Golfstradamus: The Players Championship

Hello, friends and degenerates! The penultimate stop on the PGA Tour’s Florida swing is up next: The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. 

Now, I’m not going to lie to you, dear readers, this is the most difficult tournament of the year to predict. Fortunately, you’ve got me. And me on an off week is still better than you on an on week. 

The Players Championship has treated golf nuts like you and me to some of the best drama of the entire year. It’s also given us some of the least likely winners in recent memory. There are no amateurs in this field so, unlike the Masters, there’s no one you can automatically write off. 

Simply put, The Players is chaos… beautiful, frustrating chaos. 

With all that stacked against us, ole No. 1 still expects to beat the odds and cash in. Here’s a look at your can’t-miss, no-doubt, sure-fire, mortal locks for golf’s fifth major.

The Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass – Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
March 14 – 17, 2019

ODDS to Win:
Dustin Johnson 12/1
Rory McIlroy 12/1
Justin Thomas 16/1
Justin Rose 20/1
Rickie Fowler 20/1
Brooks Koepka 20/1
Francesco Molinari 20/1
Jon Rahm 25/1
Tiger Woods 25/1
Bryson DeChambeau 25/1
Tommy Fleetwood 25/1
Xander Schauffele 25/1
Sergio Garcia 30/1
Jason Day 30/1
Hideki Matsuyama 30/1
Paul Casey 40/1
Patrick Cantlay 40/1
Tony Finau 40/1
Adam Scott 40/1
Matt Kuchar 40/1
Webb Simpson 40/1
Jordan Spieth 50/1
Marc Leishman 50/1
Ian Poulter 50/1
Rafael Cabrera Bello 50/1
Gary Woodland 50/1
Henrik Stenson 50/1
Phil Mickelson 60/1
Patrick Reed 60/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 60/1
Keegan Bradley 60/1
Si Woo Kim 60/1
Louis Oosthuizen 60/1
Charles Howell III 60/1
Lucas Glover 50/1
Cameron Smith 80/1
Billy Horschel 80/1
Bubba Watson 80/1
Tyrrell Hatton 80/1
Byeong Hun An 80/1
Matt Wallace 80/1
Kevin Kisner 80/1
Sungjae Im 80/1
Alex Noren 80/1
Zach Johnson 100/1
Keith Mitchell 100/1
Jason Kokrak 100/1
Luke List 100/1
Adam Hadwin 100/1
Charl Schwartzel 100/1
Haotong Li 125/1
Branden Grace 125/1
Brandt Snedeker 125/1
Ryan Palmer 125/1
Daniel Berger 125/1
Emiliano Grillo 125/1
Jim Furyk 125/1
Russell Knox 125/1
Cameron Champ 150/1
Aaron Wise 150/1
J.B. Holmes 150/1
Martin Kaymer 150/1
Shane Lowry 150/1
Ryan Moore 150/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 150/1
Beau Hossler 150/1
Russell Henley 150/1
Chez Reavie 150/1
Michael Thompson 150/1
Charley Hoffman 150/1
Kevin Na 150/1
Jimmy Walker 150/1
Scott Piercy 200/1
Thorbjorn Olesen 200/1
Lucas Bjerregaard 200/1
Kevin Tway 250/1
Danny Willett 250/1
Eddie Pepperell 250/1
Jason Dufner 250/1
Field (all others) 12/1

Mortal Locks

Rory McIlroy — I’m sure I’ll get crucified for this, but I believe in Rory McIlroy this week. His play in early part of the PGA Tour season has been incredible. If he were anyone but Rory McIlroy, we’d have nothing but good things to say. For anyone talking about him giving away the AP Invitational last week, shut it. Did you see what Francesco Molinari did? He took it from everyone else. Do Rors recent Sunday performances make me a little nervous? Sure — but it’s not like he’s collapsed. At 12/1, he’s the co-favorite with Dustin Johnson. 

Brooks Koepka — It’s not too often you can find Brooks Koepka getting 20/1 or better money anymore — so when he is gettin that kind of action, you better be paying attention. Yes, I’ve heard about his track record at Sawgrass. I know he’s never had a top-10 here blah blah blah. Brooks Koepka is getting 20/1 money in a crown jewel PGA Tour event being held at a track where he holds the course record: Please sir, I’ll have some more. 

Best Bets

Tommy Fleetwood — I spent most of last week cursing my crystal brain for failing to spot Tommy Fleetwood. Of course, he didn’t win so it was fine (someone else I missed did, which was not fine), but any idiot can see that Fleetwood is just heating up. This week, the Englishman is getting 25/1 money. That’s a terrific return on investment for a guy who is going to win and win soon. 

Henrik Stenson — Sometimes I think that bookies just run an algorithm on the Google machine to see who the most talked about golfers are the week preceding an event and then give them the worst odds. That’s the only way I can explain a guy like Henrik Stenson getting 50/1 money this week. Last I checked, bookies don’t like losing — and this presents an opportunity for them to do so in a large way. A winner here in 2009, the Iceman has collected nine top-25 finishes in 13 career starts. If you’re not starting Stenson this week, you’re a foolish human being. 

Fun Under $5

Michael Thompson — There’s absolutely nothing suggesting Michael Thompson will win The Players this week. Then again, there was absolutely nothing that suggested Si-Woo Kim was going to win in 2017. There was nothing that suggested Stephen Ames was going to win in 2006. There was nothing that suggested Craig Perks was going to win in 2002. See what I’m getting at? At 150/1, why not? You can literally throw a buck on anyone at 100/1 or worse and I’d shrug my shoulders and agree with you. That’s what The Players can do. 

There you have it, friends and degenerates. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go pick up my new set of Honma golf clubs and personalized iron covers. 

Until next time, go and choose wisely…