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THE PLAYERS Championship 2023: Odds to win

With THE PLAYERS Championship just a few days' away, we look at some of the frontrunners at TPC Sawgrass.

THE PLAYERS Championship, first played in 1974, has been won by countless greats of the game, with another player looking to add their name to the illustrious list in March.

With the tournament getting underway on Thursday, we look at some of the frontrunners.

THE PLAYERS Championship odds

Rory McIlroy

9/1

After Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy is perhaps the best golfer in the world, and 2022 was another banner year for the Northern Irishman.

In 23 starts, he missed just two cuts, recorded 19 top-20 finishes, 15 top-10s and an incredible 12 top-5s, perhaps more impressive than his three wins.

McIlroy was in the top 10 in all four majors and the top five in three, and but for Scottie Scheffler lapping the field on Friday at the Masters, could have found himself in with a real chance of a first Green Jacket.

He's not quite as accurate as he was off the tee, but still hits it miles, and has a much-improved short game which could see him contend once again at Sawgrass.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T33-CUT-1-CUT-T35
 

Jon Rahm

10/1

The standout golfer in the world at the moment, Jon Rahm heads the betting. Over the last 12 months, there's little to choose between Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler, but over the last few months, Rahm has accelerated past both.

The Spaniard was ousted from the world number 1 spot by Scottie Scheffler before enduring an underwhelming summer, failing to register a top 10 in any majors, but he had a tremendous resurgence at the end of the season and has started 2023 in a similar vein. 

He recorded top-10 finishes at the FedEx St Jude Championship and the BMW Championship, won the Open de Espana and DP World Tour Championship, before starting his 2023 with back-to-back wins at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the American Express, then winning the Genesis Invitational.

Sawgrass poses a true all-round test to players, and Rahm may be the most all-round golfer in the world, however that is yet to truly show itself at THE PLAYERS.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T55-T9-T12-T63-T72
 

Scottie Scheffler

10/1

Rounding off the world's top three is Scottie Scheffler.

In the span of three years, Scheffler went from the Korn Ferry Tour Rookie and Player of the Year to PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year to PGA TOUR Player of the Year. He'd also gone on an incredible winning run, claiming four tournaments, including his first WGC and major, in the space of two months before being narrowly ousted at the TOUR Championship by Rory McIlroy.

He has little experience around Sawgrass, but is one of the very few players who is both long and straight off the tee, while being strong both on and around the greens. With no weakness in his game, there's little reason to think Scheffler won't be in the mix this year.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T55-CUT-DNP-DNP-DNP
 

Patrick Cantlay

16/1

Considering his ability, Patrick Cantlay may be one of the most confusing golfers in the world. He’s long – and straight – off the tee, an excellent iron player and a strong putter with an above-average short game. 

Yet he only has eight wins from 120 starts, three major top-10s in 22 starts and his record at TPC Sawgrass leaves lots to be desired. 

The 2021 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and FedEx Cup winner, there’s no doubting Cantlay’s talent, but he’s still to prove it on the biggest stages.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

CUT-CUT-CUT-T23-T22
 

Justin Thomas

20/1

The 2021 PLAYERS champion, thanks in part to that white-knuckle tee shot on the 72nd hole, will head to Sawgrass as one of the best players in the world and has every chance of repeating his success of two years ago.

Justin Thomas heads the chasing pack behind the best three golfers in the world and is showing signs of improvement after a mixed 2022.

The first six months of the year saw Thomas record four top-fives in 13 starts with three more top-10s as well as a second major win at the PGA Championship. Thomas's form tailed off in the second half of the year however, with just one top-10 at the season-ending TOUR Championship, and he'll be keen to recapture his best form ahead of the March showpiece.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T33-1-T35-T11-T75
 

Max Homa

20/1

After bouncing between the Korn Ferry and PGA TOUR for a number of years, Max Homa finally got his big break in 2019, holding off the likes of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick to secure a maiden win at the Wells Fargo Championship.

It took another two years for Homa to establish enough consistency to break into the world’s top 50, with a spot in the top 20 coming the year after. 

Finally showing that he was so much more than an entertaining Twitter personality, 2022 saw Homa capture another Wells Fargo Championship, as well as finishing in the top five at the TOUR Championship, and securing a place on the Presidents Cup team, where Homa won all four of his matches.

A solid all-round golfer, Homa would need a good week, but THE PLAYERS is certainly within his reach.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T13-CUT-DNP-DNP-DNP
 

Collin Morikawa

22/1

Collin Morikawa spent the summer of 2022 trying to work out why his natural fade had suddenly turned into a draw, and for a spell, the world’s best iron player had his most potent weapon weakened.

For the first time since bursting onto the PGA TOUR in 2020, Morikawa went a calendar year without a win, and in 19 starts managed only six top-10s.

His poor putting and short game hold him back from being even better than he already is, but on the weeks when his putter and wedges are on song, he typically finds himself in contention. His last eight tournaments where he’s gained strokes putting and around the green have seen him finish 5th, 5th, 5th, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 4th and 2nd.

His lack of experience at Sawgrass may be a disadvantage this year, but it’s hard to see a golfer of his ability not winning THE PLAYERS eventually.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

CUT-T41-DNP-DNP-DNP
 

Xander Schauffele

25/1

One of the best all-round and consistent golfers in the world, Xander Schauffele hasn’t been ranked outside the world’s top 15 since 2018, and has spent most of that time in the top 10.

There is no weakness to the 29-year-old’s game, which makes his record at Sawgrass all the more baffling. 

There’s a bit of Rickie Fowler in Schauffele, in that he’s got a strong all-round game, has regularly placed well the majors, but is yet to get over the line, and he’s certainly amongst the best players in the world not to have won one.

Despite an underwhelming year in the big four, with one missed cut and no top-10s, Schauffele won the Zurich Classic with Patrick Cantlay before going back-to-back at the Travelers Championship and the Scottish Open.

He’s certainly got the game for Sawgrass, perhaps evidenced by his runner-up finish on debut, but his string of MCs since raise doubts.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

MC-MC-MC-2-DNP
 

Viktor Hovland

25/1

The always-smiling Norwegian has one of the best long games in the world, but is so often let down by an extremely weak short game. 

It’s no surprise his best tournament around the green was at St. Andrews at last year’s Open, where the massive contouring greens meant players typically putted from fairways rather than chipped. 

Hovland was actually the leading player from tee-to-green at TPC Sawgrass last year but was let down but a sub-standard short game. 

But so good is he off the tee and on approach that he can contend anywhere, and if he can have just an average week around the greens, he should have every chance.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T9-CUT-DNP-DNP-DNP
 

Tony Finau

28/1

While many golfers are given the backhanded compliment of being one of the best players in the world without a major, for a long time, Tony Finau was – by some distance – the best player not to win a ‘proper’ PGA TOUR event. But for the alternate 2016 Puerto Rico Open and the 2021 Northern Trust – itself not a full-field event – Finau spent years winless.

Eventually he won the 3M Open, and sure enough, followed it up the following week with a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

A strong end to 2022 and an equally strong start to 2023 sets up an intriguing year for one of the most likeable players on tour, who's posted top-20 finishes in all five starts this year.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

CUT-CUT-T22-T57-CUT
 

Will Zalatoris

33/1

Despite his slender build, Will Zalatoris has quickly established himself as one of the longest hitters on the PGA TOUR. Coupled with his laser-sharp iron play, and Zalatoris found himself firmly ensconced in the world’s top 10 for much of 2022 and is showing no signs of leaving. 

Zalatoris burst onto the scene in 2021 after a top-10 finish at the 2020 US Open, following that with two more major top 10s, and only his Special Temporary Membership (rather than full PGA TOUR Membership) prevented him from appearing at the FedEx Cup. 

Zalatoris’s relationship with the FedEx Cup soured further in 2022 when he had to withdraw from the BMW Championship with a back injury, the effects of which he seems to be over, working out a new swing. 

He’s still fairly new to Sawgrass, but will be encouraged by his two respectable finishes in Florida.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T26-T17-DNP-DNP-DNP
 

Matthew Fitzpatrick

35/1

There was no doubting Matt Fitzpatrick’s ability on and around the green, nor his accuracy no matter what club he had in hand. The clear barrier to Fitzpatrick fulfilling his potential was his lack of distance.

But a new training regime saw Fitzpatrick gain around 15 yards off the tee, suddenly flying past competitors.

Thankfully, the rest of his game didn’t suffer for it, and he was rewarded with a first major at the 2022 US Open. 

However, his form at THE PLAYERS has been patchy in the past, and his form in 2023 has left lots to be desired with two missed cuts in his three full-field starts.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

CUT-T9-T41-T46-CUT
 

Sungjae Im

35/1

One of the busiest players on Tour, Sungjae Im started 35 tournaments in 2019 and 2021, not even finding himself a permanent home in the United States until 2020.

A PGA TOUR winner in 2020 and 2021, Im was winless last year, but did record three runner-up finishes, including at the season-ending TOUR Championship. He's started 2023 well with a top-20 finish, a top-10 finish and a top-5 finish, and could thrive in a ball striker's paradise.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T55-T17-CUT-DNP-DNP
 

Tom Kim

35/1

The golfer formerly known as Kim Joo-hyung experienced a breakthrough year in 2022, stealing the show – despite being on the losing side – at the Presidents Cup. So impressive was the 20-year-old, it was easy to forget how young he still is.

Now better known as Tom Kim, the South Korean made his first splash on the PGA TOUR last August at the Wyndham Championship, incredibly carding a quadruple bogey 8 on his very first hole of the tournament before going on to win by five.

Though not the longest of hitters, he makes up for it with accuracy both off the tee and with an iron, and it will be fascinating to see how he fares on his maiden appearance at TPC Sawgrass.
 

Jordan Spieth

35/1

Will we ever see the 2015 Jordan Spieth again? Failing that, the 2017 version? Well, we came very close in 2021. After falling to a career-low of 92nd in the world with a missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, something clicked with Spieth. 

Across his next 15 starts, he posted 13 top 20s, seven top-5s and recorded his first win since The Open in 2017.

We still see glimpses of the Spieth of old, winning the RBC Heritage last year with two more runner-up finishes, but TPC Sawgrass is a venue that’s never quite seemed to fit the 29-year-old’s eye, and mixed form of CUT-T63-T6-CUT doesn't inspire too much confidence.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

CUT-T48-CUT-T41-CUT
 

Shane Lowry

45/1

Shane Lowry was undoubtedly one of the best players of the last 18 months, which perhaps made his winless streak that bit more frustrating.

The Irishman finished in the top three on three occasions – including at the Masters – eventually snapping his streak at the BMW PGA Championship. 

Despite winning two of the DP World Tour’s flagship events in the PGA and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – not to mention the 2019 Open – Lowry’s sole win in America was way back at the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone, though he does possess the game to go well at Sawgrass.

His big dip in form is a concern, though he may have turned a corner with his T14 finish at the Genesis Invitational.

Last five finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent first):

T13-8-CUT-T46-CUT
 

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