The PLAYERS Championship Analysis and Breakdown

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Course: Sawgrass Stadium Course

Par: 72

Yardage 7,189

Greenery: Bermuda Mixture

Previous Winners: McIlroy (2019), Simpson (2018), Si-Woo Kim (2017), Day (2016), Fowler (2015)

Course Comparables: Sedgefield CC (Wyndham Championship)

Welcome gang! We’re back in Florida this week for the prestigious Players Championship. Last week, we had an exciting finish with big bad Bryson Dechambeau picking up another career win at Bay Hill. The conditions were quite tough on Sunday, resulting in only a few golfers finishing with under par scores.

This week should see less of the treacherous and a lot lower scoring. For the unfamiliar, TPC Sawgrass features one of the most well-known holes on tour: the island par 3 on 17. This Pete Dye design doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all to success here, but the most prominent markers of success are keeping the ball dry, hitting your short irons and wedges, and some heat with the putter. This is one of the least useful tracks for course history due to the amount of water hazards, making success a bit more random year to year. For instance, when Webb Simpson won he gained almost ten strokes putting and over five around the greens while losing strokes to the field on approach. So the strategy this week is going to be: FADE THE CHALK. Seriously. Outside of the top end guys, there’s no reason to play a 7k player at 15% or higher. They could hit two water balls and sink your lineups before the weekend.

Starting at the top of the board, it seems like no one is hemorrhaging too much in the ownership department. I will likely fade this range but I don’t mind Jon Rahm as my one play in the five digits. He’s the most accurate bomber on tour (relative) and can win with his game at 75%. The fact of the matter is you can make an argument for all of these guys and they all appear to be lower owned than some of the 9k guys.

Accuracy off the tee? Long Par 4 proficiency? This sounds like the calling card of one Collin Morikawa. He’s easily my favorite player in this 9k range and he’s the one guy I won’t worry about the ownership. Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay are going to be very chalky, but for good reason. If one of those guys tickles your fancy, go for it. They’re both amazing approach and around the green players that can get the putters scorching at any given event. The ultimate pivot is going to be Patrick Reed. He missed the cut at a course that doesn’t really suit his game the best and now no one wants him at a course that suits his game a whole lot better. He’s also won the Wyndham Championship before, which is our course comparable this week.

Call me a madman this week if you like, but I am going on to Jordan Spieth this week. The irons are absolutely en fuego and nobody wants to give him a shot still. He will end being the lowest owned player in the 8s besides Matt Fitzpatrick. Speaking of Fitzy, TPC Sawgrass fits him very well if we are looking for accuracy mavens that can get the putter rolling. How these two will be the lowest owned in this range is beyond my understanding. I also love Adam Scott at this price. He’s someone that can pop up anywhere with his amazing tee-to-green game and has shown us, of late, that he can get hot with the putter as well. I’ve already bet him 90/1 which feels like an absolute joke of a number. The chalk in this range is going to be Paul Casey which should be an easy fade for me. I think it’s smart to pivot to someone with half of his ownership and hope he loses five strokes putting by the end of Friday, a possible outcome for Casey surely. 

In this upper 7k range, Joaquin Niemann, Will Zalatoris, and Abraham Ancer are taking a high majority of the clicks. These are three quality golfers that are priced this low due to the high end field we have, but they all come with their own flaws. I prefer Niemann of the three but they’re all fine plays. Billy Horschel is coming off an unusual missed cut for him where he lost almost three strokes putting in two rounds. For someone that’s had some solid success at the Wyndham and projecting less than five percent ownership, I think Billy Ho is a solid play this week. I also love Cam Smith as a pivot as he transcends into the next stage of his career. 7900 is too cheap for a guy that can actually win a tournament like this. Francesco Molinari is also well suited for an accuracy track like this. He has three top tens in his last five tournaments and ranks inside the top 25 in long Par 4s. If you want a 1% bullet with some horrible recent form and top five upside, Marc Leishman can be had but could easily end up with some massive numbers due to his inaccurate driving ability.

Down into this lower 7k range, we have Corey Conners and Cameron Tringale amassing the most ownership. I think both can be faded but if you have to pick one, Conners is much preferred to Tringale. Long term, he’s a better golfer and is elite at keeping it in the fairway. If we’re talking about accuracy and hot putting, Kevin Na deserves a mention. 7300 is too paltry for the upside he possesses. Another player with good history at the Wyndham (and RBC Heritage which is almost identical to Wyndham) who lost over five strokes putting in two rounds with positive ball striking and garnering less than one or two percent ownership is Shane Lowry. I’m going to have him in at least one of my lines this week. 

In the 6k range, Keegan Bradley and Emiliano Grillo seem to be the chalk this week. This is about as easy of a fade as it gets as both are horrendous putters and can knock themselves out with just the flat stick. Henrik Norlander popped a fair bit in the model. He’s an accurate ball striker with a quality short iron approach game. Bernd Wiesberger is back in the field and, by law, I have to play him. Whether that’s good or bad will be unknown until Sunday (hopefully not Friday). Down the range a bit, C.T. Pan and Doug Ghim both catch my eye as strong punts. Both are excellent iron players but Pan lacks accuracy off the tee and Ghim is not great around the greens. Nonetheless, all we need from this range is a made cut.

Thanks for reading guys! Let’s see some green this week!