Betting tips: Can Phil Mickelson be a Player yet again?
He hasn’t won a tournament for three years and has endured a torrid time at Sawgrass in that period but I can’t help but be tempted by the 50/1 on Phil Mickelson to win the Players’ Championship.
Rory McIlroy may have taken many of the headlines with a blistering final round charge at Quail Hollow last week but the American matched him shot for shot on the last day.
Having left Butch Harmon at the end of last year, the 45-year-old has looked revitalised. He should have won at Pebble Beach earlier in the season.
Barring a final hole disaster in the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship, he would have been right in the mix last week as well.
As it was, he finished tied 4th with McIlroy and has repeatedly said he feels his best is very close.
Mickelson leads the PGA Tour’s scoring average at a shade over 69.5 and has top 10 stats in strokes gained tee-to-green, putting, strokes gained total and birdie average.
Although his recent record at Sawgrass – three missed cuts – hardly inspires confidence, he has won the event in 2007 and looks a lively each way play for the week. 6/4 for a top 20 finish is definitely my kind of bet.
Course and distance
Sergio Garcia looks a bit on the short side at 28/1 but you can’t dispute his wonderful record at Sawgrass.
Having lost in a playoff last year to Fowler, the Spaniard can also look back fondly at a victory in 2008 among four top five finishes and seven top 20s.
His last three showings read 2-3-8. Form has been sketchy for the Ryder Cup mainstay this season but he bounced back from a dismal third round 81 at the Masters by finishing third in the Spanish Open at Valderrama – a tournament he hosted.
Fourth on the PGA Tour in greens in regulation this season, you always know that if he can overcome his putting issues for one week he will definitely contend.
On a course he undoubtedly loves, even money on a top 20 finish hardly looks the worst price.
McIlroy’s late charge at Quail Hollow sees him a solid 8/1 favourite with the oddsmakers but, with the Northern Irishman still searching for consistency, he’s short enough in the market.
It’s Jordan Spieth’s first competitive outing since blowing up at the Masters and we won’t see what scars that meltdown has left until he is in contention again.
He does have a top 5 finish to his name at Sawgrass, in 2014, but a missed cut last year – admittedly when everyone in the world wanted a piece of him after taking the green jacket – means I won’t be backing him at 11/1.
And if Mickelson isn’t your cup of tea at around the 50/1 mark then you could do worse than invest a couple of pounds on Branden Grace.
The South African has already stood on the winners’ podium this season and was 9th last time out at the Texas Open. Rested after a busy couple of weeks, he looks a player that is regularly going to be in the mix.