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Players Championship Betting Preview
From 1977 to 2006, the tournament was held in March after the initial three events moved around to different months in the calendar. In 2007, the PGA Tour restructured the schedule to put more time between the top events. As a result, The Players was moved to May, which had a major impact on the tournament because the course conditions are quite different in the warmer weather.
The Players was moved back to March for the 2019 season when the PGA Championship was rescheduled to be played in May. The return to its traditional date has been well received by the players and should continue to demand all of a players’ skills.
The 2020 Players was canceled amid the Covid-19 pandemic, so the defending champion is Rory McIlroy, the winner in 2019. There have been six multiple winners of The Players, including the great Jack Nicklaus, who won three times at different courses, but not at TPC Sawgrass.
The futures odds closely reflect the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) but not exactly in the same order. The slim favorite at +1200 is Dustin Johnson, the top-ranked player in the OWGR. The 36-year-old two-time major winner and reigning Masters champion has had an impressive 2021 season.
In six events, he has five top 11 finishes but struggled to a tie for 54th in WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession two weeks ago. He hasn’t challenged at the Players in the past, but his tie for fifth in 2019 showed that he might have figured how to work his way around the difficult venue.
2020 U.S. Open champion and the winner last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bryson DeChambeau, is just behind DJ at +1300. The enigmatic player out of SMU has already caused a stir this week, prompting the PGA Tour staff to designate the area to the left of the water hazard on the 18th hole as out of bounds.
DeChambeau, a physics major in college, has been generating a lot of interest in his quest to add distance to his game. After the sixth-ranked player mentioned that he might try to take a different route off the 18th tee, the staff took action in the best interest of spectator safety.
Defending champion and 11th ranked McIlroy is also at +1300, but he’ll need to play better than he has since coming back from the Covid-19 pause last summer. He got off to a torrid start in 2020 but hasn’t been nearly as consistent in the 2021 season.
The next four in the futures odds are the second through fifth-ranked players in the OWGR. Jon Rahm is at +1500, Justin Thomas at +1600 with Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele both at +2000. Because of the many different styles of play incorporated by past winners of the Players, the tournament is generally one of the most difficult in all of golf to handicap.
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