Other than Pebble Beach and Augusta National, there is no more recognizable American golf course than the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The 17th hole “island green” is as iconic as any par-3 in the world.
It’s also the site of one of the most competitive tournaments anywhere in the world, The Players Championship. In fact, the Stadium Course was constructed specifically to host this event and its collection of the best golfers in the world.
There was no champion in 2020, as the event was canceled after Hideki Matsuyama tied the course record with a first-round 63. So the current defending champion is 2019 winner Rory McIlroy.
He is one of 10 total Players Champions in the field this weekend, along with 113 total PGA Tour winners, which is tied for the most in any tournament in 21 years.
This field also has 29 of the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings and 49 of the top 50 players in the World Golf Rankings.
This field is stacked.
The Players Championship Favorites
- Dustin Johnson (+1100)
- Rory McIlroy (+1400)
- Bryson DeChambeau (+1400)
- Jon Rahm (+1600)
- Xander Schauffele (+2000)
- Justin Thomas (+2000)
- Webb Simpson (+2200)
- Collin Morikawa (+2200)
- Patrick Cantlay (+2200)
- Tony Finau (+2500)
- Jordan Spieth (+2500)
- Viktor Hovland (+2500)
Dustin Johnson is the favorite and the world’s top-ranked player, but he is not one of the 10 players who have won this tournament before. In fact, he’s played in this event 12 times but only finished in the top 10 once, a fifth-place finish in 2019.
Along with his win in 2019, McIlroy has three other top 10 finishes. He is currently ranked eighth in the world and has finished in the top 10 in each of the previous two weeks.
Webb Simpson was the champion here in 2018, but the rest of his history at The Players is checkered. He’s missed the cut four times and finished over par in two other tournaments.
However, he did just finish sixth at the WGC-Workday Championship two weekends ago.
Not on this list, but at +3500, is Matsuyama, who did have that incredible start to the tournament last year before the rest of it was canceled. Matsuyama is ranked 23rd in the world and finished eighth here in 2019 and seventh in 2016.
He hasn’t been in the top 10 in any event since November, but with a good history at Sawgrass, Matsuyama is a good value bet.
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