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|Si Woo Kim||60/160/1||E/W
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Date of Tips: 08/03/2022
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (11:00 08/03/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
Golf’s so-called fifth Major is held this week at the TPC Sawgrass course in Jacksonville. The Players Championship is held at this course in Florida, close to the sea every year so good course form is both very important and generally quite reliable.
Because of the importance of the tournament, Bookmakers are more generous than usual with Skybet and Boylesports offering EW for 11 Places while William Hill are offering 9 Places.
We want to back in form players who also have a good course record EW at these advantageous each-way terms.
First on the list is Hideki Matsuyama who has excellent course form over the last twenty rounds at Sawgrass since 2015 averaging 70.9. Matsuyama has been in excellent form already in 2022 having won the Sony Open in Hawaii and finished top 10 in the Phoenix Open just two weeks ago. The Japanese star also has two Top 10 finishes in this event to his name and of course, won the US Masters last year at Augusta.
Next up is Adam Scott – the current World No.34 has been in top form this year so far with three Top 10 finishes already with the highlight an impressive T4th at the Genesis Invitational just nine days ago. The Australian knows what it takes to win at Sawgrass having won this event in 2004 and he has a host of good finishes in recent years including a T6th in 2017 and T11th in 2018.
Si Woo Kim is also well worth an interest at big odds this week. With two finishes in the Top 11 at the Farmers and the American Express Open the Korean goes into this week in decent form and has played great golf at Sawgrass in the past. Notably when winning in 2017 and also last year when T9th at 8 under par.
The Players Championship is not an official golf Major but is frequently referred to as the fifth Major due to it’s value and importance. The four Golf Majors are :
US Masters – played at Augusta every year
US Open – venue changes each year
USPGA – venue changes each year
Open Championship – played on a circuit of links courses round the UK and the 2022 Open Championship will be held at St Andrews in Scotland.
Rory McIlroy will defend his 2019 Players Championship title this week and the World No.11 will need to improve his all-round game if he is to become the first player in history to make a successful defence of the richest prize in golf. With the 2020 Players having to be cancelled after Round 1 this is a long-awaited return to the Stadium Course at Sawgrass and following the late withdrawal of Brooks Koepka, 48 of the World’s Top 50 players will be amongst those aiming to win at this iconic venue in golf’s “5th Major”.
Last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational Championship will certainly give some good leads on those players finding their form at the right time and the event at Bay Hill certainly gave us some great entertainment as Lee Westwood only just failed to hold off Bryson DeChambeau in a thrilling finish. DeChambeau is clearly a leading contender for the TPC Sawgrass and his odds have been reduced to a best of 14/1 following his gutsy win. He finished seven shots behind McIlroy two years ago in the Players when tied 20th and whilst it would be no surprise to see him play well again, the odds just are not attractive enough in a field of this calibre.
The same argument applies to Tournament favourite Dustin Johnson who is top-priced 12/1 but Johnson has stumbled by his own standards so far in 2021 with form figures of T11-T8-T54 in his last three outings.
Sawgrass features relatively small Bermuda grass greens and the course requires a player to be super accurate with their iron play and of course, putting is paramount. There is some leeway here on many holes for wayward drives and driving accuracy may not be a critical factor e.g. in 2019 McIlroy hit less than 60% of fairways but was still able to shoot 18 under par!
The fact is that Sawgrass allows for all player types to prosper so the Players is a magnificent but very open tournament. It’s a difficult event to predict with all sorts of types winning and course specialists are few and far between.
Over the years there have been some big upsets here, none more so than when Si Woo Kim landed the biggest win of his career in 2017 but also Webb Simpson, Ricky Fowler, Martin Kaymer, KJ Choi and Matt Kuchar are big priced winners in the last decade.
Kim was the youngest ever winner of the Players back in 2017 showing amazing composure to win at the age of only 21. His appearances in the tournament since then have been modest although he did make the cut in 2018 and 2019 before shooting 65 in Round 1 last year before the event was cancelled. He has already won on the PGA Tour this year with a final round 64 allowing Kim to win the American Express at La Quinta in January. It’s a big ask and he is certainly inconsistent but at 100/1 and therefore 20/1 odds for a Top 10 finish Kim is a speculative first pick for the 2021 Players Championship.
Our next selection is always a controversial figure but at odds of 35/1, Patrick Reed is certainly worth an interest. Reed is the World No. 8 ranked golfer and has already won this year with his victory in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Prior to missing the cut in last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Reed finished a respectable ninth in the Workday Open at the Concession Club. Whilst his Players Championship form is not the best he has finished 22nd in 2017 and 24th two years earlier Reed is still improving and has the game to win on any course.
Another player who could perform well at Sawgrass this year is South African Louis Oosthuizen. He has course form with a 2nd place finish in 2017 and a T28th in 2016 his best otherwise. Oosthuizen is very experienced and consistent in the bigger events with his third position in last year’s US Open his highlight of 2020. He has shown glimpses of form in his three Tournaments in 2021 finishing T29-T11-T6 in the Farmers, Phoenix and Workday Opens. At odds of 55/1 Oosthuizen is a solid each-way bet with Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook.
Our final selection this week is the somewhat hot-headed Billy Horschel. In the hope that Horschel leaves his club throwing and arguing with spectators behind and is able to find the consistent form he was showing prior to Bay Hill last week, he rates worth an interest at 80/1 again with Paddy Power and Betfair. Horschel had started 2021 well with a T7 in the Sony Open in Hawaii and T2 in the Workday before last week’s missed cut which led to him making the headlines for the wrong reasons. Horschel does however have a very consistent record in the Players Championship with a T13 in 2015 his best to date.