The Players Championship 2020 rolls into town with its iconic 17th hole as its focal point. TPC Sawgrass always produces drama to the end and we should be set for a thrilling four days.
We got back to winning ways ourselves on Sunday as Marc Leishman converted a top 10 finish profit at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, so let’s see if we can build on that return with our Players Championship predictions.
Rory McIlroy (+750 with Bovada American-friendly sportsbook) is the defending champion, having claimed a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk 12 months ago and he slots in as the clear market favorite once again. Rory enjoyed the same status ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week and his single digit finish made it seven straight top fives across the world.
In 46 years of this tournament, no-one has ever made a successful defense but Rory has the form and some relevant stats as he leads the Tour in Par 5 Scoring and Adjusted Scoring.
Some way back from Rory McIlroy is another European in the shape of Jon Rahm (+1200 or 12/1). The Spaniard was the 54-hole leader here last year before a poor fourth day resulted in a 12th place finish. Along with McIlroy, Rahm is tied for 2nd in Bogey Avoidance while he is the all-round leader for all recorded statistics.
Justin Thomas (+1400 or 14/1) may be third favorite but he leads the Power Rankings as we head into Thursday. JT has a reasonable record here and has made the cut in each of his five appearances but he has never really threatened the top of the leaderboard.
Moving through the field, Bryson DeChambeau, Tommy Fleetwood and Dustin Johnson are bunched together in the middle of the chasing pack. Could this be the best time to back Johnson following his return from injury? He is available at a general +2500 and as soon as the former world number one rediscovers his touch, those sort of betting odds will plummet.
There is the potential for serious value this week and at win prices of around +3000, we can find the likes of Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Adam Scott and Xander Schauffele. Of that bunch, Simpson is the 2018 Champion while Schauffele was one of three runners up in the same year.
That value continues in the outside group for The Players Championship and one of the names to stand out is that of Tyrell Hatton (40/1) who is our most recent winner on Tour. After some breakthrough wins in Europe, the Englishman looked set for a bright future but issues with injury and focus saw him slip back. Now, having claimed his first victory stateside, we expect Hatton to build on that success.
At a slight shorter price is the 2015 Players Champion Rickie Fowler (33/1) who is struggling to discover his best form while another man returning from injury is multiple Major winner Brooks Koepka.
Other golfers to consider among the longshots include Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Marc Leishman, Tony Finau, Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth. The nature of the event always brings a strong declaration and this is the toughest field of 2020 so far. Picking a profit is not going to be simple but let’s start by seeing just what it takes to win here.
Our Preview’s Players Championship Course & Betting Trends with Picks & Predictions Verdict
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a stunning venue and one that rightly helps to give this tournament its notional title as the fifth Major. In terms of overall length, it’s relatively modest at some 7,189 yards that delivers a standard par 72 but there is nothing regulation about this course.
No matter how good your stats are, a visit to the water at 17 can finish a challenge as it has done on many occasions in the past. Hitting the island green there is vital while punishing rough means that accuracy is crucial across the whole round. Greens will reach up to 13 on the stimp so form with the flatstick could ultimately decide the destination of the trophy.
Bogey avoidance can be a key statistic and that’s another reason why Rory McIlroy will be heavily backed this week but this preview is looking at another big name at longer odds. It will only be a matter of time before Dustin Johnson is back in the winner’s enclosure and we’re backing DJ now before his weekly odds start to tumble.
Our top 10 finish picks include some big names and there are no left-field tips here but in a strong tournament, the odds are long enough to be value. Read our Players Championship predictions for this preview: