The 2022 Players Championship takes place this week at TPC Sawgrass, and our full betting preview breaks down the odds, course, and top picks to win.
Following an exciting weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the PGA Tour shifts to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, for the 2022 Players Championship. Forty-seven of the top 50 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) are in the field. Bryson DeChambeau (No. 12), Harris English (No. 18), and Phil Mickelson (No. 42) won't be in attendance. Two-time champion Tiger Woods will miss this tournament for the second straight year while recovering from last February’s car accident in California. Golf fans will hope to see him return to play at the Masters next month.
SEE ALSO: Masters Picks
Jon Rahm enters the week as the No. 1 golfer in the OWGR, but a slew of players can overtake him with a win this week. Rahm’s looking to improve on last year’s T-9 finish at TPC Sawgrass. Justin Thomas returns as the defending champion ranked eighth in the world. The Players Championship was his last PGA Tour win.
Here are my top outright picks for The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.
The Players Championship Odds
The Players Championship Odds Analysis
Rahm was the betting favorite by the early lookahead odds for The Players Championship. A disappointing T-17 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational raised his odds by Monday morning. Likewise for 2019 Players Champion Rory McIlroy, who tied for 13th last week after rushing out to the first-round lead.
However, sportsbooks are split on who replaces them. DraftKings Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook have Thomas with a share of the best odds to win, while FanDuel Sportsbook has Collin Morikawa as the standalone betting favorite.
Lee Westwood, who was last year’s runner-up, has odds as high as +16000 at FanDuel this week. A T-3 finisher last year, Brian Harman is offered as high as +15000 at DraftKings. Ryan Brehm, who gained late entry to The Players Championship by winning last week’s Puerto Rico Open, has odds as high as +35000 at DraftKings this week.
Value seems to be on Scottie Scheffler following his win at Bay Hill. After moving up to fifth in the OWGR, he has the sixth- or seventh-best odds to win at most top sportsbooks. Louis Oosthuizen, 13th in the OWGR, is just 21st by the odds to win at TPC Sawgrass.
SEE ALSO: Players Championship Expert Picks
TPC Sawgrass Course Profile
Located at PGA Tour headquarters, TPC Sawgrass is one of the most famous courses in the U.S. Designed by Pete Dye, the Stadium Course has hosted The Players Championship since 1982, with major renovations following the 2016 tournament. The course measures 7,256 yards and plays to a par of 72. The greens are composed of Bermudagrass.
Experience matters at TPC Sawgrass, but it’s more the number of reps than top-end results. The course famously favors no single style of play or shot shape. Precise iron play isn’t nearly as important as at most other PGA Tour venues. Driving accuracy far outweighs distance.
Only five holes - including each of the four par 5s - played below par last year, with Thomas winning by one over Westwood at -14. Five other players finished double-digits under par and 20 players shot -7 or better. Only three of those 20 averaged 300 or more yards with the driver. Nine of them hit better than 60% of fairways and 14 hit at least 70% of greens in regulation.
The par 5s are manageable and range from 523 to 583 yards. The par 3s all played over par last year. They range from 137 to 237 yards. Few holes in golf are more famous than the 137-yard, island green 17th. It played to a scoring average of 3.227 last year with no aces and 80 birdies against 62 bogeys, 37 doubles, and 11 others.
The par 4s play from 302 to 481 yards. Three are shorter than 400 yards, and five range from 450 to 500 yards.
The Players Championship Stats
Winning scores have ranged from -5 to -18 since 2000. Five of those scores were -15 or better, and the average winning score was -12.6. Emphasizing the Stadium Course nature of this event, five of the final six holes played above par last year. Thomas played that stretch at even par in Round 4. Four of the previous 11 winners claimed The Players Championship by a one-stroke margin, with two others going to a playoff. Webb Simpson (2018) and Jason Day (2016) both won by four strokes.
Thomas and McIlroy were ranked third and sixth, respectively, when winning this event in 2021 and 2019. Before them, three of the previous five winners entered the week outside the top 40 of the OWGR. Five of the previous eight winners, including Woods in 2013, were once No. 1 in the world. Woods is the only golfer to win this tournament twice since 2000.
In addition to trusting in the world rankings and course history, we'll focus on the following stats this week:
Strokes gained: off-the-tee (accuracy over distance)SG: approachSG: around-the-greenBogey avoidancePar 5 scoringScramblingGreen in regulation percentage: 125-150 yards
We're casting a wide net with our stats this week due to the volatility created by the design of TPC Sawgrass. Previous winners have included long hitters such as McIlroy and Day, but also shorter hitters like Simpson and Matt Kuchar.
The Players Championship Picks
Daniel Berger (+3500 via DraftKings)Sungjae Im (+5000 via DraftKings)Seamus Power (+21000 via FanDuel)
Who Will Win The Players Championship?
DraftKings is trying to play into public perception by hanging an inflated number on Berger this week. The 20th-ranked golfer in the world was last seen blowing a commanding lead at The Honda Classic and finishing a disappointing fourth. Before that, he racked up 10 top-10 finishes across 23 events since the start of 2021, including a win at the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He missed only three cuts in that time, including February's WM Phoenix Open while battling a back injury.
Berger proved a clean bill of health at The Honda Classic while averaging 2.49 SG: tee-to-green and 1.14 SG: approach per round. An unfathomable 3.81 strokes lost with the putter in the final round was the reason for his collapse. For the 2021-22 season, he's still averaging 0.07 SG: putting per round and ranks eighth with 1.96 SG: total per round. His strengths are with his irons, but he's also fourth in driving accuracy and bogey avoidance, first in scrambling, and T-31 or better in par-5 scoring and greens in regulation from 125 to 150 yards.
Berger also has a good history at TPC Sawgrass. He tied for ninth in 2016 and 2021, and he's averaged 1.34 total strokes gained on the field in 23 career rounds.
SEE ALSO: Players Championship Prop Picks
Im played this event in just the last two runnings. He greatly improved on his 2019 missed cut with a T-17 finish last year. He was fourth in the field with 1.06 SG: tee-to-green per round, and he was seventh with 1.15 SG: putting per round. It was his short game that let him down last year, but he's averaging 0.52 SG: around-the-green per round for the 2021-22 season.
His 1.73 total strokes gained per round rank 11th on Tour this season. His 37 measured rounds are easily the most of all golfers ahead of him. The two-time PGA Tour champ is tied for 38th in driving accuracy, third in bogey avoidance and scrambling, and tied for 16th in par-5 scoring.
Coming off a T-20 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Im's offered with odds as low as +4000 at Caesars and PointsBet this week. This is a much higher number than we've typically seen for him this season, but we know the 2020 Masters co-runner-up can hang against elite fields.
FanDuel is offering +21000 odds on Power this week. The 50th-ranked golfer in the world is +12500 at both Caesars and PointsBet, and +13000 at DraftKings. It's an overreaction to a skid of three straight missed cuts, as he previously finished in the top 20 in five straight events, including three top-10 finishes.
Power will make just his second appearance at The Players Championship. He tied for 35th in 2019 and didn't participate last year; however, he returns to TPC Sawgrass as a PGA Tour winner. Despite his recent slump, he's still gaining strokes in all key areas for a total of 1.15 strokes gained on the field per round. He excelled on these greens with 0.74 SG: putting per round in 2019.
The Irishman is an adequate 42nd in driving accuracy but a much more impressive 15th in bogey avoidance. He's 21st in scrambling and 10th in par-5 scoring, and he's T-37 in GIR percentage from 125 to 150 yards.
He's definitely a long shot to claim his second PGA Tour title this week, but his +1000 odds for a top-10 finish at DraftKings are also highly appealing.
Where to Bet on the PGA Tour
Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:
Picks made on 3/7/2022 at 10 a.m. ET.