The Players Championship, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Purse: $9,500,000
early odds on the exchanges
Luke Donald 17/1
Since 2003 the average number of times a player competed at Sawgrass before winning is eight. This year marks Donald’s tenth start with bests of a tied second in 2005 and tied fourth last year. Donald comes back this week after a weeks rest and hoping to continue his good recent run which includes a win at the Transitions and third last time out in New Orleans. Will Donald be back at World Number One this time next week in the ping pong game that is the World Golf Rankings.
Jason Day 40/1
Almost the forgotten young gun of late with Rickie Fowler winning in Charlotte and Rory McIlroy once again taking over at world number one but Jason Day has been quietly going about his business and is primed to strike. Tied for ninth last week in his first tournament back since injuring his left ankle and having to withdraw at The Masters. Finished strongly last year with a Sunday 68 to tie for sixth and has the character to contend in marquee events such as this.
Francesco Molinari 80/1
The Stadium Course at Sawgrass is a ball striker’s course with a roll of honour including names such as Mickelson, Garcia, Clark and Choi. For me Francesco Molinari is Europe’s best iron player and were it not for his erratic putting would be in contention far more often. The Italian however showed some flat blade prowess last week winning in a canter in Seville and by his own admission loves Sawgrass. Top tenned here in 2010 and is my nap of the week.
Ben Curtis 140/1
Sawgrass rewards greens in regulation merchants and those who keep their ball in play with shorter guys like Toms, Choi and Tim Clark all excelling here in the recent past. The form man in that bracket according to the PGA Tour’s stats is Ben Curtis who last week in Charlotte added another top five finish to his win in Texas. What a whirlwind few weeks it has been for Curtis and on another Pete Dye layout this week its time to “make hay while the sun shines”!
Best Of The Rest
Nick Watney 38/1 came off a missed cut at the Zurich Classic to shoot 68, 64 in the opening rounds at Quail Hollow last week but didn’t match it at the weekend with 72, 74 dropping him down to 8th place. That should boost his confidence heading into Sawgrass where he shot 64 last year on Thursday on his way to tying fourth. Not the most reliable form wise but worth circling with your biro.
JB Holmes 130/1 is another man who tends to punch above his weight in this event with three top 10’s here in the last four years and is sure to be decent odds across the bookies this week after a Sunday 77 last week sent him sliding down the leaderboard. Tied sixth last year and third in 2010.
You cant help but feel for Henrik Stenson 120/1 who continues to battle with his game. The 2009 winner has strung some good rounds together at Bay Hill and Houston and even made a cameo at the Masters but hasn’t managed to hold it together for four rounds on the big stage of late. The Swede however retains one of the best Sawgrass records in the field and would really be a long odds glory shot.