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Brooks Koepka

The Players Championship betting tips: Outright

Back in its traditional March date after a 12-year gap, The Players kicks off the PGA Tour’s revamped season of championships. But who is going to lift the new gold trophy? Steve Carroll marks your card
 

Venue: TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Date: March 14-17, 2019

Course stats: Par 72, 7,189 yards

Course summary: Although the Stadium Course is renowned for its spectacular finish, and particularly the 17th, there’s much more to this resort-style parkland than just the back three. It gets particularly tricky during the middle part of the front nine but players who can get through the turn intact have the chance to pick up some shots before the climax.

tpc sawgrass

The move back to March will have an effect – with cooler temperatures and more wind than you’d normally see in the spring. That should mean the 17th proves much trickier. The entire course has been overseeded with ryegrass over the past few months so you’ll see the layout looking lusher than ever before. Players will probably have to club up with the ball not running as far as previously.

Purse: $12.5 million

Defending champion: Webb Simpson (-18).

Weather forecast: Sunny and comfortable on Thursday, with temperatures maxing out at 24 degrees. It’ll get hotter on Friday and into the weekend.

TV coverage

Tuesday: Live from The Players, Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 1pm

Wednesday: Live from The Players, Sky Sports Golf and Main event, 1pm; The Players – On The Range, Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 5.30pm.

Thursday: The Players – Featured Groups, Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 11.30am; Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 5pm

Friday: The Players – Featured Groups, Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 11.39am; Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 5pm

Saturday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 6pm

Sunday: Sky Sports Golf, 5pm; Sky Sports Main Event, 7pm

The Players Championship betting tips: Each-way picks

The Players Championship betting tips

Lucas Glover continued his impressive season with another top 10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and, with some firms paying as many as 10 places this week, he looks a very attractive bet at 70/1.

The former US Open champion hit every fairway in his final round at Bay Hill and didn’t miss within 10 feet with the flatstick in a final day 69.

Following a top five at the Honda Classic, where he drained a nerveless putt at the last to put the pressure on the leaders, and a top 10 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it looks like a fourth PGA Tour victory might not be too far away.

In fact, outside of a missed cut at the Pheonix Open, Glover has finished inside the top 20 in every one of his nine events this season.

Sixth at Sawgrass in 2017 and third in 2010, it’s not unreasonable to expect he could deliver another good week on a course that demands accuracy. Sixteenth on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green and 17th in approach-the-green suggests quite a lot is in his favour.

The Players Championship betting tips

Ian Poulter revitalised his career when runner-up to Si Woo Kim at Sawgrass two years ago and the Englishman is once again on my shortlist at 70/1.

Poulter was also on the podium in 2009 and 11th last year so, after an impressive start to 2019, I like his chances on a course that you can’t simply slay with big hitting.

After a week off, Poulter had a gentle reintroduction with a top 25 at Bay Hill. On the back of his tied 3rd in Mexico, and impressive displays in the Middle East, I’d be surprised if he wasn’t at least threatening the top 10.

Jim Furyk says this is the first time in a couple of years he is playing without any injury concerns. It’s showing as well. Consider that he has come off two years as Ryder Cup captain – usually the death knell for any golfer in his late 40s – and has posted three top 20s since his return.

Tied ninth last time out at the Honda Classic, where his weekend consisted of impressive rounds of 68 and 67, Furyk also had a very nice week in difficult conditions at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The Players Championship betting tips

Furyk is a veteran of Sawgrass and can remember the feel and conditions of playing this tournament in March. He lives a pitching wedge away from the club in Ponte Vedra Beach and was second as recently as 2014.

He hasn’t done much since but combine his new found fitness with his grit and determination, as well as his recent form, and 150/1 looks huge.

Another big hitter at a three-figure price, who has been creeping back into form, is Charl Schwartzel.

Charl Schwartzel's putter

The South African was one of Webb Simpson’s closest challengers last year – albeit still four strokes adrift in tied second. He has struggled for consistency since, which is probably why he’s available at 110/1, but he was sixth in Puerto Rico when everyone else was sunning themselves in Mexico.

He followed that with a top 20 at the Honda Classic and will merit a speculative pound of my cash.

So that’s who Steve reckons can fill the places. But who is going to lift the new trophy at The Players? Turn the page to find out…

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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