By Greg Stewart
Weather forecast: Thursday warm & sunny with thunder storms, Friday windy & rainy, Saturday some rain and partly sunny, Sunday cold but sunny.
Field: 144 players including 47 of the top 50 ranked golfers in the world rankings
Last 4 winners: 2021 Justin Thomas, 2019 Rory McIlroy, 2018 Web Simpson, 2017 Si Woo Kim
The Tournament built on a $100 bet and a $1 land purchase
The Players Championship will start tomorrow – 10th March 2022 for the 40th edition of the tournament hosted at TPC Saw Grass, and is the only tournament owned by the players of the PGA.
It was the dream and tenacity of then tournament director, Deane Berman who made the Stadium course a reality after the owners of the TPC Sawgrass CC refused to sell their golf course to the Tour and bet that they would also never be able to build their own. Adjacent land owners, Paul & Jerome Fletcher, sold 415acres of land to Berman for $1, after he convinced them to believe in his vision.
The $100 bill, won in the bet, is still on display in the clubhouse as a reminder of Berman’s Tenacity and determination.
Tenacity and determination are two traits any prospective winner must have to stand a chance of winning the unofficial “5th Major tournament”. In laying out my picks for a Sawgrass Winner this has been the key factor. There is much talk about Colin Morikawa but I prefer to go with form and while he had had a few top-5 finishes this year, he finished only at T41 at Sawgrass last year and failed at the Dubai Classic where conditions were tough going. It is the golfing fighters, who I believe, will be in top contention this year.
John Rahm is not world No1 by chance, he is the top ranked golfer in shots gained Tee to Green and in Greens in regulation. Jon finished a T9th position last year and has made every cut in the last 4 outings at TCP Sawgrass. At 4:1 for a top 5 finish and 13:1 for a win on SunBet it is a great value bet for the tournament.
Rory McIlroy did not get the finish he hoped for last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational but was never out of the running with tough conditions at play. The weather conditions should also suit the Irishman and would be my top bet selection for a top 5 finish at 5:1 on SunBet, Rory is at 17:1 for a win on SunBet
Scottie Scheffler, now ranked fifth in the world golf rankings after his win last weekend at the API, is sure to want to keep his momentum going. This young gun has the goods and now added confidence to make a play and tough conditions are a factor he showed great tenacity in last week. At 8:1 for a top 5 finish and 29:1 for a win, Scheffler is a prime bet option on SunBet.
Cameron Smith has the type of grit that makes him another choice pick for me this week. The World No10 has a win to his credit already this season and was superb when he won the Masters last year. Smith is the type of player who will surprise many as he has the variety of stroke play, accuracy off the Tee and sheer determination that could see him end with a top-10 or top-5 finish. He is At 4.35:1 for a top 10 finish and 8:1 for a top 5 finish on SunBet.
Justin Thomas who will be defending his title has had three top 10 finishes that includes two top 5 finishes this season so far. With 15 career victories so far JT is a classy player that will not be afraid to attack the field. He is a determined and well-rounded player who should at least see a top 10 finish if not challenge for the win. He is at 4.5:1 for a top 5 finish and 15:1 for a win on SunBet.