After Kurt Kitayama held off a star-studded field to earn his first PGA Tour victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, the Florida swing now heads to the iconic Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship.
Often referred to as golf’s fifth major, THE PLAYERS boasts an elite field of golfers and a massive prize purse, with $4.5 million going to this year’s winner.
Let’s see if we can make some money of our own this week as we delve into the odds and our best bets for THE PLAYERS.
THE PLAYERS Championship Winner Odds 2023
THE PLAYERS Championship winner odds are current as of 1 p.m. ET on Monday, March 6, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Rory McIlroy (+850)
- Jon Rahm (+900)
- Scottie Scheffler (+1000)
- Patrick Cantlay (+1600)
- Max Homa (+2000)
- Justin Thomas (+2000)
- Collin Morikawa (+2200)
- Xander Schauffele (+2500)
- Viktor Hovland (+2500)
- Tony Finau (+2500)
- Jason Day (+2800)
- Jordan Spieth (+3000)
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The PLAYERS Championship Course Tips
Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL)
- Par 72 (7,256 yards)
- This Pete Dye design will challenge the world’s best players, but it shouldn’t be as penal as Bay Hill was over the past weekend. Avoiding the water and sand will still be paramount to success, but a thinner cut of rough should give players some leeway if they stray just wide of the fairway.
- Taking advantage of the four Par-5s and three Par-4s under 400 yards will be vital, as there are plenty of places to make bogey or worse. The final two holes, for example, see the highest percentage of players make double bogey or worse at nearly 8% each.
- The island green at No. 17 is synonymous with Sawgrass and can ruin anyone’s chances. In the opening round of the 2021 edition, Ben An dumped four balls in the water on 17 to card an octuple bogey 11. Yikes.
- The final hole is no slouch, either. A precise tee shot is required to handle this narrow dogleg left with trees on the right and a lake on the left. Keeping it out of the water, especially on the weekend, will go a long way.
THE PLAYERS Championship Field
As has been the case with the PGA Tour’s new schedule of designated events, we have seen the world’s best players show up early and often this season.
That means, the biggest names in golf, outside of Tiger Woods (who is playing a major-focused schedule), will tee it up this week at TPC Sawgrass.
Fresh off a second-place finish at the API, Rory McIlroy is the favorite to win this week. He is closely followed by World No. 1 Jon Rahm, WM Phoenix Open champ Scottie Scheffler, and 2021 FedEx Cup winner Patrick Cantlay.
THE PLAYERS Championship Best Bets
Patrick Cantlay: Wins THE PLAYERS (+1600) | DraftKings Sportsbook
I don’t particularly love going this far up the betting board, but all of my research has pointed toward Cantlay.
The Long Beach, Calif. native has produced top-five finishes in back-to-back starts and has done so by gaining substantially from tee to green (9.9 strokes at the API and 13 at the Genesis), rather than with his typically electric putter.
On top of striking the ball beautifully at the moment, Cantlay boasts one of the most reliable short games in golf and has a reputation as a Pete Dye design specialist thanks to strong performances at The American Express, the Travelers Championship, and the RBC Heritage.
He also led the Tour in par-five scoring last season and should be able to take advantage of this setup. Look for the 30-year-old to be in the mix again come Sunday and make this your PGA pick of the day.
Keegan Bradley: Wins THE PLAYERS (+5000) | DraftKings Sportsbook
While Kitayama (+20000) proved last week that anyone can win these designated events, it seems pretty unlikely we see another longshot come through this week.
However, if you’re looking for a bit more value down the board, Keegan Bradley appears to be a solid option. The 2011 PGA Championship winner has a pair of top-10 finishes since the start of 2023, including last week at the API, and has a great record at TPC Sawgrass.
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Bradley finished fifth in this event last season and hasn’t posted a result worse than T-29 in his last four starts at THE PLAYERS. His ball striking is plenty good enough to take him to the top of the leaderboard, but he is also capable of putting his way out of a tournament.
Bradley has gained strokes in that category in three of his last four starts, giving me enough optimism to take a shot on a solid value play a bit further down the board. Pairing an outright bet with a top-20 finish prop (+200) makes a lot of sense.
Scottie Scheffler: Top-10 Finish (+120) | DraftKings Sportsbook
If you’re looking for props, this feels like a good bet at plus-money.
Scheffler has essentially lived in the hunt since earning his first win last year in Phoenix, and his high level of play hasn’t dropped off since. The 26-year-old has finished inside the top 10 in seven of his last 10 starts, and two of those misses were 11th- and 12th-place finishes at the AmEx and Genesis, respectively.
The 2022 Masters champion continues to put up staggering numbers from tee to green, gaining the second-most strokes (10.5) last week at Bay Hill. If he can get a streaky putter to cooperate, he’ll have a great chance to win, but I’d prefer the safer play than the outright at (+1000).
THE PLAYERS Championship Event Details
- Dates: Thursday, March 9 - Sunday, March 12, 2023
- Course: TPC Sawgrass, Stadium Course
- Course Dimensions: Par 72 (7,256 yards)
- 2022 PLAYERS Winner: Cameron Smith
- How to Watch: ESPN+/Golf Channel/NBC