This week the PGA Tour makes a stop at TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida, for The Players Championship, which is often thought of as professional golf’s unofficial fifth Major. First round action from the fabled Stadium Course is slated to get underway this Thursday with the final round concluding on Sunday.
The field will include 50 of the top players in the current World Rankings including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, who have already been opened by Bovada as three of the top five favorites on its current list of futures odds to win this year’s event. The following is a closer look at a few of these top players along with my top valued longshot to win this week.
Tiger Woods is going to be favored in just about any tournament he enters primarily because the betting public’s perception is strongly based on past performance in conjunction with future expectations. He has certainly earned this status over the course of his storied career, but given his recent performance in this particular event, much of the value in his 7/1 odds to win has been drained. He last won The Players Championship in 2001 and has not finished in the top 10 since then. Current form, with three previous victories on the PGA Tour this season, and a No.1 ranking in the world, cannot be ignored but neither can the fact he has not played in a competitive event in nearly a month. He is certainly not the worst favorite to go chalk on, but not this week.
The second-favorite to win this week at 16/1 is Rory McIlroy. The No. 2-ranked golfer in the world also has his odds driven down quite a bit due to perception, but he remains a player to watch this week after finishing 10th last week in the Wells Fargo Championship. It was his third top-10 finish in his last five events after ending up eighth in the Cadillac Championship and second in the Texas Open. The major drain on McIlroy’s odds is the fact that he not even made the cut in The Players Championship in his last three trips to TPC at Sawgrass.
Another player listed at 16/1 to win this event is Adam Scott. Coming off his first victory in a Major with last month’s win in the Masters, he certainly deserves to be one of the top contenders to win this week. Whether or not he has the juice to recapture this form for all four rounds remains to be seen after taking the last month off. Scott actually burst onto the scene as one of golf’s elite players with a victory in this tournament in 2004. He quickly rose to the top of the ranks as one of the best players in the world never to win a Major, but was more than happy to shed that distinction with his performance at Augusta this year. The value in his odds is there, but hunger and sense of urgency to win may fall victim to a Masters’ hangover.
A few of the other top contenders to watch this week along with their current odds to win are Phil Mickelson at 22/1, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood at 25/1 and defending 2012 Players Championship winner Matt Kuchar at 28/1. Sergio Garcia, who won this tournament in 2008, is also listed at 28/1.
Top Valued Longshot
As you can see the odds to win drop off rather quickly in this field leaving a ton of value in quite a few quality players with longer odds. Scouring the list for my top value pick the name Graeme McDowell jumped off the page at 33/1. After missing the cut in his first PGA tournament this season he rallied for three-straight top 10 finishes. After missing the cut in the Masters, he bounced right back with a victory the following week in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town. He missed the cut in last year’s Players Championship which should only fuel his fire to win this year after a fourth-round 79 sunk his chances to claim this title in 2011.