Greg Logan’s Best Bets for The Players Championship

Scottie Scheffler sizzled in the final round to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by 5-shots posting a six-under 66 needing only 24 putts is the favorite at The Players Championship.

LONG ISLAND, New York – If there is a delicious appetizer for the PGA Tour’s major championship season, it absolutely has to be the The Players Championship, the once-upon-a-time called “fifth major,” which always has the strongest field of the PGA Tour. LIV Golfers such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Cam Smith, Jaoquin Neimann and Bryson DeChambeau are not eligible to compete.

The setting also is iconic because the par-72, 7,275-yard Players Championship course at Sawgrass is so recognizable to TV viewers because of the finishing stretch encompassing the birdie possibilities at the par-5 16th hole, the legendary island green at the par-3 17th and the demanding par-4 18th that wraps around a dangerous lake all the way down the left side.

The famed island green at TPC Sawgrass always entertains fans and often aggravates players.

The clear favorite this year has to be defending champion Scottie Scheffler, who is listed at +550 odds and is coming off a 5-stroke win last Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he displayed a much-improved putting stroke that allowed him to blow away the field. But that was the first win in 51 weeks for Scheffler despite his World No. 1 ranking, and there never has been a repeat winner in the Players Championship, which is heading into its 50th edition.

So, let’s look at some of the other top contenders, including 2021 Players champ Justin Thomas (+2200) and two other players with a strong recent record at TPC Sawgrass, including Viktor Hovland (+2500), who is on the verge of a breakout win in a major, and veteran Hideki Matsuyama (+3300), who is playing well, recently won the Genesis event in Los Angeles and has three top-10s and five top-25 finishes in his past eight Players starts.

Justin Thomas is among the favorites to win at TPC Sawgrass this weekend shown here teeing off on Hole No. 18 where water lines the entire left side from tee-to-green.

Many will be tempted to pick second betting choice Rory McIlroy (+1600), but the 2019 Players champion struggled with a final-round 76 at the AP Invitational and hasn’t shown much consistency this season. If there is one past Players champion who jumps off the page for me, it is 2016 titlist Jason Day (+5000), who has generous odds and has played well of late.

But despite the recent dominance of defending champ Scheffler, my top two picks to win the Players Championship are a couple of longshots who have played well recently and have the tools to handle TPC Sawgrass. I’m talking about Sahith Theegala (+5500) and Ludvig Aberg (+3300), who has two top-10 finishes this season.

There is always plenty of fireworks on the course as well as high fan interest at The Players Championship.

Theegala was especially impressive at Bay Hill with a pair of 68s bracketing middling rounds of 72-75. He has three top-6 finishes plus a top-20 in seven appearances this year, and of the 25 rounds he has played, Theegala has 14 rounds in the 60s.

In the end, my picks to win the Players in order are Theegala, Aberg, Hovland, Matsuyama and Scheffler. But veterans and past champions Day and Thomas deserve some consideration at a course where experience is such an important factor.

Happy St. Patty’s Day & Good Luck!

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