Preview & Picks
Course Review (TPC Sawgrass – Ponte Verda Beach, FL)
THE PLAYERS Championship was established in 1974 as the “Tournament Players Championship.” In 1982, the event was moved to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Verda Beach, Florida. The spectator-friendly course is loaded with hazards. Between the bunkers and water hazards, it makes for a very challenging course (as with many of the Florida courses on the PGA). The Island Green on hole 17 is the one you’ll hear about all weekend, as it tends to really make or break golfers throughout the event.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Review and THE PLAYERS Championship Preview
We very nearly crushed our record for net profit in a tournament last week. We finished +390 on the week, but were just a few finishing positions away from a +30 unit week. Our winners were Tyrell Hatton T-5 at +500. Chris Kirk T-20 at +240 and Keegan Bradley T-20 at +350. We barely lost on Hovland to win (3rd), Bezuidenhout T-10 (20th), and Poulter T-40 (42). Instead of our most successful week ever, it was a mild +390.
Golf Betting is very hard. You actually stand a better chance betting fewer players than you will betting a spread like ours.
Metrics to track this week
This week, we’re looking at the elite ball strikers, as well as accurate drivers. A lot can go wrong long before players even get to the greens at TPC Sawgrass, so these areas will be crucial this week.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Past performance at TPC Sawgrass
Good luck this week!
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Off the Tee – One Player to finish in the top 40
Joel Dahmen +230
Dahmen is a bit of a late bloomer on the PGA Tour. The 34 year old scored his first PGA Tour win last season and now sits 51st in the FedEx Cup standings. He’s only missed two cuts this season, but he hasn’t exactly played well in his last two events (62nd and 74th). He has five T-40 finishes on the season and has played this event twice in the past (finishing 12th and failing to make the cut).
Part of the reason why we like Joel this week is his Driving Accuracy (11th). He’s also 12th in GIRP on the year. His Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (54th) and Strokes Gained Approach (56th) also translate well here. A lot of people are sleeping on Dahmen this week. Don’t be one of them.
Middle of the Fairway – Two Players to finish in the top 20
Brian Harman +450
Brian Harman was a nice score for us in January when we picked him T-20 at +275 at the American Express (finished 3rd). It was an unexpected finish for Harman then, and he’s honestly done little since then for us to trust him this week. After a bad follow-up to the Amex, Harman finished 65th at Pebble Beach, but 14th at the WM Open in Phoenix. He failed to make the cut at the Honda, so he’s a good value play here. In his career here, he has three top 10 finishes, including a 3rd place finish last year.
Harman is having a really rough year, following a strong 2021 season. The good news is, his Driving Accuracy is great (21st) and his Sand Save Pct has been pretty decent (56th). Unfortunately, he isn’t Putting or killing it around the green like he was last season. The good news is, he’s bound for some positive regression soon. It’s hard to imagine how solid he was a year ago and where he is now. Still, we know he can get it done.
Alex Noren +350
Alex Noren has cashed for us on multiple occasions this season. He’s also performed well at TPC Sawgrass in the past. Over four events, Noren has finished 17th, 10th, and failed to make the cut twice. This season, Noren has made each of his prior four cuts, finishing 39th, 6th, 48th, and 5th. Taking the wet conditions into account for this weekend, Noren should be well suited to excel here.
Alex Noren is not a guy who jumps off the page when you look at his stats. His Scoring Average (49th), Sand Save Pct (44th), and Strokes Gained: Putting (43rd) highlight what is an otherwise unimpressive spread of numbers. Noren has done it here before. He can certainly do it again, especially considering the elements and his recent form.
Edge of the Green – Three Players to finish in the top 10
Justin Thomas +120
Thomas’ win here a year ago may have been a tad fluky. However, he certainly doesn’t lack the ability to finish strong here again. A few days ago, Thomas had much higher odds, but he’s crept towards the top as the days have gone by. Maybe there’s something we don’t know. What we do know is, Thomas has one win here, a 3rd place, and an 11th place finish here. JT has five top 10 finishes in just seven total events this season.
JT is 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 18th in Strokes Gained: Off the tee, 4th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 7th in Strokes Gained: Total. Justin is 10th in Driving Distance, 6th in GIRP, 6th in Scoring Average, and 1st in Birdie Average. Coming off two weeks rest, JT should be geared-up and ready to roll this week. A T-10 finish at this event shouldn’t be too difficult, especially considering how well JT has played this season.
Rory McIlroy +180
Rory is back…possibly. He’s one of the top three guys on tour when he’s on, and we saw a glimpse of that last week. After Day 1 at API, Rory was atop the leaderboard. Now, Rory will be looking at wet conditions this week (he’s really good in them, btw). Over his career, Rory has been very strong on this course. Over a three year stretch, Rory had three top 10 finishes here. He also won this event a few years back.
On the advanced numbers, Rory doesn’t have a large enough sample to qualify. He’s driving the ball extremely well (326 YPD) and he’s performed very well overall this season (1st, 18th, 10th, 13th). With his resume on this course, we like Rory to reload again this week and get out to another quality start on a course he loves.
Si Woo Kim +700
Si Woo Kim shocked the world as a 21 year old in 2017, winning THE PLAYERS Championship that season. Last season, Si Woo finished 9th here. In five appearances at this event, Si Woo has yet to be cut (knock on wood). On the year, he’s 35th in the FedEx Cup standings, but hasn’t finished better than T-12 in an event since the Farmers Open in late January. He’s a bit of a sleeper call this week, but one who could pay-off your entire card if he can nail a T-10 here.
The advanced metrics don’t indicate Si Woo will do especially well here, but that’s why we have his prior performances here as reference. Kim is 21st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 30th in Birdie Average. Though he’s performed well here in the past, we are going to need him to get it together this week if we expect a T-10.
Short Putt – Three Players to finish in the top 5
Shane Lowry +900
We really like European players when it comes to bad weather. In case you aren’t aware, Ireland tends to get a lot of rain. With wet conditions this week (as we’ve stated already), Shane Lowry should be at an advantage. He has only played in four PGA Tour events this year, but he finished 2nd just two weeks ago at the Honda Classic, the first of the Florida courses this season. Last year, Lowry finished 8th at THE PLAYERS, so he’s an ideal “past performance here/recent form” kind of guy this week.
Though he’s nowhere near qualified for the advanced statistics (only 4 PGA Events this season), his sample size wouldn’t tell us much. Prior to the 2nd place finish at the Honda Classic, Lowry was cut at the HP Open and the WWTC at Mayakoba. If he hits this week, he could also payoff the entire card.
Sergio Garcia +800
Sergio is always good for a a few big performances each year. He always seems to do well at this event. In 20 years, he’s failed to make the cut just twice. Sergio has five T-5 finishes here, one victory (2008), and finished 9th here last season. Throw-in some bad weather and we have a perfect upset cocktail this week in Ponte Verda. At 8:1, it’s clear we’re aiming for a big payoff this week.
Sergio is surprisingly 4th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 47th in Driving Distance, 26th in Sand Save Pct, and 40th in Strokes Gained: Putting. Sure, he’s been a bit erratic in Driving Accuracy this season, but the weather should lead to more iron play this week, thus reducing a major weakness for the 42 year old Spaniard. If T-5 is too ambitious for you, Sergio has more reasonable odds at T-10 (+400) and T-20 (+175). Both should be great plays as well (we will do all three).
Collin Morikawa +400
There are some really good reasons most of the experts out there are picking Collin Morikawa this week to win. One reason is the prep time. Collin has now had over two weeks to prepare for this event. He’s also finished no worse than 7th in any event this season. In his five PGA Tour events this season, Morikawa has finished 2nd, 7th, 5th, 5th, and 2nd. He’s only played this event once, but his 41st place finish was completely due to his third round 76. His strong 66 in the final round bodes well coming into this year’s event.
Collin Morikawa is perhaps the brightest young American golfer on tour. He’s still only 25 but has five PGA Tour victories on his resume (a PGA Championship in 2020 and The Open Championship title in 2021 are among them). Currently, Collin is 1st in Scoring Avg, 1st in Eagles (Holes per), 5th in Birdie Avg, 2nd in GIRP, 12th in Driving Accuracy, 8th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 4th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 4th in Strokes Gained: Putting, and 1st in Strokes Gained: Total.
Morikawa to win this week is nice, but he’s a much safer play to finish T-5.
In the Hole – One Player to Win
Jon Rahm +1000
Jon Rahm has made every cut at this event over the course of his career. Last season, he finished 9th at this event. The problem for Rahm this season has been his putter. If he can put even moderately well, Rahm stands a great chance to win this week. He’s been great this season (placed better than 21st in every event). Despite the “great” play, we know he can be phenomenal.
Jon Rahm is nowhere near the same player he was last season. Last year, the man was a T-5 machine each week. He was atop nearly every Strokes Gained category and easily the most consistent player on Tour for the season. This season, he’s abysmal around the green (177th) and Putting (135th). On the plus side, Rahm is 1st in GIRP, 4th in Driving Distance, 1st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 2nd in Approach, 1st in Tee to Green, and 3rd in Strokes Gained: Total.