All the world's top-ranked players compete this week for The Players Championship at Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
This event can easily be described as the fifth major and its a tournament I look forward to every year, a must-watch for any golfing enthusiast.
The event was cancelled after only one round last year so Rory McIlroy returns yet again to defend the title he won in 2019.
Previous course winners taking part this week include Webb Simpson, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar, Si Woo Kim and Rory McIlroy.
The prize money this week is a staggering $15million with the winner collecting an impressive $2.7million.
The event will be screened live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Golf with coverage starting from 11.30 GMT Thursday.
This par 72 parkland course will traditionally suit the big hitters with power and accuracy being the key attribute amongst the 154 field.
The weather is forecast to be sunny with light to moderate breezes with temperatures expected to pick up over the weekend.
Bezuidenhout places at 80/1
Last week we couldn’t predict the winner as Bryson De Chambeau went on to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational with some absolutely stunning monster drives that no one else could dare attempt and that gave him a huge advantage over the ponds and water features.
However, we did predict Christian Bezuidenhout at 80/1 each-way to finish amongst the places and the South African duly obliged making it yet another profitable weekend.
It could have been even better if our other selection, Tommy Fleetwood at 50/1 each-way hadn’t double-bogeyed the 18th hole. Even a bogey would have secured the place money but it wasn’t to be with a horrific final hole for the Englishman.
So on to this week's selections, this is so tricky with all the top golfers in attendance and the twists and turns that make TPC Sawgrass so exciting and unpredictable especially with the world-famous 17th hole surrounded by water that can produce any kind of score.
For my main selection this week I’m going going to suggest Hideki Matsuyama at 40/1 each-way with Betfair.
The Japanese ace simply adores this Sawgrass venue. Matsuyama equalled the course record last year shooting a 63 (9 under par) only to be undone when, as mentioned earlier the tournament was cut short after only one round.
Hideki was 7th at TPC Sawgrass back in 2016 and finished 8th in 2019, in fact, five Top 25 finishes in six visits shows just how much he enjoys this track. The man from Japan is certainly producing form at just the right time with the Masters at Augusta just a few weeks away.
In the past fortnight he finished 15th at the WGC Workday Championship and 18th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. One noticeable improvement in his game most recently has been with the putter so if Hideki can brush up on his short game around the greens then I can see him being a leading contender this weekend and I’m predicting him to be there or thereabouts come Sunday evening.
For my next selection I’m going to pick Patrick Cantlay 25/1 each-way at Bet365. A superb all round golfer and consistent performer gives Cantlay a huge advantage over this field.
The American has finished no worse than 17th in all tournaments since winning The Zozo Championship a few months back including;
- 17th at the Masters in Augusta
- 13th at The Sentry Tournament of Champions
- 2nd at The American Express
- 3rd at AT & T Pebble Beach
- 15th at the Genesis Invitational
He is simply a model of consistency lately and this could be another tournament where he shines.
Cantlay is 10th on The PGA Tour for strokes gained around the green and 5th for birdie averages. He had to pull out at Bay Hill last week due to illness so as long as he is in good health I can only predict that Patrick Cantlay will be the one to beat if producing his A-game and will be a leading contender on the back nine at Sunday’s final round.
For the next selection I’m going to look further up the field for some decent value and for that reason I’m going to single out Paul Casey 70/1 each-way at Betfair.
The recent Dubai Desert Classic winner seems to be slightly overlooked by the firms and therefore overpriced by my reckoning especially for a golfer still ranked in the world's Top 20.
His recent form also suggests to me even more than his price is not on par with his figures of late; 8th at The American Express, 12th at The Saudi International, and over the past fortnight, 5th at Pebble Beach and 10th last week at Bay Hill.
The Englishman comes here in fine fettle and I think it only makes sense to take advantage of the 70/1 on offer. With most firms offering 1-8 places this week then this each-way shout returns a reasonable profit with just the place money.
Tyrell Hatton v Jordan Speith
For my final selection, it’s the customary 72 hole match bet Tyrell Hatton to beat Jordan Speith 10/11 Nap Bet365.