The PGA Tour doesn’t do things by halves. It is the undisputed number one professional tour in the world and as you would expect it hosts an absolutely top class flagship event. The Players Championship is variously described as golf’s fifth major and the best field in the sport. This year 46 of the world’s top 50 players have made the trip to Florida for a crack at TPC Sawgrass.
Sawgrass was designed by the legendary course designer Pete Dye. The par 72 measures 7,215 yards and while it is far from the longest challenge on the PGA Tour it is one of the very best. Dye was asked to create one of the most balanced tests of golf in the world and his planning paid off. No two holes run in the same direction making it incredibly hard to read the wind and there are doglegs which require the players to move the ball both ways. It is hard to pull out any one key stat that at Sawgrass but in general, hitting good approach shots to the small greens is important.
The galleries will be spoilt for choice for players to follow around this week but there will be as much interest in Jordan Spieth as anybody else. The world number two has not played a professional event since falling apart so dramatically at the Masters in April and there is much speculation about whether or not he can put that disappointment behind him. It would be fitting for the ultra-competitive Spieth to shut the critics up in style by beating finishing at the top of this amazingly talented field. When you talk about an all-round game, Spieth is right up there and at odds of 10/1 with Ladbrokes he looks like the man to beat.
If Spieth is to win he is going to have to overcome the challenge of one of his great mates, Rickie Fowler. When the 27-year-old turned up to TPC Sawgrass last season he had just been voted as one of the PGA Tour’s most overrated players in a poll of his fellow pros. Nobody was calling him overrated after he won via a playoff after one of the best finishes to a golf event of all time. He’s had some very poor finishes when in contention since that day but he’ll be full of confidence and looks like value at 20/1 with Bet365.
Just below the real elite level players in the field this week sit a whole host of players looking to bag a really big win. One of those is Branden Grace. The South African has won plenty of tournaments including the RBC Heritage a few weeks ago and he is well placed to grab the biggest win of his career at the Players. He’s got all the strengths that you would want of a player tipped to do well around TPC Sawgrass and at odds of 50/1 with Bet365, Grace looks very much over priced for an each way bet.