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The PLAYERS Championship
TPC Sawgrass – Par 72 – 7,250 yards

A strong 10th place finish for Luke List – one that could have been even better were it not for a late Friday meltdown – was about all the good news we got from last week's selections , but it's on to this week's tour stop and it's the first “big” event of the season.

The PLAYERS Championship is always a great tournament for a wide variety of reasons (talented, deep field, great closing nine holes etc), and this year's event shouldn't be any different. Being pushed back into March does potentially bring a bit more wind/weather into play for the guys to deal with, so that's something to keep an eye on as well this week.

Everyone knows that water is the story of TPC Sawgrass and there will be plenty of golf balls going for a bath throughout the week. Yet, at the same time, all of that water can help some guys 'frame' the shot better visually, not allowing themselves to think it's alright to miss a little right or left etc. If you can do that and perhaps get a little lucky in terms of avoiding the drink, you'll find your name near the top of this leaderboard come Sunday, as there are some very gettable holes too if you make the correct shot.

Accuracy in the approach game (and a little putting) is what you'll want to look for at Sawgrass, as length is nice to have but not a prerequisite to have. Guys that can bomb it have won this prestigious title before, but so have shorter hitters like Fred Funk and Tim Clark, emphasizing just how critical it is to avoid big numbers here.

Finally, while length may not be a prerequisite to have success here, it appears that strong recent form may be. The past seven champions of this tournament all had a Top 25 finish in their most recent start prior to this event. Good form breeds plenty of confidence, and to play well at TPC Sawgrass and avoid all that water, you've got to be confident in your shot selection every time over the ball.

So with all that in mind, let's get to this week's list of golfers:

Odds per -

Golfers to Watch

Xander Schauffele (+2500) – There's plenty to like with Schauffele's game when his name pops up as a potential fit at an event, and considering he finished 2nd here a year ago in his inaugural PLAYERS start, you'd think Schauffele likes the way this course fits his eye too.

Xander is a guy who's already made a point of being in contention in as many of the 'big' events as he can, with the Tour Championship, the Tournament of Champions, and the WGC-HSBC Champions as three of his four career wins. The Players is about as big as they come for events that aren't a Major, and it would be quite fitting to add this tournament title to his resume.

Obviously having a 2nd place finish here a year ago doesn't hurt things, as Schauffele is one of the best in the game on the approach once again (11th in Strokes Gained: Approach). His weakest statistical category – around-the-green – isn't the biggest concern here if guys are locked in and hitting GIR's, and Schauffele's as likely as anyone to fall into that groove.

It's such a big name field that there was always going to be guys listed ahead of Schauffele in price, but +2500 is still a great price as he's got enough skill and confidence to see it all the way through in fields like this. Having five straight Top 25 finishes in his last five starts (including one win) puts him in that historical group of winners with a recent Top 25 as well.

Patrick Cantlay (+4000) – Cantlay is one of the names I specifically had in mind when discussing how so much water could actually help guys frame shots, simply because he's someone who wants to avoid chipping and bunkers as much as possible.

Cantlay has improved quite a bit in his scrambling, but it's still by far the weakest part of his game. The good news there is that if you are scrambling a lot at TPC Sawgrass, chances are you aren't essentially “in” the tournament in terms of winning it. Timely scrambling is necessary, but consistent scrambling is lucky to make the weekend.

If that's how Cantlay's week turns out then so be it, but if he uses his strong approach game (24th in Strokes Gained: Approach) to knock out green in regulation after green in regulation, this could be his breakout event. Plenty others players have used a win at The PLAYERS as a springboard for the rest of their careers, and no one would deny that back injuries robbed plenty of potential from Cantlay's career already.

At +4000, the price is right to back Cantlay finding a way to be at or near his best this week and potentially earn that breakthrough victory. With 6th and 15th place finishes in his last two starts, the recent form angle is there for Cantlay as well.

Kevin Kisner (+8000) – Kisner is a guy who's shown glimpses of being a winner over his last four starts, finishing between 23rd and 28th in all of them. It's one bad hole here, or a stretch of a couple rough holes there that has killed momentum within rounds for Kisner of late, but putting it all together shouldn't be that far away.

And while TPC Sawgrass hasn't treated Kisner that kindly of late – with two missed cuts and a 56th the last three years – there was his runner-up finish in a lost playoff to Rickie Fowler back in 2015 here. The nature of this course can leave you putting up a wide range of numbers here throughout your career, and considering two of the last four winners here missed the cut at The PLAYERS the previous year, I wouldn't hold that against Kisner at this price this week.

The PLAYERS Championship - per
Dustin Johnson 12/1
Rory McIlroy 12/1
Justin Thomas 16/1
Brooks Koepka 20/1
Francesco Molinari 20/1
Justin Rose 20/1
Rickie Fowler 20/1
Tiger Woods 20/1
Tommy Fleetwood 25/1
Xander Schauffele 25/1
Bryson DeChambeau 28/1
Jon Rahm 28/1
Adam Scott 33/1
Jason Day 33/1
Sergio Garcia 33/1
Hideki Matsuyama 40/1
Ian Poulter 40/1
Patrick Cantlay 40/1
Patrick Reed 40/1
Paul Casey 40/1
Rafael Cabrera Bello 40/1
Webb Simpson 40/1
Gary Woodland 50/1
Henrik Stenson 50/1
Jordan Spieth 50/1
Lucas Glover 50/1
Marc Leishman 50/1
Matt Kuchar 50/1
Tony Finau 50/1
Billy Horschel 66/1
Louis Oosthuizen 66/1
Luke List 66/1
Matt Wallace 66/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 66/1
Phil Mickelson 66/1
Si Woo Kim 66/1
Bubba Watson 80/1
Byeong Hun An 80/1
Cameron Smith 80/1
Charles Howell III 80/1
Jason Kokrak 80/1
Keegan Bradley 80/1
Kevin Kisner 80/1
Tyrrell Hatton 80/1
Zach Johnson 80/1
Adam Hadwin 100/1
Alex Noren 100/1
Charl Schwartzel 100/1
Daniel Berger 100/1
Emiliano Grillo 100/1
Keith Mitchell 100/1
Sungjae Im 100/1
Branden Grace 125/1
Brandt Snedeker 125/1
Chesson Hadley 125/1
Haotong Li 125/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 125/1
Aaron Wise 150/1
Beau Hossler 150/1
Cameron Champ 150/1
J B Holmes 150/1
Jhonattan Vegas 150/1
Kevin Na 150/1
Martin Kaymer 150/1
Russell Henley 150/1
Russell Knox 150/1
Ryan Moore 150/1
Chez Reavie 175/1
Abraham Ancer 200/1
Bud Cauley 200/1
C T Pan 200/1
Charley Hoffman 200/1
Danny Lee 200/1
Harold Varner III 200/1
Jimmy Walker 200/1
Lucas Bjerregaard 200/1
Thorbjorn Olesen 200/1
Austin Cook 250/1
Danny Willett 250/1
Eddie Pepperell 250/1
Kevin Tway 250/1
Kyle Stanley 250/1
Brian Harman 300/1
Jason Dufner 300/1
Stewart Cink 300/1

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