THE PLAYERS Championship – Gambling/DFS Preview 2021

TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course) – Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Course Breakdown

7189 yd Par 72, Pete Dye course so its a placement course, you need to miss in the right spots, all of the Par 5s are reachable in 2 by most so guys will get eagle looks, the 12th hole is also a risk/reward driveable Par 4 for eagle looks, 17 water hazards (over 24 acres), 88 bunkers, overseeded Bermuda, narrow tree lined fairways with trouble in play on pretty much every tee shot, lot of mounds and undulation on the fairways, lots of different doglegs (a Pete Dye staple), average fairway % (~63%), average GIR % (~64%), less than driver course like most other Pete Dye courses (average driving distance: 278 yds), faster than average green speeds, very small and difficult multi-tier greens with a lot of undulation surrounded by water hazards and bunkers, most 3 putts of any non-major course on tour

Tournament Notes

  • “The Fifth Major”
  • This tournament is so hard to predict, any type of player could win here
  • THE PLAYERS used to be in May and two years ago was the first year it moved to March, so the course should play a bit softer now and more receptive due to the Bermuda throughout the course being more overseeded, the winds will be different so the final 2 holes could be more difficult
  • Last year this tournament was cancelled after round one as the coronavirus pandemic started
  • No defending champ has ever gone back to back here (and Rory has never defended a title in his career)
  • SG Approach is over 2.5x more important than SG: OTT and SG: ATG (0.43 per round) to T10 finishes over the last 6 years
  • Every winner here since 2010 (besides Si WOOOO Kim) had either a T25 the week before or a T10 in their previous event played (Si Woo was 22nd)
  • 10 of the last 13 winners were T60 in Scrambling for the season that they won

Key Stats

SG Approach, Ballstriking, Par 4s Gained (450-500 yds), GIR

Main proximity distance ranges: 200+ yds (long irons), 125-150yds (wedges)

Corollary Courses

  • Pete Dye courses: TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship), TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic), Austin Country Club (Dell Match Play), PGA West Stadium Course (The American Express), Harbour Town Golf Links (RBC Heritage) 
  • PGA National (Honda Classic) – similar Florida conditions at this time of the year with overseeded Bermuda
  • Sedgefield Country Club (Wyndham Championship) – 5 last 10 champs at the Wyndham also won THE PLAYERS (Davis Love III, Henrik Stenson, Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia)

Field

154 player field, best field of the year, all the stars are out, huge purse so everyone plays, most ever for THE PLAYERS since it was cancelled after round one last year so they have to let everyone that qualified last year into it again

Defending Champion (2019): Rory McIlroy (-16)

Runner Up (2019): Jim Furyk (-15)

FRL Last Year: Hideki Matsuyama (-9 to tie course record) 

One and Done: Collin Morikawa

Alternate: Viktor Hovland

Players

Dustin Johnson: 11200: +1100 – 5th in approach, 2nd in SG: T2G, 7th in ballstriking, 3rd in opportunities gained, 2nd in SG: ARG, 2nd in Par 4 scoring, 14th in eagles, 6th in DK pts

Collin Morikawa: 9400: +1600 – 1st in approach, 1st in SG: T2G, 1st in ballstriking, 6th in opportunities gained, 7th in Par 4 scoring, 4th in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yds, 33rd in fairways gained, 30th in DK pts

Viktor Hovland: 9300: +2500 – 21st in approach, 5th in SG: T2G, 2nd in ballstriking, 3rd in SG: OTT, 9th in opportunities gained, 1st in Par 4 scoring, 1st in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yds, 35th in fairways gained, 5th in DK pts

Tyrrell Hatton: 8500: +3000 – 10th in approach, 8th in ballstriking, 7th in opportunities gained, 6th in Par 4 scoring, 8th in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yds, 26th in SG: OTT, 10th in putting (not a stat that I typically look that far into)

Russell Henley: 7400: +8000 – 3rd in approach, 9th in SG: T2G, 18th in ballstriking, 24th in opportunities gained, 12th in Par 4 scoring, 15th in fairways gained

Keegan Bradley: 6900: +14000 – Made cut here the past 4 years with T16 and T7 the last 2 years, 4th in approach, 5th in ballstriking, 8th in SG: T2G, 10th in opportunities gained, 25th in SG: OTT, 6th in fairways gained, 10th in opportunities gained

Matthew NeSmith: 6700: +22500 – 2nd in approach, 3rd in ballstriking, 16th in SG: T2G, 20th in fairways gained, 33rd in SG: OTT, 3rd in eagles

DraftKings/Betting Notes

  • Soft “major” pricing on Draftkings so don’t worry about leaving money on the table
  • Some big GPPs this week that typically aren’t offered for non-majors including the Milly Maker
  • If theres any H2Hs vs. Harris English…bet them (ATROCIOUS track record by far at this course with 6/6 MCs here the last 6 years before last year when he was T2 when the tournament got cancelled after round 1)

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