The PGA Tour continues to bring the world’s golfing elite together with this week's Players Championship at the iconic Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
The PGA Tour’s flagship event described as the 5th major is a must for any golfing enthusiast with 43 of the world's Top 50 in attendance battling it for the richest prize golf has to offer.
The 144 field with the Top 65 including ties making it to the weekend will all be competing for a share of the mammoth $25M prize purse with the winner collecting The Players Championship title and a winner's cheque for a staggering $4.5M.
With last year's winner Cam Smith, unfortunately, defecting to the LIV Golf Tour, the Aussie Ace will not be allowed to return to defend his crown this year.
A host of previous champions and multiple major winners will be on show at TPC Sawgrass this week with two of them seeking to dethrone the world No 1 Jon Rahm who did show some signs that he is human after all at last week's thrilling Arnold Palmer Invitational. The Spaniard held on to his crown for at least another week as Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy were unable to capitalise although both came close, it could have gone to at least half a dozen players on the final back nine at Bay Hill which was finally won by Kurt Kitayama who held his nerve to claim his maiden PGA Title.
TPC Sawgrass will be playing 7,275 yards long this week, it’s a stunning par 72 parklands layout with probably the most famous hole in golf awaiting all, the par 3 17th with its island green and water lurking where many a Players Championship has been won and lost.
The key to success on the Stadium Course this week will definitely involve power and accuracy so big hitters may have a slight advantage.
The weather is forecast to be mainly sunny throughout with cloudy intervals and temperatures in the mid-’20s. Friday will see showers throughout the day with breezes peaking at around 12mph.
This event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf & Sky Sports Main Event with live coverage starting at 11.30 am on Thursday morning.
So let’s move on with this week's golf betting tips and try to narrow down the likely winner for this year's Players Championship.
Players Championship Betting Tips
Rory McIlroy 9/1 EW 1-8 places Bet365
For my first and main selection at TPC Sawgrass, I’m going to point you all in the direction of Rory McIlroy 9/1 EW 1-8 places Bet365. It’s the first time this year if tipped the one and only 33yrs old Irishman from Holywood but as I keep on mentioning, it’s all about timing and finding the best-suited event and this week Rory McIlroy ticks all the boxes for me.
Where do I start with Rory?
Honestly, it’s the roaring Rory of old we are witnessing at the moment, he just pops up on leaderboards from nowhere and last weekend at Bay Hill was the classic example. If you were watching it like I was, he was definitely lurking but then he pounced and actually took the lead with only a few holes remaining but eventually had to settle for joint runner-up.
This year alone Rory has already scooped yet another W when bagging the Dubai Desert Classic over on the DP World Tour, it was his first time out in 2023 so started the year just as he finished the previous year. He won his final PGA Tour event in 2022 when winning The CJ Cup and that can be backed with victories at the Tour Championship and also the RBC Canadian Open. His performances at majors last year were again phenomenal.
Runner up at The Masters,8th at the USPGA Championship, T5th at the US Open and finally 3rd at The 150th Open Championship at the home of golf, St Andrews. Every one of them a top 10 finish is truly remarkable although he would be the first to admit, it could have been much better as he came so close at almost every one of them. With this being described as the 5th major and the richest prize that golf has to offer expect Rory to arrive at TPC Sawgrass with every tool in the bag in prime condition for the prime-time show.
A previous winner around here when winning this event in 2019, course management won’t be a problem and conditions will almost certainly suit Rory’s game this week. You all know I don’t like tipping favourites at any event.
Still, I just can’t see any alternative to my favourite this week and Sawgrass is all set up for Rory McIlroy to not just claim The Players Championship crown once again but also regain his throne as the best player on the planet.
Jason Day 33/1 1-8 places Ladbrokes
For my next best selection I’m going to single out Jason Day 33/1 1-8 places Ladbrokes. The 35-year-old from Australia could easily keep this an Aussie affair after Cam Smith’s victory here last year. Day has been so consistent recently and a return to form that has seen him bag a dozen PGA titles including a major when winning the USPGA Championship, could mean only one thing, another W is imminent. Jason Day is also a previous winner around here when winning this event in 2016 and the fond memories could all come flooding back again this time around for the likeable Aussie.
The former World No. 1 arrives at Ponte Vedra Beach with plenty of form in the bag. Since the start of the year Day has entered five tournaments and finished no worse than 18th but it gets much better considering four of the five were Top 10 finishes. Remember these are mostly star-studded fields, truly remarkable.
You can see why Jason Day is flashing up all over the radar. 18th American Express, T7th Farmers Insurance, 5th Phoenix Open, T9th Genesis Invitational and last weekend 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, amazing stuff and all within a matter of weeks.
On the stats front, Day also arrives with a host of Top 10 figures. 10th Total Driving,6th SG Total,3rd Bogey Avoidance,2nd Scrambling , 2nd Putting from 15-20 Feet and 1st Scrambling from the Fringe. I’m just tallying all this up and after calculation, I’m coming up with a winning formula for Jason Day to get back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time in almost five years when he wins The Players Championship this coming Sunday evening in Florida.
Patrick Cantlay 16/1 EW 1-8 places Betfred
For this week’s final outright betting tip, I’m going to recommend Patrick Cantlay 16/1 EW 1-8 places Betfred.
The 30-year-old from Long Beach, California is impossible to dismiss this week after finishing T4th last weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and previous to that 3rd at the Genesis Invitational. You only have to go back a few months to see the previous W for Cantlay when he successfully defended his BMW Championship title and please believe me when I say this guy simply oozes class and talent.
I’ve tipped Cantlay on a few occasions and he’s delivered on most. I’m going for more of the same for a player who when bringing his A game and in the groove, is a constant menace to the rest.
With the majors fast approaching with Augusta just around the corner for The Masters, this could be the year that Patrick Cantlay finally bags his long-awaited and well-deserved maiden major, his best finish to date at a major was T3rd at the 2019 USPGA Championship.
The world No4 has entered this event twice and was in the mix on both occasions heading into the weekend but poor Saturday/Sunday rounds ended any hope. He was leading the tournament after the first round last year so definitely knows what it takes to get on the TPC Sawgrass podium all be it for one day.
It’s not an official major but it could be major for Patrick Cantlay as he shows the world that he can win these events when he’s flying the flag at the PGA flagship event, he could be the one shining brightest in the sunshine state this weekend.
So all that’s left now is the match bet where last weekend we delivered yet another winning SuperBanker Nap. Jason Day beat Sungjae Im and I’m going to stick with him to get the business done again but this time to beat Tom Kim over 72 holes, it’s another SuperBanker Nap 10/11 Bet365.