Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for THE PLAYERS Championship
2019 PLAYERS Championship Fantasy Preview
Sometimes, golfers win tournaments be gliding effortlessly through their 72 holes, outplaying the field and taking care of business with the minimum of fuss.
Other times, a player will crash through the field on the Sunday like a tsunami.
It was the latter option that Francesco Molinari opted for at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, and sat in T17 after 54 holes even he must have thought the game was up.
But the Italian’s 64, the best round of the tournament, propelled him up the leaderboard, an ultimately it proved enough with others losing their heads all around him.
Neither Rory McIlroy or Matt Fitzpatrick, the third-round leaders, could close the gap, while close challengers such as Matt Wallace and Aaron Baddeley fell largely by the wayside.
Tiger Woods of the United States hits a shot during the final round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at on February 24, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Once again, DFS gamers and bettors were offered another glimpse into the psyche of a winner, with Molinari draining a monster 43-foot putt on the last to extend his lead. At the time, it was a clutch putt of epic proportion.
It was his fourth win worldwide since May 2018, and just goes to emphasize the gap between those who have the mental toughness to get the job done and those who, well, don’t.
Speaking of mental toughness, the field will need plenty of that this week if they are to triumph in golf’s so-called ‘fifth major’: THE PLAYERS Championship. Hosted by the iconic TPC Sawgrass, it’s great to have this fantastic tournament back in its original March timeslot to serve as a mouth-watering prelude to major season.
Last Week’s Fantasy Results
When the dust settled on Sunday it was Molinari who came out on top, fresh off the club manufacturer change to Callaway. His final round charge was something to be admired.
Francesco Molinari of Italy smiles during a press conference following his two stroke victory in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Our top pick was Rory, who was in prime position to win heading into Sunday before carding a 72 on the final day. His Sunday stumble was disappointing because the “W” was clearly in his sights after Saturday.
In total, six of our seven main picks including four of our five sleeper picks made the cut, with a total of six picks making the top 25.
The 2019 PLAYERS Championship Field
It’s the veritable who’s who of golf teeing up at Sawgrass this week.
McIlroy, Johnson (D), Koepka, Thomas, Rose, DeChambeau and Day – providing he overcomes the back injury that kept him out of the Arnold Palmer – will all look to get their hands on the iconic trophy, as will, health permitting, Tiger Woods, who sat out the Bay Hill trip with a neck injury.
Justin Rose of England plays his second shot on the par 4, first hole during the second round of the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club on March 08, 2019 in… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
There’s a stack of former winners in the field too, including the defending champion Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson, as well as 2017’s surprise winner Si-Woo Kim.
The European Tour charge – which was so well represented at Bay Hill – will once again be led by Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia, while the likes of Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel and Jimmy Walker will be looking to go one better than their T2 returns of 12 months ago.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson will make an incredible 26th trip to TPC Sawgrass; he only has one top-20 to his name in his last ten visits.
This Week’s Course Preview
The fifth major requires a host venue befitting such as status, and happily TPC Sawgrass has got game in spades.
The architect is the maniacal Pete Dye, and while arguably this isn’t his most devilish work there is still plenty to confuse the minds of the greatest golfers on the planet. Bryson DeChambeau might need to pack an extra protractor in his bag this week….
Unlike the modern method of toughening a golf course – adding yards and yards to each hole, TPC Sawgrass has been tweaked but remained true to its original set-up for the best part of four decades.
It may be a short track by contemporary standards at roughly 7,200 yards for its Par 72, but the clever doglegging holes – no two consecutive holes play in the same direction – ensure that bombers don’t have things all their own way.
Webb Simpson of the United States plays his shot from the 17th tee during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach,… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
There are lots of water hazards, deep British-style bunkers and waste areas that will punish any hitting that is even slightly off-line.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Bermuda greens are among the smallest on Tour, and run at a fair lick of around 13 on the stimpmeter in all weathers.
TPC Sawgrass features a number of famous holes, including the drivable Par 4 at 12 where the green slopes dramatically into the drink, but none captures the imagination quite like 17, home to the iconic island green. This Par 3 is arguably the most legendary hole in golf; surprising, really, given that a 137-yard approach shouldn’t warrant such focus.
But with swirling cross winds, a baying amphitheater of spectators and the ghosts of yesteryear, it’s no wonder the players can temporarily lose their minds.
It’s always special when the PLAYERS Championship rolls around so we can enjoy Sawgrass once more; not bad for a stretch of land purchased for $1 by former commissioner Dean Bema prior to course construction!
Weather Forecast for Ponte Vedra, FL
It could be a game of two halves in this stretch of Florida this week, with the early forecast indicating an agreeable end to the working week followed by an unsettled weekend.
Thursday looks set to be a fairly nondescript day, with the sun occasionally popping through the clouds to warm temperatures to around the 72 degree mark. Note the wind speeds though: from 7 mph at 8 am, they could increase to 15 mph by mid-afternoon.
There’s a similar theme on Friday, with the mercury touching 75 degrees and the breeze again increasing from 6 mph at the start of play to 11 mph for the afternoon wave.
Saturday looks set to be cool, windy and potentially wet, with showers expected at some point during the day.
And Sunday could be interesting too, with the eventual champion likely to brave 13 mph winds, showers and temperatures of no more than 63 degrees.
Last Year’s Results from THE PLAYERS Championship
Last year’s edition of THE PLAYERS Championship played out in extraordinary fashion.
Webb Simpson, in the midst of a four-and-a-half year win drought, laid waste to TPC Sawgrass. The former US Open champion fired a second round of 63 to lead by five at the halfway point, and he extended that margin even further on the Saturday to seven strokes.
Such was the lack of confidence in Simpson’s ability to close out that the betting floor took plenty of money on Dustin Johnson, a whopping nine shots back, to overturn the deficit, but the leader did not crack.
Indeed, he played the opening seventeen holes on Sunday in -1, and it was only at the last – with victory assured – where the wheels came off with a double bogey.
It truly was a staggering achievement, and one of those rare once-in-a-lifetime performances that most can only dream of.
So can anyone emulate Simpson’s achievement this week?
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for THE PLAYERS Championship this Week
As a tournament of some prestige, it’s great to see the DFS sites treating THE PLAYERS Championship with the respect it deserves with a varied and lucrative slate of contests.
- PGA $1M Fifth Major Classic: Got a spare $10? Why not invest it in this contest, where the winner will trouser a cool $250k come Sunday evening. The first 30 players home will win a minimum of $1k.
- PGA $400k Club Twirl: If you want to battle it out in a smaller field contest, for $44 here you could tackle 10k other players for the chance to win a rather handy $100,000!
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for THE PLAYERS Championship
Avoiding trouble: that’s about the size of the task at TPC Sawgrass!
Last year’s edition was a largely wind-free affair with soft greens, and that made matters rather easier than normal: Webb Simpson’s winning mark of -18 was the lowest here in more than 20 years.
Quite how this year’s edition pans out we will have to see, but clearly there could be some low scores if the rain does come at the weekend: there were countless rounds of 66 or better last year, although that again was something of anomaly.
Typically, length off the tee is an advantage, and between 2014-17 all four champions at Sawgrass ranked inside the top-20 for Driving Distance.
But Simpson opted for a different strategy, choosing to take lots of irons off the tee (he found 82% of fairways) and thus keeping his GIR count nice and high.
And when he did miss the green, which is inevitable given their small size, Simpson would rank fifth for Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, so his short game was in fine order too.
Ally that with a hot putter, and it’s little wonder that the winner was so untouchable.
Looking back to the 2017 vintage, we see a 1-2 for Si-Woo Kim and Ian Poulter too; neither of whom we would describe as bombers by any means. So, we can kick to the kerb any ideas of distance being relevant (or otherwise).
One stat that is key is Scrambling, aided by some strong action with wedges in hand. Greens and fairways will be missed, and so extricating yourself from tricky positions is key.
Course form is another red herring as well, with Si-Woo only playing Sawgrass once prior to his win (finishing T23), while Simpson’s formline at this track read 16-66-MC-15-MC-69. So again, not necessarily a sure sign of success.
But then, the former US Open champion had recorded a trio of top-tens in his prior six starts worldwide, so clearly form – and confidence – will be key in taming Pete Dye’s masterpiece this week.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win THE PLAYERS Championship
You must be a Premium Member to view our exclusive fantasy golf picks.
Already a member? Sign in Here.
Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2018-2019)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
Cover Photo via Instagram