What: The Players Championship
Where: TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
When: May 10-13
Defending Champion: Si-Woo Kim
FedEx Cup Points: 600
Purse: $11 million
Last week at the Wells Fargo Championship we saw Jason Day take home another PGA victory. It was his second of the season and 11th on tour. His two-stroke victory netted nearly $1.4 million, plus 500 FedEx Cup Points. Day will be back in action along with a top flight of pros in this week’s Players Championship.
Wells Fargo Results
Up next we have The Players Championship held at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. Si-Woo Kim took home the victory last year at just 21-years-old. It marked the seventh time in the last 10 years that an international player got the win here.
The Players Championship is often referred to as the Tour’s “fifth” major, as it sports the second highest purse (tied with the Masters) on tour and even gives away an extra 100 FedEx Cup points for a total of 600 — same as the traditional four major championships.
It will be the first time this season where every golfer in the top-50 OWGR competes, a great treat for golf fans, which gives us Tiger, Phil, and Rickie in one group, and Rory, Spieth, and Thomas in another. An all-around game is needed here this week. This Pete Dye course requires a great approach, steady putting, and exceptional ball-striking. Once you’ve got your approach down, the putting comes with it.
This Week’s Players Championship Picks
Jason Day: With two wins under his belt this year, we can finally start rolling with Day with regularity. He came out of last week with a win and still ranks first on tour in strokes gained: putting. A slight concern this week will be his approach, but once he gets there, his patience on the greens will reward him. Day was the winner here just two years ago in 2016.
Rory McIlroy: Rory finds himself at the top of the ranks again, as this week’s preview may look a lot like last week’s. Once Rory figures out how to turn in even three great rounds and one average round he will be able to get the job done. He’s been hurt by a single bad round in his last two events. McIlroy has made every cut here since 2013 with three of those being top-10s.
Patrick Reed: Playing the absolute best golf of his life right now. Reed is certainly not the best player in the world by any stretch, but when you’re playing as good as he is you get rewarded here. He comes in to the Players Championship with six top-9s in his last six starts on tour and has two top-25s here at TPC Sawgrass.
Justin Thomas: Chasing the world’s number one ranking has been a tough task for Thomas, which can be noted as a slight concern, but the hunger still remains. Perhaps the most talented player on tour, Thomas finished third here just two years ago. He also ranks fifth in strokes gained: tee-to-green, ninth in strokes gained: approach-the-green, and second in scoring average.
Dustin Johnson: The perfect skill mix you’d want at Sawgrass. Crushes it off the tee (first off-the-tee and first tee-to-green), and putts extremely well. Throw in his top-30 ranks in approach-the-green and GIR percentage and you’ve got a stud. Having not played since April 15 seems to have pushed him out of the spotlight.
Rickie Fowler: Seems to be becoming a boom-or-bust type here, but that doesn’t eliminate how talented he is. Fowler won the Players Championship in 2015 to go along with a T2 in 2012, but he’s finished outside the top-60 in his other appearances. Fowler has four top-37s in his last five starts with a second-place finish at the Masters, which could light some more fire.
Tiger Woods: Maybe surprisingly one of the best ball-strikers on tour, Tiger’s putting leaves a lot to be desired. His recent results shouldn’t be read into too much if you’re a “past results” truther, since Tiger has two wins here in the past. It’s also worth noting that Tiger is T12, T2, and T5 at courses in Florida this season.
Bryson DeChambeau: Time to give credit where credit is due. DeChambeau is currently the fourth-ranked golfer in Fantrax standard leagues and has put up 155.83 fantasy points per event this season. He’s making his debut here, but he’s faired well at Pete Dye courses. He has a very impressive three top-4s in his last four events.
Henrik Stenson: Stenson comes in with three top-6s in his last three individual stroke-play starts and leads the tour in both SG: approach-the-green and GIR percentage. He took the win here in 2009 and has the third-most earnings all-time at the Players Championship.
Adam Hadwin: His win at Copperhead could prove to be a similar style of victory if he were to breakout again here. Hadwin ranks 25th in SG: tee-to-green and seventh in SG: around-the-green, which shows his great ability to make it to the green and then play well around it. Hadwin is a perfect 13-for-13 in cuts made this year and hasn’t finished outside of the top-43 in seven starts.
Chesson Hadley: He comes in with five straight top-20 finishes and a fourth-place rank in SG: approach-the-green. The 30-year-old has already played in 17 events this season making 15 cuts and finishing in the top-10 six times. You also wouldn’t think Hadley ranks sixth in standard Fantrax golf leagues.
Kyle Stanley: His second-place rank on tour in GIR might be enough to get him into your lineup. Already with eight top-25s this season, Stanley has notable finishes in his last five times out with a T14 at the API and a T13 last week.