2023 THE PLAYERS Championship Odds, Expert Picks: Jason Day, Viktor Hovland & Shane Lowry Fit TPC Sawgrass
Via David Cannon/Getty Images. Pictured: Jason Day of Australia plays his tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 02, 2023 in Orlando, Florida.
Click arrow to expand THE PLAYER Championship odds via PointsBet
|Si Woo Kim||+5000|
|Min Woo Lee||+17500|
|Byeong Hun An||+35000|
The PGA TOUR heads to TPC Sawgrass to play in one of the most prestigious and important events of the season: THE PLAYERS Championship. Often referred to as the fifth major, the importance of a PLAYERS victory to the legacy of a golfer can’t be overlooked.
TPC Sawgrass is a par-72 measuring 7,245 yards and featuring Bermudagrass greens. Golfers must be patient in attacking this Pete Dye course.
With trouble lurking at every turn, the strokes can add up quickly. With a par-5 16th that is a true risk-reward hole and the famous par-3 17th island green, the only safe bet at TPC Sawgrass is a bet on an exciting finish.
THE PLAYERS Championship field is often referred to as the strongest field of the year — and with good reason. There are 144 in the field, including 43 of the world’s top 50 players in the OWGR. Tiger Woods will not be playing in the event.
THE PLAYERS is an exceptionally volatile event that has never seen a back-to-back winner. There will most definitely not be a repeat winner this season, as last year’s champion Cameron Smith has taken his talents to LIV Golf.
Past Winners at TPC Sawgrass
- 2022: Cameron Smith (-13)
- 2021: Justin Thomas (-14)
- 2019: Rory McIlroy (-16)
- 2018: Webb Simpson (-18)
- 2017: Si-Woo Kim (-10)
- 2016: Jason Day (-15)
- 2015: Rickie Fowler (-12)
5 Key Stats for TPC Sawgrass
Let’s take a look at five metrics key for TPC Sawgrass to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.
1. Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Approach has historically been far and away the most important and predictive stat at THE PLAYERS Championship. With water everywhere, golfers can’t afford to be wild with their iron shots. Not only is it essential to avoid the water, but it will also be as important to go after pins and make birdies because scores can get relatively low.
Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds
- Max Homa (+26.4) (+2200)
- Tony Finau (+25.4) (+2500)
- Tom Hoge (+25.2) (+10000)
- Xander Schauffele (+23.8) (+2200)
- Jon Rahm (+23.4) (+800)
2. Good Drives Gained
This statistic is perfect for TPC Sawgrass. Historically, driving distance hasn’t been a major factor, but since the date switch to March, it’s a bit more significant. During this time of year, the ball won’t carry quite as far, and the runout is also shorter.
Driving accuracy is also crucial due to all of the trouble golfers can get into off of the tee. Therefore, players who are gaining on the field with good drives will put themselves in an ideal spot this week.
Good Drives Gained Over Past 24 Rounds
- Justin Suh (+29.9) (+21000)
- Collin Morikawa (+29.7) (+2500)
- Nate Lashley (+27.9) (+65000)
- Russell Henley (+24.5) (+11500)
- Aaron Rai (+20.1) (+34000)
3. Strokes Gained: Total at Pete Dye Designs
TPC Sawgrass may be Pete Dye’s most famous design, and for good reason. The course features Dye’s typical shaved runoff areas and tricky green complexes. Pete Dye specialists love TPC Sawgrass and should have a major advantage this week.
SG: Total (Pete Dye) per round over past 24 rounds:
- Shane Lowry (+1.8) (+4000)
- Corey Conners (+1.7) (+6500)
- Sungjae Im (+1.6) (+3500)
- Adam Scott (+1.4) (+10000)
- Keegan Bradley (+1.3) (+5000)
4. Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
Prototypical ball-strikers have dominated TPC Sawgrass. With past winners like Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, it’s evident that golfers must be striking it pure to contend at THE PLAYERS.
SG: Ball Striking Over Past 24 Rounds
- Scottie Scheffler (+42.5) (+1000)
- Rory McIlroy (+38.0) (+850)
- Tony Finau (+36.8) (+2500)
- Xander Schauffele (+33.3) (+2200)
- Jon Rahm (+32.1) (+800)
5. Strokes Gained: Par 5
Par-5 efficiency is extremely important at TPC Sawgrass. With all four of the Par-5s under 575 yards, and three of them under 540 yards, a good amount of the scoring needs to come from these holes collectively.
Last year’s winner, Cameron Smith, was third in Par 5 scoring in his past 24 rounds leading into the event.
SG: Par 5 Over Past 24 Rounds
- Jon Rahm (+21.9) (+800)
- Rory McIlroy (+17.7) (+850)
- Patrick Cantlay (+17.4) (+2000)
- Collin Morikawa (+17.4) (+2500)
- Justin Thomas (+16.0) (+1800)
THE PLAYERS Championship Model Rankings
Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (30%), Good Drives Gained (20%), SG: Total Pete Dye (17%), SG: Ball-striking (20%) and SG: Par 5 (13%).
- Tony Finau (+2500)
- Scottie Scheffler (+1000)
- Jon Rahm (+800)
- Collin Morikawa (+2500)
- Patrick Cantlay (+2000)
- Xander Schauffele (+2200)
- Rory McIlroy (+850)
- Will Zalatoris (+2800)
- Corey Conners (+6500)
- Tyrrell Hatton (+3300)
- Gary Woodland (+17000)
- Jason Day (+3500)
- Jhonnatan Vegas (+25000)
- Viktor Hovland (+2700)
- Sungjae Im (+3500)
THE PLAYERS Championship Outright Bets
Viktor Hovland +2800 (DraftKings):
Being on Viktor Hovland last week was a frustrating experience. Among the players in the top 10, Hovland was the worst (-1) on the par 5s for the week and seemingly had every opportunity to take control of the tournament on Sunday before a mind-boggling water ball on 16 ruined his chances for good.
However, in golf betting you can’t let emotion cloud your judgement. I’m going back to him once again for THE PLAYERS.
Looking past the mental mistake, Hovland had a great week striking the ball. The 25-year-old gained 6.3 strokes off the tee, which was the most he’s ever gained in a tournament in his career. He also gained 3.3 strokes on approach and has his golf swing in rhythm. His 10.0 Strokes Gained: Ball Striking was second in the field, trailing only Max Homa.
Hovland had a strong showing at last year’s PLAYERS Championship. He led the field in ball striking and finished in ninth place, so the course clearly fits his eye. If the Norwegian can piece it together and avoid trouble around the greens, he has the talent to do incredible things in the sport.
Pick: Viktor Hovland Outright
Jason Day +3400 (DraftKings):
While he’s yet to win, Jason Day’s 2023 resurgence is undeniable. In his five starts this year, Day’s worst finish has been 18th. The former No. 1 player in the world has been extremely consistent in all facets of his game and has seemingly recaptured his putting stroke, which was one of the major reasons he was so dominant from 2015-2017.
The Australian has played extremely well at TPC Sawgrass throughout his career. He won THE PLAYERS back in 2016 and also has three additional top-10 finishes in the event. Day’s success at TPC Sawgrass resembles his success on other Pete Dye tracks over his career. The more recent success hasn’t been there at Dye designed courses, but going back 75 rounds, Day ranks second behind only Rory McIlroy in Strokes Gained: Total on them.
The comeback for Day has been impressive, but he needs to capitalize on his strong form with a victory. The 35-year-old is seemingly in the best physical shape he’s been in for years, and this sets up perfectly to contend at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Pick: Jason Day Outright
Shane Lowry +5500 (BetRivers):
While some will view last week as a letdown for Lowry, I’m viewing it as more of a positive based on his past history at Bay Hill. Prior to last week, he had missed four consecutive cuts at the event. He finished in 67th last week due to a horrible 80 on Saturday, but his other three rounds were all under par.
The Irishman now heads to a different style of course in Florida where he’s had a good deal of success. He finished eighth in 2021 and 13th in 2022 at TPC Sawgrass and enters this week in solid form having gained greater than 5.8 strokes from tee to green in four of his past six starts.
Lowry is a player who’s capable of winning big events. He’s a major champion and won another premier event last year at Wentworth, demonstrating his ability to seize the moment if he gets deep into contention on the weekend.
TPC Sawgrass is a shorter course that has some similarities to those he’s played well at in the past such as Harbour Town Golf Links. Both courses were designed by Pete Dye. On Dye tracks, Lowry ranks first in the field in Strokes Gained: Total in his past 24 rounds.
Forget his rough Saturday round last week; Lowry is a perfect course fit and has the mental fortitude to win an event down the stretch against anyone in the field.
Pick: Shane Lowry Outright
Tommy Fleetwood +8500 (FanDuel):
It’s difficult to envision Tommy Fleetwood winning on U.S. soil after years of him failing to do so, but at these odds I’ll take one more shot on him at a course where he’s played great throughout his career. In his past four starts at TPC Sawgrass, Fleetwood has a 22nd, a fifth and a seventh-place finish to go along with one missed cut in 2021.
While the results aren’t quite there, Fleetwood has quietly gained strokes on both approach and tee to green in every start this year. He should relish a tough test in what may be windy conditions. His weakness of late has been the putter, which cost him five strokes to the field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Given that he’s historically been a strong putter, especially in Florida, I believe he’s due for some positive regression this week.
He hasn’t contended regularly on the PGA TOUR, but when he has, it’s happened at big events. Outside of the four majors, it doesn’t get any bigger than THE PLAYERS, so let’s fire “Tommy Lad” up one more time here at Sawgrass.
Pick: Tommy Fleetwood Outright
Justin Suh +21000 (FanDuel):
Once an incredibly hyped prospect, Justin Suh is beginning to come into his own in 2023. In his past two starts (both in Florida), Suh has finished fifth and 24th and is showing signs of being the elite putter that he was known for in his college career. In his past four starts, he’s gained more than four strokes putting in three of them, including 4.3 last week at Bay Hill.
He’s also gained strokes on approach in those past four starts, including 6.2 strokes with his irons at PGA National. His Florida form is encouraging as a longshot at THE PLAYERS.
TPC Sawgrass should be a great fit for Suh. Driving accuracy will be paramount, and the 23-year-old ranks first in the field in Good Drives Gained in the field in his past 24 rounds.
While first-timers typically don’t win here, Si Woo Kim broke out as a star with his 2017 PLAYERS victory at just 20 years old (it was his second start at the course).
At long odds, it’s worth taking a shot on the star that Suh could become with a PLAYERS win.
Pick: Justin Suh Outright
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