THE PLAYERS Championship
Defending Champion: Jason Day
Touted as the 5th major of the year, THE PLAYERS Championship is the most star studded field of the season with 46 of the top 50 players in the world competing. THE PLAYERS Championship, similar to the Masters, is played at one course and one course only, and that course is TPC Sawgrass. Home of the iconic 17th Island Green, Sawgrass is said to be in the best condition it has ever been in according to the likes of Jordan Spieth and Florida native Billy Horschel. With a perfect course and a stellar field, this is a golf fans dream! Expect tons of drama come the weekend, especially once the final groups hit the home stretch of 16, 17, and 18.
FORE THE PLAYERS Championship Storylines
Day to Day
While there has never been a back to back winner at THE PLAYERS, defending champion Jason Day is in a great spot to do become the first. As my DK Obvious Pick of the Week, I believe Day will be in the mix on the weekend and with everything surrounding his mother and it being Mother’s Day on Sunday the good karma should be flowing for Day and his family.
Stars are out at Sawgrass
Boy Oh Boy do we have a deep field this week! With 24 of the top 25 players in the world playing this week this is the first tournament of the year we really get to see the best of the best competing against each other (DJ included). We may finally get to see the real powerhouses of the sports such as DJ, Rory, Spieth, Rickie, and Day all at the top of the leaderboard on the weekend competing for one of the most elusive trophies in golf. Regardless of who takes home the beautiful crystal trophy.
Unlike the Masters coverage, the featured groups for Thursday and Friday on PGA Tour Live are AWESOME!
The #FedExCup No. 1, No. 2 and defending champion will be grouped in Rounds 1-2.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 10, 2017
“Better Than Most”
The famous Island Green, Par 3 17th Hole, at TPC Sawgrass is just that, better than most. With the iconic “better than most” call during the 2001 PLAYERS Championship taking place on this green, there is no better way to describe this golf hole. One of the most iconic holes in the game of golf, will provide drama all week from possible hole in ones like Rickie in a Wednesday practice round to Sergio putting it in the drink TWICE on Sunday.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 10, 2017
Luckily you can follow along with the action on the 17th all week on Twitter.
— Twitter Sports (@TwitterSports) May 2, 2017
Go for Broke? Or Lay Up?
The newly renovated, now driveable, Par 4 12th hole will create some difficult choices for players whether to try to drive the green or lay up. If the tee boxes are moved up (whispers of Thursday and Saturday) the hole will be playing a measly 305 yards to the middle of the green, however as you can see the green is heavily guarded with a new pond down the left side of the green. It will be interesting to see how these players attack this hole.
Take a 360 tour of the newly renovated 12th hole with 2016 @THEPLAYERSChamp winner Jason Day!
⬅️ swipe ➡️ pic.twitter.com/O8xxiGKEqk
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 9, 2017
How did Jordan Spieth play the new drivable par-4 12th hole during today’s practice round? “I lipped out for a 1.”
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) May 9, 2017
THE PLAYERS Championship Prediction
Rory McIlroy (+1000)
Between the new $100 million equipment deal with TaylorMade and his new marriage, everything is coming up (as if he needs more) Rory and I think in a star studded field, Rory takes the (wedding) cake this week. Not to mention when I heard he was carrying a 1 iron in the bag this week I got legit giddy. Not to mention McIlroy is on the record saying in all his years of testing clubs, “I’ve never been this excited about equipment as right now”, which seems like a pretty good indicator he feels comfortable with the switch coming into this week. Rory has finished in the top 10 four times this season in only 5 PGA Tour starts, which is pretty decent imo. In the right mindset and form to really attack this course Rory is my pick this week at THE PLAYERS.
Darkhorse of the Week
Brooks Koepka (+3500)
Five Top 25 finishes, including two 2nd place finishes, Koepka is right on the doorstep of getting a W this year. With the definite firepower to compete with the big boys, I would not be shocked to see Koepka in the mix this weekend. Also, not only can Koepka win you some money, but if he gets a hole-in-one this week Michelob Ultra is giving away thousands of free beers (http://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/19350077/fans-win-2280-cans-beer-brooks-koepka-fires-ace).
THE PLAYERS Championship is a Must Watch for any golf fan, especially with this star studded field. Enjoy the coverage and some serious weekend drama!
Follow me on Twitter (@mattmarks19) for live updates and highlights from THE PLAYERS.