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THE PLAYERS Championship: Ben Everill's preview

Pete Dye’s sometimes diabolical 7,275 yards at TPC Sawgrass, will play host to a field of 144 competing for their share of a $25 million purse. 

The winner will get $4.5 million from that pool, plus 600 FedExCup points. 

While THE PLAYERS has been contested at TPC Sawgrass since 1982 we have to take a measured approach to looking at the data of winners in recent times. 

While it was held in March from 1982 to 2006 the tournament then shifted to a May date from 2007 through 2018 which presented a much different set up for the world’s best players. 

We returned to March in 2019 but lost the 2020 tournament to the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s tournament was heavily affected by poor weather that severely affected one side of the draw. 

In other words – if you are taking stock in past data sets – the focus needs to be on the 2019 event won by Rory McIlroy and the 2021 week where Justin Thomas came out on top. 

Both McIlroy and Thomas led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green in their wins and they both ranked inside the top 10 in both SG: Off-The-Tee and SG: Approach with McIlroy second and sixth and Thomas 10th and fifth respectively. 

McIlroy was fifth in driving distance, Thomas 18th. McIlroy was third in greens in regulation, Thomas 17th. McIlroy played the par-5s in 9 under during his win, Thomas a field leading 14 under. 

There was a little bit of leeway allowed around, and on, the greens but both champions still had to put forth decent efforts in this area. McIlroy was 29th in SG: Around-the-Green and Thomas was 11th while McIlroy ranked 47th in SG: Putting and Thomas was 42nd on the way to winning. 

Latest odds

Here is a look at the players in this field currently ranking inside the top 10 on TOUR in these key stats.

1 – Rory McIlroy 
2 – Scottie Scheffler 
3 – Jon Rahm 
4 – Tony Finau 
5 – Collin Morikawa 
6 – Jhonattan Vegas 
7 – Patrick Cantlay 
9 – Max Homa 
10 – Tyrrell Hatton 

1 – Keith Mitchell 
2 – Scottie Scheffler 
4 – Will Zalatoris 
5 – Hayden Buckley 
6 – Jhonattan Vegas 
7 – Viktor Hovland 
8 – Patrick Cantlay 
9 – Tyrrell Hatton 
10 – Rory McIlroy 

1 – Rory McIlroy 
3 – Cameron Young 
4 – Wyndham Clark 
6 – Gary Woodland 
7 – Jhonattan Vegas 
8 – Jon Rahm 

2 – Tom Hoge 
3 – Tony Finau 
4 – Jon Rahm 
5 – Xander Schauffele 
6 – Max Homa 
7 – Rory McIlroy 
9 – Rickie Fowler 
10 – Collin Morikawa 


1 – Scottie Scheffler 
3 – Jon Rahm 
4 – Patrick Cantlay 
6 – J.T. Poston 
7 – Will Gordon 
8 – Dylan Wu 
10 – Hayden Buckley 

1 – Patrick Cantlay 
2 – Jon Rahm 
3 – Rory McIlroy 
4 – Adam Scott 
4 – Justin Thomas 
4 – Sungjae Im 
7 – Will Zalatoris 
8 – Collin Morikawa 
8 – Tony Finau 
10 – J.T. Poston


Rory McIlroy is the favourite at 9/1 ahead of world No.1 Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler at 10/1 before Patrick Cantlay comes in at 16/1. 

McIlroy is the 2019 champion who also has four other top 12 results at TPC Sawgrass in 12 attempts. He was runner up a week ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. 

Rahm shocked everyone with back-to-back 4-over 76s during last week’s effort at Bay Hill after taking the first-round lead, but he still has three wins in his last six TOUR starts. 

His TPC Sawgrass efforts are five cuts made from five starts with two top 12s, the first of which in 2019 saw him lead after 54 holes. Scheffler is already a winner this season at the WM Phoenix Open and was T4 last week at Bay Hill. 

He has played THE PLAYERS just twice, missing the cut in 2021 before a T55 last year. Cantlay’s first two PLAYERS were top 25s before missing his last three cuts at TPC Sawgrass. 

Recently he was third at the Genesis Invitational and T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. 

McIlroy and Rahm are prominent in five of the six key stats each with Cantlay coming up in four and Scheffler three. The lean goes to McIlroy based off previous success in the event as well as his near miss a week ago. 


There are countless players past the favourites who fit the bill as possible winners. Max Homa and Justin Thomas at 20/1 have serious merit, as does former champion Jason Day at 25/1 off the back of four straight top 10s. 

Tyrrell Hatton at 33/1 will try to take down the English curse at the course. 

But if we are looking at sleepers outside the 50/1 mark, we have some strong choices. Given his prowess off the tee in both distance and accuracy Keith Mitchell at 55/1 is a player who must be on the radar for the week. 

Former PLAYERS winner Rickie Fowler is building his game back while young gun Sahith Theegala at 80/1 is another to watch. 

Former champion Adam Scott at 90/1 is also intriguing. 


Tom Hoge is an approach assassin and sits at 110/1. Jhonattan Vegas has statistically been threatening to make waves of late and sits 175/1, as does J.T. Poston. 

Hayden Buckley has been impressive off the tee and in his greens in regulation efforts and represents a flyer opportunity at 275/1 in the each way markets. 

Good luck with all your choices!

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