The PGA Tour season starts here! Barry Plummer has everything you need to know about the so-called fifth major at TPC Sawgrass, including his three big picks
Well, I can’t quite believe it, but it happened again. Horschel goes out in the final group on Sunday and ends up coming home as our second consecutive runner-up. If it wasn’t The Players this week, I think I would be a lot more glum about our luck of late but I cannot help but be excited for my favourite event outside the majors. Having analysed the field, I have picked out three players who I fancy to etch their name into the history books at TPC Sawgrass. But before I get into my free golf betting tips…
The Players Championship details
Venue: TPC Sawgrass (Stadium course), Florida
Date: March 10-13, 2021
Course stats: Par 72; 7,189 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 Sawgrass are relatively small, and often very fast, increasing the importance of accurate approach play.
Purse: $20 million
Defending champion: Justin Thomas (-14)
The Players Championship TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 11.30am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 11.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 8.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 11.30am and Sky Sports Main Event from 8pm
So who will win the 2022 Players Championship?
The Players Championship golf betting tips
Bazza’s Banker: Collin Morikawa – 5pt win @ 14/1 with Bet365
Morikawa’s form on the PGA Tour is, quite frankly scary. Five starts this season have yielded a top-7 finish. Four of those five starts ended with a top-5 and twice he has been runner-up. That kind of consistency at the highest level is exactly why I can see him winning the Players Championship, and despite him being a co-favourite I can’t resist making him my banker.
Morikawa finished 41st on his only appearance here so far, and will surely have learned a lot from the experience. The American also has a win to his name in Florida, taking the title at the WGC-Workday Championship in 2021. His stats paint an appealing picture, ranking 2nd for both Greens-in-Regulation and Fairways Hit on the PGA Tour.
His ball striking can propel him to the top of this leaderboard, and if we get a hot week with the putter we could be cashing in come Sunday.
The Each-Way Play: Viktor Hovland – 3pts e/w @ 20/1 with Bet365
While this is an each-way bet, Hovland could quite easily have been my banker.
Similarly to Morikawa, the Norwegian has been in sublime form recently with a win, two runner-up finishes and two top-5s in his last five events. A missed cut in last year’s edition will have been disappointing, but at such a young age he will need to learn the hard way that TPC Sawgrass is no playground.
In the last three months, Hovland ranks 6th for SG: Approach and 15th for SG: Off-the-Tee, both of which are key measures for success here.
His solid performance at a tough PGA National last week should put him in a great position to slog this out, and with an incredibly mature outlook on his golf I can see him relishing the chance to take this huge event.
The Longshot: Tyrrell Hatton – 2pts e/w @ 50/1 with Bet365
How can anyone not be pleased to see Hatton getting back to his best?
On the course, the Englishman is a natural entertainer, and it was his golf that did the talking last week when runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A surge on Sunday in tough conditions was impressive, and had it not been for the 78 on Saturday he would be arriving at TPC Sawgrass with another PGA Tour title.
Three top-6 finishes in his last four events suggests he arrives in great form, and despite some poor previous finishes at TPC Sawgrass I see him continuing to kick on into majors season.
The flatstick was a real weapon for Hatton last week, and that is no surprise when you consider that he ranks 1st for SG: Putting in the last three months. If that can continue, along with the sort of play that sees him rank 26th for SG: Tee-to-Green, he could be a sneaky contender to steal the show on Sunday.
For more prices, visit the Bet365 golf page.