THE PLAYERS Championship is upon us and our PGA Tour expert picks will take us to TPC Sawgrass as we pick winners, best bets and more.
One of the best tournaments of the year is upon us with a trip to TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship. The richest purse on the PGA Tour is at stake and that, naturally, brings out one of the best fields that we’re going to see on a year-to-year basis. It’s a reason for golf fans to get excited but, also, it’s a reason to really hone in with our PGA Tour expert picks.
Last year at THE PLAYERS, Justin Thomas walked away victorious with a stellar Sunday round while the leaders after 54 holes, Bryson DeChambeau (withdrew for 2022 already) and Lee Westwood, faded back. Now, we’ll look to see if another favorite is about to run away with this or if someone like a Si Woo Kim, who won in 2017 at just 21 years old, can have a breakout performance.
Before we get into the picks and best bets, though, let’s look back at the API from last week. Rory McIlroy got us north of $200,000 for the One and Done but was a tease as our winner pick. With that said, we nailed Tyrell Hatton for a Top 10 at +300 odds, whiffed mightily on Luke List, but came back strong with Chris Kirk (+600) for a Top 10 and Rory over Jon Rahm in a matchup.
That’s a solid week and one we’re going to try and keep the momentum from. We’re going more in-depth for THE PLAYERS Championship, as we should, meaning get ready for a heavy dose of PGA Tour expert picks for what’s about to happen at TPC Sawgrass.
PGA Tour expert picks for THE PLAYERS Championship: Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, One and Done picks
Top 5 pick for THE PLAYERS Championship: Collin Morikawa (+325)
It’s worth noting that Collin Morikawa’s play at TPC Sawgrass last year wasn’t stellar. He needed a Sunday round of 66 to finish 2-under for the tournament and T-41. With that said, his game has been stellar this season, which is why he’s one of BetSided’s Iain MacMillan’s picks to win. Here’s what Iain had to say about the two-time major winner:
"I’ve yet to win money on a Collin Morikawa victory, and I refuse to let that happen again. Despite not winning on the PGA Tour yet this season, he’s been putting up even better numbers than he did last year. He leads the entire Tour in strokes gained: total, and he ranks in the top 10 in almost every single category. Let’s go ahead and list some of them. Strokes gained: off-the-tee – 1st Driving accuracy – 12th Strokes gained: approach the green – 4th Strokes gained: putting – 4th Strokes gained: tee-to-green – 6th Birdie average – 5th Scoring average – 1st Those are some eye-popping numbers. I think he’s going to get his first win of the season this week at TPC Sawgrass."
I’m not as high on Morikawa but his game is so good right now and well-suited for this venue that he’s an easy Top 5 pick for me.
Top 10 pick for THE PLAYERS Championship: Brooks Koepka (+400)
Brooks Koepka has earned the reputation (somewhat by his own design) as a proverbial big-game hunter on the PGA Tour. This is the biggest non-major field that there is, so it stands to reason that he’d step up and be a factor at TPC Sawgrass based on that alone.
But one thing we’ve seen of late from Koepka is an improved focus that has led to improved tee-to-green play and ball-striking. That’s why he was able to go T-3 in Phoenix and T-16 at The Honda. Oh yeah, he’s also, incredibly, never lost strokes putting at TPC Sawgrass. There will be more from him later in these picks, but I love him to finish in the Top 10, especially at 4/1 odds.
Top 20 pick for THE PLAYERS Championship: Cameron Young (+400)
Until these odds start to drop drastically or his play falls off a cliff, I’m going to keep hammering Cameron Young for Top 20 and similar finishes. The PGA Tour rookie has been a dynamo of late, consistently finding himself on leaderboards and being heard from. He’s finished inside the top 20 in four of his last five starts and the one outlier was a T-26. He’s gained more than 6.9 strokes tee-to-green in three of those tournaments and has been a positive in each of his last five.
For a guy who won back-to-back events on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, he can clearly get into a groove and I’m not going to be the one to miss out on the potential profits from that.
One and Done pick for THE PLAYERS Championship: Viktor Hovland
We saw Viktor Hovland in contention to win last week at the API and he came up just short as the conditions and some tough bunker play really came back to bite him. This is a tournament where you have to burn a big name in One and Done leagues, though, and the Norwegian is the pick there. His form has been great, his game should fit TPC Sawgrass well and we’ll hear some more about him shortly.
Note: Top 5, Top 10 and Top 20 picks should also be considered best bets, though they’re not included in the next slide.