THE PLAYERS Championship starts on Thursday as an elite field gathers at the iconic TPC Sawgrass venue and Racing Post golf guru Steve Palmer has some betting advice.
The PGA Tour's flagship event is staged at a course which is famous the world over and the closing stretch always delivers thrills and spills for players and punters alike.
|What||THE PLAYERS Championship|
|Where||Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida|
|When||From 11:50, Thursday 9th March|
|How to watch||bet365 Live Golf Tracker, Sky Sports Main Event & Golf|
|Odds||Rory McIlroy 9/1, Jon Rahm 10/1, Scottie Scheffler 10/1, Patrick Cantlay 16/1, Justin Thomas 20/1|
Rory McIlroy was victorious in the 2019 Players Championship and can be backed at 9/1 for this edition. The Northern Irishman was narrowly defeated in the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday and appears to be peaking for Sawgrass.
World number one Jon Rahm is a 10/1 chance to win the Players title for the first time. Rahm dropped from first place to 39th over the final three days of the Arnold Palmer, so may have lost his form at an untimely moment.
Scottie Scheffler, sandwiched between Rahm and McIlroy in the world rankings, has never bettered 55th place at Sawgrass. A Players personal-best can be expected this week and 10/1 for a Scheffler triumph will appeal to plenty of punters.
Each-way terms of a fifth the odds the first eight places are available for THE PLAYERS Championship, while there are also alternative options, including a quarter the odds the first five, in the Each Way Extra section.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a 7,275-yard, par-72, with four par-fives, ten par-fours and four par-threes.
The Pete Dye design has hosted this event since 1982 and the island-green 17th is arguably the most famous hole in golf.
Last year's event suffered bad weather, but this week's forecast is fine, with no rain and generally light winds expected.
There are eight Sawgrass champions in the field - Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. Sunday's champion will take home a cheque for $4.5million.
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The 22/1 about Collin Morikawa winning THE PLAYERS Championship seems generous when you consider his stature in the game, his 2023 form and his suitability to this assignment.
The two-time Major champion has already posted three top-six finishes this year and his laser-like iron-shots make Sawgrass a more straightforward task than it is for many of his rivals.
Morikawa was on the wrong side of a significant draw bias at Sawgrass last year, but looks set to get a fair crack of the whip this time.
The 20/1 for Max Homa is another outright investment worth considering. The Californian is a fans' favourite for his witty Twitter contributions, but he is far from a joker on the course these days, having won five PGA Tour titles in the last 25 months.
Despite being on the wrong side of the draw bias last year, Homa battled his way to 13th place, closing with a 66. The approach-play quality of Morikawa and Homa could see them emerge as the main title threats.
First-round-leader punters are pointed towards the 55/1 for Keith Mitchell, who is driving his ball better than anyone on the PGA Tour this season. Mitchell, who won the Honda Classic in Florida in 2019, is oozing tee-to-green class.
If Mitchell carries a hot putter for round one, he could turn his 7.23am local-time launchpad into a super-low score. Benign conditions are forecast for the early starters.
Cool Korean Si Woo Kim relishes THE PLAYERS Championship and won the tournament at the age of 21, closing with a bogey-free round for a three-shot triumph. Kim was in second place before the 2020 edition was abandoned, then finished ninth in 2021.
Having won the Sony Open in January, Kim can be fancied at 15/4 to end the week as top Asian player.
The way McIlroy improved through last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational will have greatly encouraged his fans.
The Northern Irishman may find one or two Americans pip him this week, but the 11/4 for him to be top European seems more than fair.