Big challenge in solving TPC Sawgrass and Pete Dye’s masterpiece.
THE PLAYERS Championship 2022
THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
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|Yards (per official scorecard):||7,256|
|Greens:||TifEagle Bermuda; 5,500 square feet on average.|
|Rough:||Celebration Bermuda with over-seeded Ryegrass at 2.5″.|
|Bunkers/Water Hazards:||88/17 (Water in play on 17 holes).|
|Architect(s):||Pete Dye (1981); PGATOUR & Pete Dye (2016).|
|Purse:||$20 million ($3.6 million winner) plus 600 FedExCup points.|
|Defending Champion:||Justin Thomas (-14).|
|Multiple Champion(s) Entered:||None.|
|72 Hole Tournament Record (since 2000):||264; Greg Norman (1994).|
|Course Record:||63; last done OFFICIALLY by Brooks Koepka (Round 4, 2018).|
|Fact of the Week:||The last winner to make this their first TOUR win was Tim Clark in 2010.|
|Fact of the Week II:||No player has ever successfully defended the title.|
|Fact of the Week III:||46 of the top 50 OWGR are entered this week.|
|Fact of the Week IV:||Bryson DeChambeau, Harris English, Kevin Na and Phil Mickelson all have qualified but are not playing.|
- Field of 144.
- Top 65 and ties play the final two rounds.
- Playoff, if necessary: 3 hole aggregate playoff (16-17-18); Sudden Death 17, 18, 17 follows until a winner is determined.
- 3 Year exemption for the winner.
2021-2022 Season Winners
|Fortinet Championship||Max Homa|
|Sanderson Farms Championship||Sam Burns|
|Shriners Children’s Open||Sungjae Im|
|CJ CUP @ SUMMIT||Rory McIlroy|
|ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP||Hideki Matsuyama|
|Bermuda Championship||Lucas Herbert (first TOUR win)|
|Mayakoba Championship||Viktor Hovland|
|Hewlett Packard Houston Open||Jason Kokrak|
|The RSM Classic||Talor Gooch (first TOUR win)|
|Sentry Tournament of Champions||Cameron Smith|
|Sony Open in Hawaii||Hideki Matsuyama (2)|
|The American Express||Hudson Swafford|
|Farmers Insurance Open||Luke List (first TOUR win)|
|AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am||Tom Hoge (first TOUR win)|
|WM Phoenix Open||Scottie Scheffler (first TOUR win)|
|The Genesis Invitational||Joaquin Niemann|
|The Honda Classic||Sepp Straka (first TOUR win)|
|Arnold Palmer Invitational||Scottie Scheffler (2)|
Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details on those who play well here. The piece has been updated within the last month and has EXTRA DETAILS that I’m not going to make redundant below.
|Year/Player/Score * – Playoff||Notes|
|2021 Justin Thomas (-14)||Tied the 36 hole weekend scoring record (64-68) to defeat 54 hole leader Lee Westwood by a shot.|
|2020 No Event||Covid-19.|
|2019 Rory McIlroy (-16)||Won in his 10th PLAYERS attempt and picked up his 15th TOUR victory. First March event since 2006.|
|2018 Webb Simpson (-18)||Broke all of the records except the tournament scoring total in the last May edition.|
|2017 Si Woo Kim (-10)||Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen were three adrift as he won on just his second attempt.|
|2016 Jason Day (-15)||Cruised home by four in a command performance.|
Last Time – Arnold Palmer Invitational
Let’s recap last week before diving in to this massive field!
Thoughts on Chalk (My plays will be obvious)
Jon Rahm (+800):First timer here should be respected but not feared. Interesting to see where his game is after a quiet, frustrating Riviera. T17 as he pounded GIR but didn’t have any luck with the putter.
Rory McIlroy (+1200): Those of you, like me, who are on him this week will thank Rahm for being in the field or Rors would be hovering around that number! Don’t forget he had the best putting week of his life here in 2018. That cannot hurt his mindset! Win. BUT IT STARTED SO WELL!!! At least we hit the First Round Leader at PGATOUR PICK ‘EM! Sigh. T13. Loss.
Viktor Hovland (+1600): IT’S A TRAP! Never finished inside the top 40 here. It’s okay to leave him alone for a week and let him tune up for THE PLAYERS. I have obviously trapped myself! T2 as he finally cracked the code. Man, if he could chip…
Scottie Scheffler (+1600): What bothers him now? Wins then backs it with a top 10 at Riviera. Weird he didn’t play here in 2021 after 2020. Did he have Covid? I can’t remember. Winner in less than ideal conditions. Imagine making 13 bogeys and WINNING! He did. Made all the putts he needed and kept it out of trouble on the weekend!
Hideki Matsuyama (+2500): I can’t figure out how he only has 1 top 10 here from 7 starts. Next best is T18. Best of the bunch was 70 on Sunday to move him up the board to T20. T8 GIR suggests he’s dialed in with approaches.
Will Zalatoris (+2800): Only broke par once here last year even thought he was T10. Broke par TWICE this year (#Trending) but also threw in 77 and 79 for T38.
Sungjae Im (+3000): He loves it at Honda more and we know how that turned out. I’d expect a bounce back this week but I’m not leading that charge. T20 for his best finish in 3 weeks. Proverbial chicken salad week but not to the level gamers expect.
Matthew Fitzpatrick (+3000): WD at Riviera in the Pro-Am with an illness and didn’t play the event. Shame as he was bubbling with form. 3 straight on the bounce here in the top 10 so let’s make it four. Beware the rested golfer? Top 10. Four it is as he cashes T9. That’s four straight years I’ve failed to launch him in OAD at this event hahaha.
33-1 or Worse Select Opinions
Marc Leishman (+3500): I don’t love him blindly here but he’s just been churning out steady performances on TOUR. The news would be if he’s not in the top 20. News made as he closed 78-78 in conditions that I thought would have suited him perfectly. T68.
Keith Mitchell (+4000): T12 or better in his last three on TOUR and has the tools for this set up. Top 10. Skinny win ticket. T61. Fat Loss.
Billy Horschel (+4500): Knockin’. Let ’em him. Top 10. T2 as he shared the 54 hole lead. WIN.
Max Homa (+4500): Can’t set it up hard enough for him. Proper ball-striker. T17 as his extremely solid rate of returns continues.
Russell Henley (+6600): Interesting not to see him at Honda. I’ll be watching intently this week. Proper grinder takes home T13. Noted.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+6600): Only one top 10 on TOUR and it’s here. Not sure there’s value in this. Spectacular 69 Saturday led to T20.
Chris Kirk (+8000): I’m gonna catch it, promise. T5, gettin’ close, fam…
Lanto Griffin (+10000): Lovely form and loves flying under the radar. Another week, another cut made, make it NOYNE STRAIGHT, T52.
Lucas Glover (+14000) – Cut made T74
Dylan Frittelli (+16000) – T42
Beau Hossler (+20000) – Made TWO TRIPLES AND THREE DOUBLES AND CASHED T20.
Cameron Davis (+20000) – Nope, MC.
Sean O’Hair (+30000) – Same as Davis, sadly.
This Week – THE PLAYERS Championship
Well, I hope YOU have this figured out.
Not very many run well here and those who do stick out like sore thumbs.
How about mudders? You got any of them lined up?
What about wind players?
What about Dye course specialists?
What about Dye course specialists in the wind/rain/cold?
Four seasons, four types of golf, one amazing field and more questions than answers for me this week.
The list of winners this century should give you pause.
The list of winners from the last two years should give you hope.
The answer is somewhere between the bulkheads the THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
It’s not long but it’s not short.
It’s target golf but the targets aren’t generous.
You gotta score on the back nine to win but can’t make doubles.
You don’t have to bomb it but you better hit GIR. Or scramble great.
Or putt lights out.
Thoughts on Chalk (My plays will be obvious)
Jon Rahm (+1100): Said earlier this week he loves Pete Dye and his designs so embracing the challenge is the first step. The Spaniard loves to be challenged and this track and the weather coming should make for one hell of an event. The switch should be full on flipped this week. Anything outside of a top 10 would be news. Yeah, he’s that good.
Justin Thomas (+1400): He claims there’s nothing to defend. They’re not taking his trophy back! He’s not wrong and that’s a great way of looking at the present. He stole this event last year from seven back after 36 holes. Nobody has defended. Nobody has come close. He’s cut from a different cloth but history is heavy this week.
Collin Morikawa (+1400): Nothing can stop this man except for maybe a bit of the elements. Closed with 66 on debut last year reinforces his ability to absorb and learn quickly. This will be start No. 2 and that plus a bit of wet overseeded Bermuda might be the defense.
Patrick Cantlay (+2000): Not sure Bermuda is his best surface. When he didn’t cash after going close on the West Coast at Riviera, I was bummed.
Rory McIlroy (+2000): Was almost defiant at his press conference Tuesday explaining how there’s no chance he’s gonna post 79 in Round 1 this time around like he did in defense in 2021. I hope not. He’s bubbling and has no problem on a wet, long slog. I’ll start here with a win ticket.
Viktor Hovland (+2000): The elements of LAST WEEK highlight his skill set. He struggles chipping and putting relative to his peers and doesn’t love golf in Florida (his words, not mine).
Scottie Scheffler (+2500): Has a bit of “shit, why not?” to him. Like this isn’t a big deal and THIS SHOULD BE HAPPENING. He’s a proper grinder and shouldn’t mind any wind when it picks up being a Texan. He might mind with water on 17 holes and just two tournament rounds under his belt.
Hideki Matsuyama (+2800): He’s already done the hard part: winning a major. Free as a bird and playing like it for the most part. Snapped out of a mini-funk with an excellent 70 at Bay Hill last weekend. This will be his eighth try, one over the recent average for winners. Read all about him in my OAD column. I’d expect him to factor. Top 10.
Xander Schauffele (+2800): All the tools and the proper disposition but he’s set an awfully high bar for those of us who are interested. Thought he would bounce at Riviera after not finding a way at TPC Scottsdale. Not clicking just yet but I’ll be back on board at Augusta National.
Daniel Berger (+3000): If he’s my OAD, he’s going in. 3 way action.
33-1 or Worse Select Opinions
Cameron Smith (+3300): Should be fresh as he, like many others, took the first two weeks of the Florida Swing off. Aussies in the elements should be lurking especially with his short game.
Dustin Johnson (+3500): That number will catch some eyeballs. Hell of an event to get back into the swing of things after a lengthy layoff and no Riviera. Weird.
Shane Lowry (+3500): Massive close at Honda gave him a shot to steal it late but fell just short. He won’t be bothered if a grind breaks out and par is a great score on the weekend. I’m going to ride along as well with 3 ways.
Brooks Koepka (+4000): If you like DJ at 35s you’ll love Brooks at 40! Is anyone talking about him this week? No interview request. No new commercial. No Bryson to feud with. Isn’t that his formula? If he’s healthy, which I believe he is, watch out. Top 10 just in case.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+4000): Form is fantastic but firm and fast > soft and wet. Careful.
Billy Horschel (+5000): Form is fantastic as well and it’s a home game. Distraction or ready to make the leap? No top 10 yet here for the Florida native in eight previous.
Talor Gooch (+6600): He’s won in the breeze at RSM. He’s from Oklahoma where it’s never windy. He played in the final group last week. 3 way action.
Abraham Ancer (+7000): Hate this number but love this player.
Jason Day (+8000): Sadly lost his mother to cancer last week. This only goes two ways. I’ll sneak in just in case. Playing well before her death. RIP.
Sergio Garcia (+8000): If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen here. 17 straight.
Chris Kirk (+8000): One more for the Florida T10 or better trifecta! Current form meets very solid course form. Top 10.
Tom Hoge (+125000)
CT Pan (+15000)
Keegan Bradley (+15000)
Mito Pereira (+17500)
Beau Hossler (+22500)
Matt Wallace (+35000)
Brice Garnett (+50000)
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.