The 45th PLAYERS Championship comes this week with the biggest purse of any event on Tour.
Sawgrass is Pete Dye's most famous design due to the famous 17th hole which led to a deluge of island green designs across the world. But what often gets overlooked is how difficult Sawgrass is and how it counters wreckless bombers out of the event.
Every year, I get complaints from readers because the top of the leaderboard during the tournament lacks starpower and I'm asked why that is.
First, all of the 10 par-4's at Sawgrass are doglegs and many of them feature blind or semi-blind tee shots. Secondly, there is an even split of 5 dogleg rights and 5 dogleg lefts. So, it's more of a course about accuracy off the tee and in particular being able to hit tee shots at different directional angles.
Sawgrass is also the one course that may favor long hitters when it is dry and short hitters when it is soft (usually it's the opposite). Jason Day's 2016 victory showed that as he was able to effectively lay up off the tee and then hold the greens by hitting sky-rocket approach shots. I'm not sure what the conditions of Sawgrass are like, but it's been pretty windy the past month and thus I'm guessing it's going to play a little firm.
Usually, the 18th hole is the final critical hole on the course. In recent years, the 17th has been a critical holes as the top contenders have really played 17 well in the past few years (think of Rickie Fowler in 2015).
Projected Winning Score: -13
Justin Thomas +1,400
Jordan Spieth +1,400
Justin Rose +2,800
Henrik Stenson +2,800
3JACK DARK HORSE PICKS
Bryson DeChambeau +4,000
Daniel Berger +10,000
Rafael Cabrera Bello +10,000
Brian Harman +12,500
Russell Knox +15,000
Byeong Hun An +15,000