Georgia Golfers To Watch At THE PLAYERS Championship

Written By Fairway Jay on March 9, 2022
THE PLAYERS Championship preview and golfers to watch

Since 1982, the iconic TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida has hosted THE PLAYERS Championship. The prestigious event draws the best field in golf.

The 2022 edition has all but five of the top-100 players in the world golf rankings. Only the PGA Championship has more top-100 ranked players in the field.

This year, the best golfers in the world will shoot for a $3.6 million winners share, and a record $20 million prize pool. The richest event in golf will pay three players seven figures.

And more than 10 players will be rewarded with at least $500,000 for a top-10 finish. Showing you how shocking that figure of $3.6 million is, in 1997, the total purse of the Players Championship was $3.5 million.

Tiger Woods finished 31st that year, and two weeks later, the 21-year-old won his first of 15 major championships at The Masters.

The list of 34 champions is awe-inspiring as many of the best golfers of the last 40 years has won the Players. Five golfers have won the event twice, including Masters champions Tiger Woods, Fred Couples and Sea Island area resident Davis Love III.

Still, as Golf Stats founder and PGA Tour insider Sal Johnson notes, the TPC Sawgrass has this amazing aurora in which we can say that there has never been anyone or a set of golfers that have dominated over the Stadium Course.

The favorites at TPC Sawgrass

Betting on sports in GA is not legal, or allowed by professional athletes. And it seems the Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley didn’t get the memo or read the NFL rules.

But fans that follow golf still like to know where their favorite golfers stand in the betting market or fantasy golf pools, and who has the best chance to win, at least by sportsbook odds.

While there is a little discrepancy in the odds at leading online sportsbooks, the three favorites to win are all between 10/1 and 16/1:

  • John Rahm
  • Collin Morikawa
  • And 2021 PLAYERS Championship winner Justin Thomas

Close behind are 2019 PLAYERS Championship winners Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama. Matsuyama held the first-round lead in 2020 before the event was canceled due to the COVID-19.

Also considered serious contenders from 20/1 to 30/1 are hot current golfers Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland. They finished first and second at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Scheffler also won the Phoenix Open in February. And 2021 FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay is also in that odds-to-win range.

Thomas played college golf for Alabama. And last year’s champion knocked the ball around TPC Sawgrass this week with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.

Thomas was also a winning bet at 22/1 odds and tournament match-up play winner in last year’s event.

Top golfers to watch at The PLAYERS Championship

In 2019 the Players Championship returned to its March date (from May).

The course can have more bite in March if the wind blows. And it looks like that will happen this weekend with greater than 20 MPH winds in the forecast along with up to a 90% chance of morning rain.

Rain and potential thunderstorms are also likely Thursday and Friday, setting up a softer course but also more uneven scoring conditions.

Golfers with at least one top-15 finish in 2019 and 2021 at TPC Sawgrass

  • Abraham Anger
  • Daniel Berger
  • Paul Casey
  • Corey Connors
  • Joel Dahman
  • Jason Day
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Talor Gooch
  • Brian Harman
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Si Woo Kim
  • Jason Kokrak
  • Shane Lowry
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Rory Mcilroy
  • Jon Rahm
  • Justin Rose
  • Adam Scott
  • Brandt Snedeker
  • Justin Thomas
  • Jhonatan Vegas
  • Lee Westwood

In the 2020 event, Hideki Matsuyama (-9) was leading the tournament after Round 1.

Reviewing stats from Fantasy National and leaders at TPC Sawgrass since 2019, here are top golfers to target with leading strokes gained and other stats of significance.

  • Justin Thomas – No. 1 in Strokes Gained: Total, Tee-to-Green and Approach. Top 10 in Short Game and Ball Striking
  • Jason Day – Top 5 in Strokes Gained: Total, Tee-to-Green, Off-the-Tee (1) and Ball Striking. Top 10 in Around-the-Green
  • Keegan Bradley – No. 1 in Strokes Gained: Approach. Top 5 in SG: Total, Tee-to-Green. Top 10 in Ball Striking
  • Jon Rahm – Top 5 in SG: Ball Striking, Tee-to-Green and Approach. Top 10 SG: Total
  • Abraham Ancer – Top 5 in SG: Tee-to-Green, Ball Striking and Off-the-Tee. Top 10 SG: Total and Approach
  • Adam Scott – Top 2 in SG: Short Game and Around-the-Green
  • Tommy Fleetwood – Top 10 in SG: Total, Ball Striking, Tee-to-Green, Off-the-Tee
  • Corey Connors – No. 1 in Ball Striking. Top 10 in SG: Tee-to-Green, Approach, Off-the-Tee

The top golfers on all courses designed by Pete Dye with the top combined performances in Tee-to-Green and Ball Striking include:

  • Rory McIlroy
  • Paul Casey
  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Justin Rose
  • Jason Day
  • Abraham Ancer
  • Dustin Johnson

Course and tournament information

  • Course: TPC Sawgrass. Stadium Course by Pete Dye
  • Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
  • Date: Mar. 10-13
  • Par: 72 / Yardage 7,256
  • Fairways / Rough: Bermudagrass
  • Greens: Bermudagrass
  • TV / Online: Golf Channel, NBC (Sat and Sun), PGA Tour Live
  • Twitter & Hashtag: @THEPLAYERSChamp

The course played to a 72.04 average last year and was the 16th toughest course on Tour. There is little to no advantage to being a big bomber or smashing drives.

Rather, Pete Dye designs generally force strategic, positional tee shots, and penalize wayward approaches with complex bunkering at TPC Sawgrass. 

The Stadium Course requires precision ball striking and rewards players with an elite approach and short game. But the ability to gain strokes on approach and around the green is more difficult than average, as small greens place more emphasis on shot-making.

Yet golfers have to be useful in getting it up and down, and there are nearly 90 bunkers with many tricky, smaller ones around the greens to trap poor approach shots or runoffs from the greens.

Water lurks on every hole but only comes into play for the pros on 11-12 holes. That includes the famous island green at No. 17.

Georgia Bulldogs in The PLAYERS Championship

11 former Georgia Bulldogs are playing on the PGA Tour as full-time members – most of any colleges on Tour. 

That includes the 2022 American Express event winner Hudson Swafford. And first-time PGA Tour winner Sepp Straka at the 2022 Honda Classic.

Here are the nine Bulldogs playing in this year’s PLAYERS Championship:

  • Brian Harman
  • Russell Henley
  • Chris Kirk
  • Kevin Kisner
  • Keith Mitchell
  • Sepp Straka
  • Hudson Swafford
  • Brendon Todd
  • Bubba Watson

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey / AP News

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Fairway Jay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports and betting analyst. He reports, researches and writes on industry news and events providing insight and information you can bet on to engage and assist the avid fan. FairwayJay's tee-to-green coverage and contributions are provided throughout the PlayUSA network. Follow on Twitter: @FairwayJay

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