TPC Sawgrass will host golfs “Fifth Major”, the Players Championship, in what is one of one of the highlights of the PGA Tour calendar.
As golf fans, we have plenty to be excited about with the Players Championship being steeped in history and providing a unique test of golf.
The Players has it all – a stacked field, a quality golf course, the iconic 17th surrounded by water and a rowdy crowd to add to the drama!
There was a question mark over whether Tiger would tee it up this week, he withdrew last week with a neck strain. He has pulled through and will compete for the big purse, ranking points and the prestigious trophy.
You can pick any star of the sport and they are in the field – nobody wants to miss this event! In fact, all of the world’s top 50 will compete this week.
Sawgrass is not a track that can be overpowered with the driver. With that in mind, I advise looking at players who are consistent off the tee and in command of their iron play.
Recent winners of this Championship include: Martin Kaymer, Jason Day and last year’s winner Webb Simpson. They all fit into the category as strong iron players and have discipline engrained in their game knowing when and when not to attack.
A strategic approach will be paramount this week and those who can plot a route around Pete Dye’s design will be there or thereabouts on Sunday.
The Spaniard has been in scintillating form in recent weeks. He has been a regular feature in the top of Championship leaderboards and is definitely worth backing at a venue he has enjoyed in the past.
Remarkably, Garcia has led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green here four times, this is a sign of his imperious ball striking. When he produced these stats he never finished worse than third.
He has shown signs that his game is in good shape this year and he is definitely the type of player who should relish the challenge at Sawgrass.
After his partner in crime, Molinari picked up the title last week, who better to follow his example this week than Fleetwood?
The Stadium course is a venue that will play to his strengths. The Englishman is patient and knows when to attack and this will give him an advantage over the field.
Last week, he ranked 5th for SG Tee to Green and 12th for SG Approach and Around the Green. These are impressive figures that earned Fleetwood a respectable 3rd place finish. His game is trending in the right direction.
A 7th place finish at the Players last year is a good base to build from and he has a great chance to break his PGA Tour duck this week.
The American is my big outsider this week. He fits the profile of player that performs well here with his game relying on consistency and accuracy off the tee and on approach.
He is playing well at the moment – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, there were only two players ahead of him entering the final round. Although he faded in round 4, his overall performance was encouraging and give him confidence entering the Players.
In 2015, Kisner lost in a playoff at the Players and at Harbour Town. These are both Pete Dye courses, this is an important factor to consider that he enjoys the unique test of a Dye design and has had close shaves at these venues.
Kisner is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, winning on shorter technical layouts. The Players doesn’t suit a bomber and a player like Kisner could fly under the radar this week with a big performance.