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The Players Championship Betting News and Notes

The Players Championship Betting News and Notes

The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass Betting Preview
By Alf Musketa

The Players Championship, sometimes known as the fifth major, is held each year at the famed TPC Sawgrass golf course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. This course much like the Masters and Augusta National can be the main story behind the event. The par 3, 17th hole with the island green is arguably the most famous hole in all of golf, but how the players tame that hole and avoid the other 24 water hazards will be the key to winning this week.
Rain has fallen hard in the Ponte Verdra Beach/Jacksonville area; nine inches to be exact by last Saturday afternoon. It flooded much of the golf course and the water levels around the 17th and 18th holes are still being pumped out. The PGA Tour canceled Monday's practice rounds and spectators were not allowed on the grounds. Despite the early setbacks, according to golf course superintendent Tom Vlach, they will be ready with firm and fast conditions. TPC Sawgrass has state of the art equipment, sub air flow system pumps for greens and drainage tiles throughout the fairways.
There have been several withdraws from The Players this week, almost all of them are from the European Tour: Peter Hanson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Paul Lawrie, George Coetzee and Richard Sterne are the most prominent names. They have opened the door for American golfers who relish a chance at the games best field on Tour: Eric Compton, Luke Guthrie, Jerry Kelly, Brian Stuart and Richard H. Lee. Among those mentioned I believe Guthrie has the best shot. (see below)
Let's take a look at a few other players who might take home the coveted Players Championship crystal this coming Mother's Day.
Phil Mickelson 25-1
As delightful and surprising as it was to watch UNLV's Derek Ernst win the Wells Fargo Championship last week, it was as equally painful to watch Mickelson collapse once again in the closing stretch of a tournament. After having only missed two putts inside 10 feet all week and with a two shot lead with four holes to play, he bogeyed two of the last three holes and missed tying the eventual leaders and getting into the playoff.
One thing that we do know about Mickelson is that when he plays well leading up to a big tournament he fares well in that event. We didn't expect Mickelson to play well at Quail Hollow especially after having not teed it up since the Masters. But he practiced plenty and came in with a good attitude and stuck the ball very solidly. It would not surprise us to see him win his second Players Championship this week.
Graeme McDowell 45-1
G-Mac is coming into this year's Players Championship on a roll. He won his last PGA Tour tournament the RBC Heritage Classic at the tight and narrow Harbour Town Golf Links two weeks ago. His winning score of -9 under par was quite the achievement considering most of that weekend had winds in excess of 25 miles per hour. G-Mac does one thing very well, he finds the fairway. A former U.S. Open winner and now RBC winner is the kind of player that should play his way around the TPC Sawgrass course far better than most in the field. He ranks seventh on the PGA Tour in the Driving Accuracy statistical department.
Rickie Fowler 60-1
Fowler was the runner-up at last year's Players Championship. He has the ball striking and putter to win at TPC Sawgrass. Last week we expected a much better finish at the Wells Fargo Championship where he was the defending champion. However, Fowler loathed the damaged greens at Quail Hollow, could not get his putter working and did not enjoy trying to defend his title under the bad conditions. This week at the Players, the greens have been cut eight times per day since the rain stopped and will run at 12 on the stimpmeter.
Luke Guthrie 225-1
This kid from Champaign, Illinois has all the tools to win soon out on the PGA Tour and what I like most about his game is his swagger and attitude. Young guns like Guthrie, Ernst and Billy Horschel, who come out of college with enormous talent, game, and length off the tee, have no fear of the golf course. Guthrie has never played in the Players Championship, but that won't stop him from knocking on the door. He has two Top 10 finishes combined with five Top 25's already this year and a text book swing. He ranks 19th on Tour in birdie average.

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Re: The Players Championship Betting News and Notes

The PLAYERS Championship Preview and Picks
By Matt Fargo

The PGA Tour heads back to Florida this week for the "Fifth Major", THE PLAYERS Championship. "THE PLAYERS" is capitalized for a reason since this is THE Championship for the PLAYERS and a lot of them covet this tournament more than any of the four real Majors. That may sound narcissistic but this game is about the players and this is exactly what this tournament is about.

While a lot of the current regular stops on tour value experience, TPC Sawgrass and Augusta National are arguably the two biggest venues where experience matters the most. Check out this stat from the PGA Tour. The average number of starts before a victory here is just over 7 so just like Augusta, it takes a few years to win here, not including the 2002 win by Craig Perks.

Three years ago was the first year since 1996 that TPC Sawgrass played under par and overall, it ranked 28th out of 52 stops on tour in difficulty. Two years ago, it played even easier. Last year though it came back to 72.47 which was fifth highest among the 20 par 72's. It is a course that rewards accuracy but at the same time, scramblers can have success as long as their misses are in the right spots. Knowing where these spots are comes from experience and as mentioned, that is the biggest factor is success here.

When you think of TPC Sawgrass, you think of the 17th island par three, arguably the scariest 130-something shot in golf. It is definitely a risk-reward hole and getting out of there with a par is huge going into 18. Why? The 18th at Sawgrass is the second-toughest closing hole on tour going back to 1983. We have seen many PLAYERS won and lost on these final two holes and that is what it should all be about.

With this being such a prestigious tournament, the field is full of big names with the top ten in each of the OWGR and the FedEx Cup Standings in the field. Additionally, nine past PLAYERS champions are here along with 25 Major winners and 20 World Golf Championship winners. This makes for an exciting event that should again come down to the final holes on Sunday.

Trying to defend his title will be Matt Kuchar (+3,000) and these odds are pretty tasty. He has not missed a cut this year, he has three medal play top tens and prior to his win here last year, he placed in the top 20 three times. But all is not perfect. Since his win at the Accenture Match Play, he has only one top ten.

Lee Westwood (+2,500) has not won a Major but this would get him back into the talks of being the best player in the world without one. He is hot right now as he has three top tens in his last three starts and all have gotten better, from a T10 to a T8 to a T4. He has fared well at Sawgrass with three top tens including a T4 in 2010.

Phil Mickelson (+2,500) is a former champion as he won here in 2007 and he has not missed a cut in his last 11 starts at Sawgrass. He has missed just one cut this year and he let his second win of the season get away last week at Quail Hollow as he bogeyed two of the last three holes to miss the playoff by just one shot.

Jason Day (+4,000) has had a lot of time to reflect on his Masters meltdown and he should be fresh and ready to go as he has not played since the RBC Heritage. He has three tops tens this season in medal play events and while he missed the cut here last year, injuries prevailed, he had a T6 here in 2011.

Bo Van Pelt (+4,000) has some inconsistent numbers at the PLAYERS but when he is on, he is really on. He has made the cut just three times in eight starts but all three resulted in a top ten including a T7 last year. He is coming off a great week at Quail Hollow where he finished T6 and can carry that into here.

Ian Poulter (+6,000) is getting longshot money here but he does not fit into that category. He is coming off a disappointing Masters as he missed the cut so he should be fired up to make up for it. He has finished in the top 25 here in two of the last four years including a solo second in 2009, they ear Henrik Stenson ran away with it on Sunday.

Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at The PLAYERS Championship (all for One Unit)

Lee Westwood (+2,500)
Phil Mickelson (+2,500)
Jason Day (+4,000)
Bo Van Pelt (+4,000)
Ian Poulter (+6,000)

2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 17 events: +10.6 Units

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