The Players Championship starts on the 11th, and concludes on Sunday 14th May.
It has a very large purse at $10,500,000, which is the joint second largest this season. Only the US Open has a bigger prize pot, and the winner this week is set to scoop a tidy $1,890,000. The heritage of the The Players Championship and ability to attract the very top players has earned it the unofficial title of being the ‘5th Major’.
It’s hosted at TPC at Sawgrass on the Stadium Course, and the par 3 17th hole, aka the ‘Island Green’ is its most famous hole. The small green is surrounded by water, and although it is only ~135 yards, the pressure will be still be felt by even the most experienced players. Fifty balls in just the first round in 2007 landed in the water, and that is the professionals! It’s no surprise therefore that an estimated 100,000 balls are retrieved from the waters that surround the island each year.
The hole has been decisive in many tournament outcomes, including some of the more recent ones. Martin Kaymar in 2014 sunk a very long pot to par in the final round and eventually won the tournament. The following year, Rickie Fowler won the play off on the 17th, sinking a birdie after a beautiful tee shot.
This year World Number One Dustin Johnson starts as favourite. His form is good, having won the WGC Match Play, and tied for second at the Wells Fargo last week. His form at the course however hasn’t been good, finishing 28th last year, and not within the top 50 in the previous five years.
Last year it was won by Jason Day. He can be backed at 23.00 this year, owing to his form not being fantastic at the current moment. He missed the cut at the Zurich Classic, and his best finish for the past few months was 22nd in the Masters.
The winner of the Masters was of course Sergio Garcia who can be backed for 23.00. He has rested for the past month, but his form has been good at this course, and ignoring the blip last year, he has finished 2nd (2015), and 3rd (2014) and 8th (2013). He will be in the running for this Major too.
How The Players Championship Field is Formed
There are 14 ways the field of 144 is formed:
- Winners of PGA Tour events since last Players Championship
- Winner of the last Olympic Golf Tournament
- Top 125 from previous FedEx Cup points list
- Top 125 (medical extension)
- Major champions from previous five years
- Winners from previous 5 years of The Players Championship
- Winners from previous 3 years of The World Golf Championship
- Memorial Tournament and Arnold Palmer Invitational winners since 2015
- Top 50 official ranked players
- Senior Players champion from previous year
- Web.com Tour money leader from prior season
- Money leader during the Web.com Tour Finals
- Top 10 current year FedEx Cup points leaders
How to Watch The Players Championship Live
The Players Championship is broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports in the UK. It not available to stream via the bookmakers websites.
If you don’t have Sky Sports, another option is to book a couple of return flights to New York. Morgan Stanley are one of the main sponsors of the tournament, and will use their giant screen in Times Square to broadcast coverage from NBC and the golf channel. Ok, perhaps not then.
The Players Championship Betting Odds
World Number One Dustin Johnson is favoured by bookmakers. These odds are supplied by 10Bet and are accurate prior to the tournament starting, at time of publishing:
- Dustin Johnson – 7.75
- Rory McIlroy – 12.00
- Jordan Spieth – 12.50
- Sergio Garcia – 18.50
- Hideki Matsuyama – 21.00
- Rickie Fowler – 21.00
- Jon Rahm – 23.00
- Jason Day – 23.00
- Justin Rose – 26.00
- Justin Thomas – 27.75
The Players Championship Betting Offers
Being one of the higher profile tournaments on the PGA Tour, a lot of bookmakers have offers for existing customers:
- Get a £5 free bet each day – This is an offer from Ladbrokes, available for all customers. Back a player to win with £20, and you’ll receive a £5 free bet each day of the tournament. The bet must be placed prior to the tournament starting. You’ve got until midnight on Wednesday night to put down your qualifying bet.
- Get a £2 free bet each time your player scores 2 – Not as good as the Ladbrokes offer, but Boylesports have some other additional enhancement which makes this more interesting. If you back a player £20 to win the tournament, then Boylesports will give you a £2 free bet each time they score a 2.
- Paying seven places & money back – In addition to the above, Boylesports are paying seven places each-way, plus money back if they don’t win. Back a player to win outright, and if they come 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th you’ll get your money back as a free bet.
- Paying 8 places – Straight forward one; Paddy Power have the best in market offer for each-way bets with eight places
- Money back if your player finishes 2nd or 3rd – Less competitive than Boylesports, but still useful if Winner is your preferred place to bet. Get money back as a free bet up to £25 if your player doesn’t win, but does come either 2nd or 3rd.