THE PLAYERS Championship Preview
Times “The 5th Major” is said during the national broadcast – 562 (75% said as they go to commercial breaks)
Times “The Strongest Field in Golf” is said during the national broadcast – 2,987,654
TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Par 72 (4 Par 5s!!!), 7,189 Yards
Architect: Pete Dye
Scoring Average: +.01/Round
Projected Cut: +1
The big news is this tournament is now in March. While the course may play slightly easier due to the move, the wind tends to blow a different direction than it does in May, meaning course history may play a bit less of a factor than normal. The grass will be also be overseeded to prevent patchy conditions before the Bermuda grows in. Overall, TPC Sawgrass is an awesome test of golf, and all different types of PLAYERS (get it) have fared well here. There’s a ton of water on the finishing holes and everyone finishing late on Sunday will be tasked with hitting the iconic island green on #17.
The greens are also notoriously fast here, often reading 13+ on the Stimpmeter. They will be slightly slower this year due to the overseeding but are still grading out around 12.5 (anything over 12 is FAST). The wind is also going to blow in the teens all four days, so we’ll see plenty of splooshes on #17. Bottom line, it’s going to be a good watch.
This tournament is pretentiously called THE PLAYERS, so THE PLAYERS should PLAY, right? I’ll say it one last time here, but this is the best field men’s professional golf gets all year. The other majors have a bunch of geriatric former winners and prepubescent amateurs you can cross off the list before the event begins, but the golfer with the worst odds at THE PLAYERS is Michael Kim, and he won the John Deere last year. So yeah, every great player is playing and the bottom tier actually has a shot (not really but more so than usual).
Like any strong-field event, there are probably 15-20 guys in real contention, and the rest will need a fantastic ballstriking/putting week to win. I’m going to roll with Justin Rose this week, mainly because I picked him in the PGA Tour Preview and I just drew him out of a hat. Really though he checks all the boxes you want here: awesome driver, ballstriker, scrambler (though that could be somewhat negated with the fast greens) and putter. What you want here is someone with an all-around game where if something fails he can make it up in other areas.
Losing DraftKings/FanDuel Lineup:
Good luck and happy golfing!