a water hazard stretching along the entirety of the hole, and a long bunker on the opposite side, the three-tiered green has caused more three-putts or worse than any hole on the Tour over the past two decades.

Another huge water hazard along the left-hand side of the 18th hole also presents an intimidating task to finish, especially if the wind picks up, but perhaps Bryson DeChambeau will look to bomb his drive all the way over the dogleg, like we saw at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week.

The 17th Hole Specials - PLAYERS Championship Tips

skybet betting tip

BALLS IN WATER - 48 OR LESS @ 1/1

Previous Winners of the PLAYERS Championship

Rory McIlroy will return to defend his title from 2019 for a second consecutive year as no winner was declared in 2020 and despite not being in the best of form, he is priced at 12/1 to retain his crown. The Northern Irishman joins several former winners in the field for the 2021 event.

Only the great Greg Norman has ever shot a better tournament score than Webb Simpson’s 18-under par here when he took the title in 2018, and two titles in the past year along with numerous top tens means the American looks well in with a chance of taking a second title, and he is available at odds of 18/1 to do so.

South Korea’s Si Woo Kim was the youngest ever winner of the tournament when he won in 2017 at the age of just 21, and at 100/1, he is not to be underestimated when you consider he already has a Tour win to his name in 2021, from the Desert Classic in January.

However, two former winners who could really do with a win are Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, winners of the 2016 and 2015 events, respectively. Australian Day is approaching three years without a win since he took the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship and Fowler has only five wins on the Tour in his career, with the last coming over two years ago, an underwhelming tally for a player who was expected to produce much more after bursting onto the scene a decade ago.

Other past winners in the field include Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott, but with all of them now over 40, wins on the Tour will be much harder to come by. However, with their class and experience around Sawgrass, do not be surprised if one puts together a few good rounds this week.

PLAYERS Championship Tips

skybet betting tip

SI WOO KIM TO FINISH AS THE TOP ASIAN @ 9/2

Who Else is hot and who is not?

Looking at the rest of the field, many will track the exploits of Bryson DeChambeau, as the US Open champion, who also won the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, has all the traits which could lead to either a victory or a missed cut here, priced at 12/1. Dustin Johnson did not appear at Bay Hill last week but will contest the Players, following on from a disappointing showing at the WGC-Workday which saw him shoot and opening day 77 and a closing 78 to finish five-over-par, but expect the Masters Champion to put on a much better showing here, as the favourite is 11/1.

After years in the wilderness, Jordan Spieth has burst back onto the scene, with four good displays in a row, as he desperately looks to end a torrid run without a win, stretching back to the 2017 Open Championship. His form has been reciprocated in his odds this week, as he finds himself named as one of the more fancied players at 25/1. An American seemingly going in the opposite direction however is Justin Thomas. After a strong start to the season with top tens at the US Open and the Masters, average showings at the Phoenix Open and WGC-Workday came either side of a woeful display at the Genesis Invitational in which he missed the cut.

Two-time winner Tiger Woods will continue his recovery from the car crash which shocked the golfing and wider world two weeks ago, with his health being on the forefront of most people’s minds involved in the game. Another one of the top US players will also be absent from the competition, as four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, unfortunately, pulled out with a knee injury just as he was playing himself back into form, after taking the Phoenix Open crown a month ago.

By Andrew Delaney

Winner Without the Big Six (McIlroy, Johnson, Dechambeau, Rahm, Schauffele and Simpson)

skybet betting tip

JORDAN SPEITH @ 20/1

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