Who is going to taste victory at the Players Championship? Oddschecker’s Tom Jacobs has made his picks to win at TPC Sawgrass
Tyrrell Hatton almost bagged us the victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, but it wasn’t to be. We have another exciting week ahead at the Players Championship, so scroll down for my betting tips at TPC Sawgrass, but first…
2023 Players Championship preview
Venue: TPC Sawgrass, Florida, USA
Date: March 9-12, 2023
Course stats: Par 72; 7,275 yards
Course summary: The challenges come thick and fast on every hole, with water in play on all but one – and that’s before you factor in the wind, the heavy bunkering, and the requirement to shape shots in both directions. The greens at TPC Sawgrass are relatively small, and often very fast, increasing the importance of accurate approach play.
Purse: $25 million
2022 champion: Cameron Smith (-13)
TV coverage and tee times
2023 Players Championship betting tips
The Banker: Patrick Cantlay @ 14/1 with Bet365
As soon as Cantlay showed life at Bay Hill last week, I was in. Perhaps unfortunately he ended up finishing in 4th and just two shots back of the winning score, which has hurt his price here.
He started last week in 5th at the end of the two opening rounds, and despite a 74 on Saturday, rallied to end his week in the top five as well.
Cantlay was also 3rd at Riviera two weeks prior so we knew he was in form. What we weren’t sure of was whether his form would translate when he started playing in Florida again. Typically, Cantlay plays his best golf in California but just last week he proved this game can travel.
He now returns to The Players Championship where his first two starts, he had a chance to win but disappointing weekends have held him back. On his debut in 2017, Patrick Cantlay was 5th after 36 holes and went on to shoot 72-77 over the weekend which wasn’t good enough to finish off a strong start.
Cantlay came back a year later and led after round one and was still in second place going into the weekend. Again a poor weekend held him back and he finished 23rd. That was one worse than he finished the year before and he’s missed three cuts since, but in this form, he can challenge for the trophy again.
He has ranked 1st and 3rd in SG Tee to Green in his past two starts and top 16 in both starts in SG Approach so he’s ready for the challenge TPC Sawgrass presents. With a 2nd and two 3rds at the RBC Heritage, we have further confirmation, if we needed any, that he should enjoy Sawgrass.
The Each-Way Play: Jason Day @ 28/1 with Bet365
Jason Day posted his fourth-straight top 10 of the year last week at Bay Hill, and he will now be looking for back-to-back results in Florida, as he returns to The Players.
Day will be looking to win this title for a second time, as he attempts to add to this 2016 victory here, and all signs point to him being able to do exactly that at TPC Sawgrass.
Few have played better than Day over the past couple of months, as he ranks 4th in field in current form over the past 8 weeks. Yes, he has failed to turn that into a victory to this point, but there is little reason to believe he can’t lift the Golden Boy trophy here.
In 11 starts at TPC Sawgrass Day already has one win to his name, and he’s also finished in the top 8 a further three times, which is incredible consistency on a particularly volatile golf course.
Tee to Green, Day has been solid across his last four starts, and if he can dial in his short to mid irons, as well as stick a few wedges closer this week, he’s going to be right in the mix, come Sunday.
The Outsider: Keegan Bradley @ 40/1 with Bet365
Keegan Bradley continues to impress, and this has been a sustained run of form now over the past two seasons, with his win at the ZOZO Championship at the start of this new season a sure sign that he’s ready to win big again.
This may well be the course for Bradley to get that big victory at, as he’s finished inside the top 30 in each of his past four starts at TPC Sawgrass, including 5th and 7th place finishes. His 5th last year also came with a chance to win, so all in all, this is another Florida course that suits Bradley’s game.
In every start here over the past four years, Bradley has ended at least one round inside the top 11, and there is very little reason to think that cannot continue this week, as he is on a great run of form once again.
2nd at the Farmers, 20th at the Waste Management, and 10th last week in Bay Hill, Bradley has been consistently one of the better players each week, with his missed cut at Riviera both surprising and his only recent blemish. This is a good course for him, and he is confident and playing well, so I love everything about Bradley’s chances this week.
Another Outsider: Shane Lowry @ 40/1 with Bet365
Shane Lowry suffered on Saturday last week, but other than that he played pretty solidly at Bay Hill, which is important as it is not a course he typically enjoys, and a missed cut would have been no surprise.
The Players Championship is a different story though, as he’s finished 8th, 13th, and 16th here in the past, and his form at the Honda Classic (5th) and Riviera (14th) suggests he’s ready to go well on a course he likes once again.
When playing here for just the second time, Lowry finished in 16th, but he was 2nd at the halfway stage, and a tough weekend just held him back. Lowry was also 3rd after round one here two years ago as well, so he knows what it is like to be in contention on this course, on the biggest of stages.
A former major winner, Lowry will surely step up to the occasion if his ball striking leads him to be in contention this weekend, and I trust him to put a tough finish at Bay Hill behind him and jump straight back to the first page of the leaderboard here. Lowry has finished 3rd at the RBC Heritage, and 4th at the PGA Championship which was held at Kiawah Island two years ago, and these two instances, plus his form here, suggest he likes Pete Dye designs and should relish another week playing one of his courses.