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Golf

The Players Championship Preview

The years "first" and "fifth" major are teeing off this weekend at TPC Sawgrass in Palm Valley, FL.

The years “first” and “fifth” major are teeing off this weekend at TPC Sawgrass in Palm Valley, FL. This is one of the major schedule changes in the PGA this year, usually this takes place the second weekend in May but now we get the full Florida swing out of the way in March.  After this we’ll have a few dull weeks before Match Play and The Masters in April, so you’ll see every big name you can here.  Also, this is one of the biggest payouts of the year.  In one and done type of betting, a guy who gets a solo second could still get you a $1,000,000 payout.

Purse: $12.5 million

Winner: $2.25 million

TV Schedule

  • Thursday March 14th: 12:00 PM CST – 6:00 PM CST on Golf Channel
  • Friday March 15th: 12:00 PM CST – 6:00 PM CST on Golf Channel
  • Saturday March 16th: 1:00 PM CST – 6:00 PM CST on NBC
  • Sunday March 17th: 12:00 PM CST – 5:00 PM CST on NBC

Weather

TPC sawgrass weather

Whose Teeing Off

Everybody and their mom is playing this weekend.  Think of a big name, and they are teeing off, nobody is out because of injury.  Even Tiger Woods who skipped last weekend because of a neck injury will be teeing off, and Jason Day who WD last week at the API.  So since everybody is teeing off here, we’ll look at some featured 1st and 2nd round groups with 1st round tee times in the parenthesis.

  • Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Speith (12:59 PM CST)
  • Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas (7:32 AM CST)
  • Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar (8:04 AM CST)
  • Bryson DeChambeau, Bubba Watson, Billy Horschel (7:43 AM CST)
  • Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia (7:53 AM CST)
  • Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Tony Finau (12:48 PM CST)
  • Tiger Woods, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed (12:27 PM CST)

Recent History

Webb Simpson

This is kind of an odd tournament for winners. You have a lot of big names who’ve won here and played well, but you also have many unknown or young guys who come out of nowhere to win. Here’s the list of the winners since 2010.

  • 2018: Webb Simpson (-18)
  • 2017: Si-Woo Kim (-10)
  • 2016: Jason Day (-15)
  • 2015: Rickie Fowler (-12)
  • 2014: Martin Kaymer (-13)
  • 2013: Tiger Woods (-13)
  • 2012: Matt Kuchar (-13)
  • 2011: K.J. Choi (-13)
  • 2010: Tim Clark (-16)

Other notable names who have won here are Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott.

The Course

TPC Sawgrass is a 7,250 yard Par 72 course that was designed by Pete Dye in 1979.  It features Bermuda greens and are some of the smallest on tour.  That means good wedge play around the greens is going to be crucial. As far as hazards go, there are sand traps and water all over is this course, obviously #17 is famous but the final hole can also get plays with those hazards. This course is going to play a lot different than it does in May, when this tournament is usually played.  The first thing to note is the weather.  It’s going to be noticeably cooler, which means the golf ball is not going to fly as far. Usually in May the temperatures in May are going to be in the mid 80’s here, but Saturday and Sunday’s are looking like mid 60’s.  There also has been a lot of rain so the greens and fairways will be a little softer for guys to control the ball, and chipping should be a little easier for the guys. Lets take a look at some of the notable holes. Sorry front 9, you suck, but you don’t, but you do.

#12 302 Yard Par 4 

#12 TPC

A very inciting hole here for the players to try to make in one.  Every guy on tour can drive the ball 300 yards, it’s just whether its smart do to it here.  This hole was redesigned before the 2017 so this is still relatively new to the players.  There is a long bunker on left hand side that rides almost the whole fairway to the green, on the other side of that is a little pond guys will have to take into consideration. You don’t want to go right either, or else you’re gonna be in the sticks.  So you need to be accurate with your iron off the tee, or land soft if you try to drive the green.  The green has several tiers and almost everywhere slopes towards the water.

#16 523 Yard Par 5

Hole #16 TPC.PNG

Yet again we are featuring the final three hole of a course, but TPC is well deserved here. Easily one of my favorite three finishing holes on tour.  This par 5 is pretty iconic to me, we always get the great view of the players hitting their second shot into the green with that tree hanging over the fairway.  That tree causes many problems, guys have to decide whether they can get over it, and land the ball how they want on the green, or to hit it short and take the tree out of their third shot. Either way this is an eagle opportunity for guys who can get it there in two, avoid the tree, the three green side bunkers (which are small) and the water on their right. Just like a lot of the greens here at TPC Sawgrass, it slopes down towards the water.  If this pin is ever short on the left hand side, look for almost everyone to go at this hole in two.

#17 137 Yard Par 3

#17 at the Players

I’ll say it. The most famous Par 3 in golf. It’s honestly not that hard of a hole, if you hit it on the green, you’re most likely going to par. That sentence felt stupid to type out, but it needed to be said.  But there’s not tricks to this hole, the green doesn’t have tons of tiers or weird breaks on it that are going to confuse the shit out of players. The hard part here is what club to hit.  They’ll mix up the yardages here to guys have to hit in between clubs.  This year being played in the early spring, colder, and rainy weather guys will have to club up compared to what they’re used to in the past. I really want to see someone fall into the water when their trying to lineup the putt on the fringe.

#18 462 Yard Par 4

hole #18 TPC 2.PNG

Love the finishing hole here, reminds me a lot of #18 at Pebble Beach but it’s a sharper dog leg here with a strict barrier between the water and field of play. Good sized par 4 here that some guys will try to take the dog leg out of this hole, and end up short.  Lefty’s have a nice little fade shot they can drop right into the middle of the fairway here.  You can’t hit the ball too far though, or else you’ll out-drive the fairway and end up in the trees. There’s one green side bunker on the back left and a few grass bunker on the front right. Round 4 expect this pin to be placed short left that’ll make guys make the decision to go safe, or pin seek and risk going into the water.

Picks

jason day

One & Done: This is one of the hardest tournaments to pick because nobody really play consistently well year in year out, they schedule change will make an impact, and there’s history of guys coming from nowhere to play very well.  Also this is one of the biggest payouts of the year with the winner getting $2.25 million.  Need to do well here, a top 5 finish is a BIG payout for one & done. So many names here to choose, I love the form Rory and Jason Day have had.  If anyone, Rory has the best consistency here out of the big names.  Molinari seems to finish top 10 or miss the cut, Tiger has obviously won here twice and played well in other years, Jason Day has won here, Stenson has played well, Justin Thomas has been playing great and checks all the boxes. However, I’m looking to make up some ground here and I know my guy is destined for the top 10 based on my picks (check out below).  So I am going to go with Jason Day this week,who WD last week.  I did my research and believe his back will hold up.  He’s top 10 in Stroke Gained: total, short game, around the green, and putting. I really wanted to pull the trigger on DJ or Speith but we’ll wait on those two. Day was playing very well before last week.

Betting Winners: Jason Day (+4000), Phil Mickelson (+6600), Brendan Grace (+16000)

Two of the best players in the world have decent odds here, why not go with them.  Grace has never finished better than 42 here but one of the stats I love here is Stroke Gained around the Green, in 20 rounds here at TPC Sawgrass Grace ranks 9th. He’s also had a decent start to the season, and seems to come out of the bushes to be in contention at tournaments.  Why the fuck not?

Top 5: Chris Kirk (+4000), Rafa Cabrera Bello (+1000)

Kirk has great stats for TPC, in 20 rounds here he ranks top 20 in Stroke Gained: Approach, Ball Striking, Tee to Green, and Total. Bello has played well of late and also has good stats here. In three tries he has finished 4th and 17th.

Top 10: Kevin Na (+1400), Kyle Stanley (+2500)

Kevin Na has three top 10s here and is ranked #1 in Strokes Gained Putting and Ball Striking. Kyle Stanley finished 4th here two years ago and is ranked top 10 in Strokes Gained Ball Striking and Off the Tee, he’s also 11th in Tee to Green.

Daily Fantasy Lineup

  • Si Woo Kim
  • Kevin Kisner
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Justin Rose
  • Adam Scott
  • Jordan Speith

One & Done History: Went with Rickie Fowler last week, dude barley made the cut and had an awful first day.  Then he gave everyone who picked him some blue balls by going -5 under through the first seven holes on Sunday, climbing all the way to T11 before he shit the bed again the rest of the way and finished at T40.  My streak of Top 10 then shitty week continues. So I have two guarantees for you this week: Rickie Fowler will finish in the Top 5 and my pick will finish in the Top 10.

  1. Waste Management Open: Matt Kuchar – $293,467 (T4)
  2. Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Shane Lowry – $0.00 (Missed Cut)
  3. Genesis Open: Hideki Matsuyama – $177,600 (T9)
  4. WGC-Mexico: Jon Rahm –$65,000 (T45)
  5. The Honda Classic: Sergio Garcia – $183,700 (T9)
  6. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rickie Fowler – $35,490,000 (T40)
  7. The Players: Jason Day –
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