This week marks the 47th playing of the Players Championship after the event was canceled after the opening round due to COVID-19 concerns in 2020. Since 1982, the tournament has been held at TPC Sawgrass, the Pete Dye design that features the famous island green on the par-3 17th hole.
All but 11 of the previous Players have been won by golfers that also won at least one major championship. That’s a tribute to the quality of the golf course and the depth of the fields, generally considered the deepest of any tournament played on any professional tour.
For the 2021 edition, 49 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings are in the field. Only Brooks Koepka will be absent from that group, as he withdrew earlier this week due to an injury to his right knee. Had the four-time major champion been healthy, he would have been among the favorites in what is sometimes called the “fifth major.”
Another player with odds of +3600 and who also finished in the top 10 in the 2019 Players is Hideki Matsuyama.
Betting Lines at TPC Sawgrass
The top-ranked player in the world, Dustin Johnson, is also a slight favorite in the futures odds at +1200. Johnson has cooled off a bit from his torrid start to the season and hasn’t really contended at TPC Sawgrass, although he has managed four consecutive top 17 finishes, including a tie for fifth in 2019.
Bryson DeChambeau, the winner last week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and reigning U.S. Open champion, is right behind Johnson at +1300, along with the defending champion from 2019, Rory McIlroy. Jon Rahm at +1500 and Justin Thomas at +1600 complete the top five.
Tommy Fleetwood has been trying to regain his form from a couple of years ago and is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory. The 30-year-old Englishman is coming off a tie for 10th in last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, despite a closing 77 in windy conditions.
The four-time European Tour winner and 2018 Ryder Cup team member has finished in the top 10 in each of the last two Players Championships, with a tie for fifth in 2019. Fleetwood has odds of +3600 to win this week.
Another player with odds of +3600 and who also finished in the top 10 in the 2019 Players is Hideki Matsuyama. The 29-year-old from Japan is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour and has had a solid but unspectacular 2021. He also finished in a tie for seventh in the 2016 Players and is due for a breakout performance.
Jason Day is in the process of coming back from injury problems and has shown some signs that he is making progress. He has a couple of top 10 finishes in the current season, the most recent a tie for seventh at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, a tournament where he has had a lot of success.
TPC Sawgrass is another one of those places, as Day has recorded four top 10s, including a win in 2016 and an eighth-place tie in 2019. The 12-time winner on Tour and 2015 PGA champion has odds of +4800 this week.