There’s a major championship on the PGA Tour every month from April-August (so before football season takes over) – except for in May. But this week brings the PLAYERS Championship from TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra, Fla. It’s known as the “fifth major” because of how good the field always is, the biggest purse of any non-major and the benefits of winning, which includes a five- year PGA Tour exemption. Let’s take a look at the golf betting predictions for the championship.
The PLAYERS Championship 2017 Betting Predictions
TV: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 2-7 p.m. (NBC).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. (featured groups), 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (17th hole). Saturday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. (featured groups), noon-7 p.m. (17th hole).
RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).
There are 147 players in the field, including 48 of the world’s Top 50. World No. 27 Brandt Snedeker (injured left hand) and No. 25 Thomas Pieters will not play the event. Jon Curran (rib injury), Colt Knost (wrist injury), John Senden (family medical issue) and Tiger Woods (back injury) are qualified for the event but will not participate.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is in its 36th consecutive year as host of The PLAYERS, but the entire field will be seeing parts of Pete Dye’s design for the first time. Since Jason Day went wire-to-wire en route to a four-stroke victory a year ago, there have been renovations done at the course. The biggest change was the par-4, 360-yard 12th hole being shortened to 302 yards, where golfers are tempted to go for the green despite water, a long bunker on the left and three pot bunkers right of the green. What hasn’t changed is the hole that receives the most attention – the iconic 17th, measuring 137 yards over water to a green connected only by narrow pathway.
American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson is the +580 favorite. Johnson returned from injury and nearly won the Wells Fargo last week for a fourth straight victory on Tour before finishing T-2, one shot out of a playoff. Aside from a WD in 2013, DJ is a perfect 7 of 7 in making the 36-hole cut at The Players since 2009. However, during that span he has no top 10s and has never finished in the Top 25.
Rory McIlroy, newly married, is +900. McIlroy has thrived at TPC Sawgrass in recent years with four straight finishes of T-12 or better. He finished T-7 in his last start at the Masters and has been outside the top 10 just once since winning the Tour Championship in September.
New Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the 2008 PLAYERS winner, makes his first start since Augusta National. It’s been 14 years since he missed a cut at TPC Sawgrass – but the past two Masters winners (Jordan Spieth, Danny Willett) missed The PLAYERS cut after slipping on the green jacket. The only guy to win the Masters and PLAYERS the same year was Tiger in 2001. Garcia is +1500.
No player has ever repeated and the Aussie Day is +1600 to become the first. In 2016, Day tied the Stadium Course record with an opening 63 and hardly looked back, becoming just the fifth wire-to-wire winner in the event’s history. Day’s total of 15-under- par 273 was the lowest score at TPC Sawgrass in 10 editions since The PLAYERS moved to May. Day became just the second of the past 10 champions who managed to close the deal after holding the 54-hole lead. Martin Kaymer was the other, holding off Jim Furyk after a rain delay in 2014.
I like McIlroy to win. Also go with Kaymer and Matt Kuchar, another former winner, for Top 10s.
THURSDAY TEE TIMES (EST)
7:10 a.m.: Zac Blair, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Blayne Barber (12:35 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
7:21 a.m.: Kevin Stielman, Lucas Glover, Louis Oosthuizen (12:46 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
7:32 a.m.: Kyle Stanley, Jason Kokrak, Patrick Cantlay (12:57 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
7:43 a.m.: Brian Harman, Russell Knox, Jhonattan Vegas (1:08 p.m., 10th tee Friday)”
7:54 a.m.: Hudson Swafford, Brendan Steele, J.B. Holmes (1:19 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
8:05 a.m.: Cameron Smith, Vaughn Taylor, Keegan Bradley (1:30 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
8:16 a.m.: Tony Finau, Troy Merritt, Gary Woodland (1:41 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
8:27 a.m.: Greg Chalmers, Graeme McDowell, Emiliano Grillo (1:52 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
8:38 a.m.: Pat Perez, Cody Gribble, William McGirt (2:03 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
8:49 a.m.: Marc Leishman, James Hahn, Matt Every (2:14 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
9 a.m.: Kyle Reifers, Harold Varner III, Bernd Wiesberger (2:25 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
9:11 a.m.: Ben Crane, Graham DeLaet, Grayson Murray (2:36 p.m., 10th tee Friday)
12:35 p.m.: Martin Laird, Chez Reavie, Shawn Stefani (7:10 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
12:46 p.m.: Roberto Castro, Patrick Rodgers, Michael Kim (7:21 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
12:57 p.m.: Scott Brown, Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick (7:32 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
1:08 p.m.: Danny Willett, Shane Lowry, Bill Haas (7:43 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
1:19 p.m.: Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka (7:54 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
1:30 p.m.: Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer (8:05 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
1:41 p.m.: Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar (8:16 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
1:52 p.m.: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy (8:27 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
2:03 p.m.: Mackenzie Hughes, Jim Herman, K.J. Choi (8:38 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
2:14 p.m.: Charl Schwartzel, Smylie Kaufman, Ernie Els (8:49 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
2:25 p.m.: John Huh, Jamie Lovemark, Rafa Cabrera Bello (9 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
2:36 p.m.: Freddie Jacobson, Chad Campbell, Ricky Barnes (9:11 a.m., 10th tee Friday)
7:10 a.m.: Jason Bohn, Daniel Summerhays, Francesco Molinari (12:35 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
7:21 a.m.: Harris English, Bernhard Langer, Derek Fathauer (12:46 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
7:32 a.m.: Bryce Molder, Kevin Na, Mark Hubbard (12:57 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
7:43 a.m.: Aaron Baddeley, Fabian Gomez, David Lingmerth (1:08 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
7:54 a.m.: Jim Furyk, Billy Horschel, Vijay Singh (1:19 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
8:05 a.m.: Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Paul Casey (1:30 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
8:16 a.m.: Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day (1:41 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
8:27 a.m.: Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson (1:52 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
8:38 a.m.: Adam Hadwin, Luke Donald, Alex Noren (2:03 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
8:49 a.m.: Si Woo Kim, Daniel Berger, Branden Grace (2:14 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
9 a.m.: Sean O’Hair, Ryan Palmer, Yuta Ikeda (2:25 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
9:11 a.m.: Ian Poulter, Cameron Tringale, Tommy Fleetwood (2:36 p.m., 1st tee Friday)
12:35 p.m.: Seung-Yul Noh, Sung Kang (7:10 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
12:46 p.m.: Boo Weekley, Robert Garrigus, David Hearn (7:21 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
12:57 p.m.: Lee Westwood, Patton Kizzire, Andrew Loupe (7:32 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
1:08 p.m.: D.A. Points, Ryan Moore, Chris Kirk (7:43 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
1:19 p.m.: Kevin Chappell, Billy Hurley III, Brian Stuard (7:54 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
1:30 p.m.: Jonas Blixt, Brian Gay, Tyrrell Hatton (8:05 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
1:41 p.m.: Danny Lee, Robert Streb, Ben Martin (8:16 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
1:52 p.m.: Russell Henley, Rod Pampling, Kevin Kisner (8:27 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
2:03 p.m.: Peter Malnati, Webb Simpson, Steve Stricker (8:38 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
2:14 p.m.: Jason Dufner, Scott Piercy, Alex Cejka (8:49 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
2:25 p.m.: Wesley Bryan, Charley Hoffman, David Toms (9 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
2:36 p.m.: Johnson Wagner, Spencer Levin, Luke List (9:11 a.m., 1st tee Friday)
2:47 p.m.: Jerry Kelly, Anirban Lahiri, Brett Stegmaier (9:22 a.m., 1st tee Friday)