May 9, 2013 at 4:47 PM #52086
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
2013 The PLAYERS Championship
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, United States
Course: TPC at Sawgrass
Date: May 9-12, 2013
Total Purse: US $ 9,500,000
Winner’s Share: US $ 1,710,000 (18% of total purse)
Defending Champion: Matt Kuchar ($1,710,000)
The PGA TOUR plays its “fifth major” this weekend at the famed TPC Sawgrass Course in Verda Beach, Florida. Arguably the best field of the year will come together starting Thursday in attempt to tame the Players Stadium Course – a par 72 course that traverses 7,215 yards. The defending champion is Matt Kuchar who netted a cool $1.71 million for his 72 hole winning 275 in 2012.
TPC Sawgrass is known as a ball striker’s course – accuracy, not distance will be the key to winning on this track. It is difficult to hit the fairways, it is tough to get it close to the hole with your approach and the greens are typically tricky. Experience is certainly an asset on this track – seven of the last eight winners here have played in this event a minimum of seven times.
So let’s take a look at some of the names to watch out for this week and what should play out in the richest tournament to date on the PGA TOUR.
Tiger Woods 7/1
Pretty hard not to like Tiger this week. In his last three events played he has a win-win-T4. He is #1 in TOUR in strokes gained-putting, adjusted scoring, par breakers, par-3 scoring (T1) and par-5 scoring. But (and that is a small but) he has just one top 10 in this event since 2001 and that was a eighth in 2009. His form may be great at the moment but his history isn’t terrific on this track for some reason.
Rory McIlroy 16/1
Has quietly strung together three straight top 10s – the last coming at Quail Hollow last week – a T10 in a tournament he led the field in total driving and greens hit, but ranked T69 in strokes gained-putting. He, like Tiger has had some issues on this track however – 0-for-3 with no sub-par rounds.
Adam Scott 16/1
Is coming off the biggest win of his career – the Masters and he has a history on this course – a win in 2004 and three top 15s since including a T15 last year. Scott has been showing up large in the bigger events the last two years and has to be in the conversation this week as well.
Luke Donald 22/1
We haven’t heard a whole lot from Donald this year but he did have a T3 at the RBC Heritage and a T4 at the Tampa Bay Championship – both Pete Dye designed courses. He has three top-six finishes among seven cuts made in his last eight appearances at Sawgrass but has yet to win here. Donald should do well this week!
Phil Mickelson 22/1
I have absolutely no idea what to expect from Phil – do you?????
Justin Rose 25/1
Rose has been a tad underwhelming this year – his ball striking has been great but his putter has let time down time and again. He has just one top-35 finish in nine appearances at TPC Sawgrass (T22, 2009) – another in the long line of Studs that has had issues on this course!
Lee Westwood 25/1
Is a guy that we absolutely have to keep our eye on – top 10s in each of his last three starts with a T10 (Houston), T8 (Masters) and T4 (Wells Fargo). He has three top 10s here among seven of 10 cuts made but Westy just can’t seem to break through on the biggest stages. He is T10 in total driving, 13th in adjusted scoring and eighth in scrambling on TOUR – great attributed for TPC Sawgrass.
Matt Kuchar 28/1
Is the defending champion here and has a very good history in this event – he finished 13th in 2010 and 14th in 2009 prior to his win. In 2013 he has seven top-25s, four top-10s, and a win in 10 events and is 34th in strokes gained-putting, 16th in adjusted scoring and seventh in both scrambling and bogey avoidance on TOUR this year. He never seems to get too high or too low – a perfect temperament for TPC Sawgrass.
Sergio Garcia 28/1
Won this tournament in 2008 and is coming off a T16 aw Quail Hollow last week. He has six starts in 2013 and has finished inside the top 20 every time out and now has 16 top 25s in his last 17 starts worldwide. He is 10th in strokes gained putting, third in adjusted scoring, seventh in par 4 scoring and 41st in total driving on TOUR this year but enters a little banged up this week.
Graeme McDowell 33/1
Is coming off a win in his last tournament at Harbour Town – a course that is fairly similar to TPC Sawgrass. He has made four of five cuts here but has yet to finish inside the top 25 however. McDowell is somehow slipping off the radar a bit this week – maybe due to his sketchy record on this track.
Charl Schwartzel 33/1
Enters on a streak of 12 straight top 25s around the world. He has made two of three cuts in this event with a T26 being his best result ever in 2011. Currently he ranks 13th in strokes gained-putting, fourth in adjusted scoring and T23 in bogey avoidance on TOUR but hasn’t been making a whole lot of noise as of late.
Brandt Snedeker 40/1
Has missed the cut in his last four tries on this track but he is certainly a different golfer than he was in previous years. He leads the TOUR in proximity to the hole from the rough and also ranks first in bogey avoidance, is 10th in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation. In 2013 he has six top-25s, five top-10s, a third, two second place finishes and a win. Sneds has the all around game to contend here this week despite his unflattering history.
Billy Horschel 40/1
Local kid may be the hottest golfer on the planet right now – he has made the cut in all 12 events he has entered posting six top-25s, five top-10s, a third, second and a win. But this is his first start in this event on a track that benefits those with experience here. Still, he is 31st in driving accuracy, 24th in greens in regulation, second in birdie average, fifth in the all-around and eighth in total driving on TOUR – perfect attributes to do well this week.
Jim Furyk 50/1
May be the best value on the board at 50/1. He is a local guy that’s made 14 of 17 cuts at TPC Sawgrass with three top fives and eight top 25s. He has been good this year – five top-25s with a T3 at the Valero Texas Open and a T7 in Tampa Bay in his last two starts overall. He is fifth in driving accuracy, first in proximity to the hole and 22nd in scoring in 2013 which should help him immensely this week.
Henrik Stenson 50/1
Has five top 25s at TPC Sawgrass and win this event in 2009 but is coming off a missed cut at Quail Hollow. Before that he had three top 20s. Other good results on this track include a T3 and a T15 last year. Currently Stenson leads the PGA TOUR in total driving and greens in regulation. He, like Furyk is terrific value at 50/1
Tim Clark 66/1
Won this tournament in 2010 and had a T11 at the Masters and T24 at the RBC Heritage this year. He has made just 5 of 9 cuts this year but currently sits second on TOUR in fairways hit.
K.J. Choi 80/1
Is another past winner (2011) that isn’t getting a whole lotta love from oddsmakers this week. He hasn’t been great this year but always seems to show up in the big events. I’m not recommending him this week but he is worth a mention at 80/1 odds!
My pick this week is Luke Donald at 22/1. He is certainly due for a win after failing to record a victory in his last 19 events played. He has also had a third and a fourth place finish on Pete Dye designed courses. On a track in which accuracy is rewarded and length isn’t crucial, Donald has to be in the conversation!
My sleeper isn’t even a sleeper – Jim Furyk is somehow listed at 50/1. I’ll certainly take that action!
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