Dan Box
By Dan Box

This week marks the fifth biggest week of the year in men's golf, as the PGA Tour's flagship Players Championship marks the latest of the elevated events which provide stronger fields and huge prize funds.

There's a total of $25 million up for grabs this week, with a whopping $4.5 million going to the winner. The golf season is really hotting up as we approach the first major in the year, and with the likes of Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy all picking up victories already this year, this is the perfect event to keep that momentum going.

Last Year

Cam Smith held his nerve despite some difficulties in the closing stretch to record what was, at that point, the biggest victory of his career. Despite finding the water on his final hole, Smith was able to get up and down in clutch fashion from 60 yards to secure a bogey and a one-stroke win over Anirban Lahiri.

The Australian won't be in the field this week as he gave up his PGA Tour membership to join LIV Golf following the FedEx Cup playoffs last year, although he did joke that he could be there as a spectator as he lives in the area, which would be pretty interesting!

The Course

The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most iconic and instantly recognisable on the PGA Tour's rota, from the manicured fairways to the white sand, wooden bleachers and of course, the island green on the 17th.

A Pete Dye design, it was first used to host The Players in 1982 and is a Par 72 which measures 7,256 yards. It was designed specifically for this event and so it is tailor made to provide drama and tension, particularly on the back nine.

17 gets all of the attention, but the back nine also features a couple of other holes which are just as interesting and can be more important for those who want to be right up there on the leaderboard.

The redesigned par-4 12th, usually playing under 300 yards and with water all down the left hand side, is accessible for all golfers in the field and is a great chance to make an eagle or a birdie for those chasing or protecting a lead.

Similarly, the par-5 16th plays just over 500 yards and is easily reachable in two. The lake sits all the way down the right hand side of the hole and stretches around the back of the green, whilst there are huge oak trees and grass bunkers guarding the left side of a sloped green for those who bail out.

Get your tee shot in the fairway however, and these guys will be looking at birdie more often than not.

Finally, the 18th hole is perhaps the best on the course, both visually and tactically. It is an intimidating right-to-left dogleg played around the lake, with huge mounds and thick rough up the right for those who aren't brave enough to take on the water.

If you want an even closer look at the course, check out Golf Digest's handy hole-by-hole walkthrough here...

The Field

The Players typically boasts one of the strongest fields in all of golf every year, and 2023 is no different with 43 of the top 50 in the World Rankings set to tee it up at TPC Sawgrass.

This is headlined by the supergroup of Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler, with the top three players in the world grouped together for the first two rounds.

Patrick Cantlay is next on the list when it comes to bookmaker's favourites, closely followed by fellow Americans Justin Thomas and Max Homa, who is at a career-high seventh in the World Rankings.

The all-European trio of Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick and Shane Lowry are also paired together, with Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald sure to have a keen eye on the progress of three of his biggest stars this week.

Golfalot Tips

  • Justin Thomas @ 20/1

Thomas has been knocking on the door this year without truly looking like winning at any point, with his best finish being fourth place in Phoenix.

He won this event back in 2021 and the stern test that Sawgrass provides should be a good match for his precision ball-striking and stellar iron play.

  • Rickie Fowler @ 66/1

The popular American has been in much better form over the last few months since making a number of changes in his swing, making every cut so far in 2023 including three top 20 finishes.

He returns to this event after failing to qualify last year, but should have good memories having won this event back in 2015. Could be a decent-priced option for an each way bet.


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