Golf picks: The Players Championship predictions & best bets from Joe Champion

Justin Thomas plays his shot from the 18th tee during the final round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course.
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Joe Champion


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Golf and soccer analyst for Pickswise, while also an avid tennis fan. One of very few Milton Keynes Dons soccer fans. For Joe Champion media enquiries, please email
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Scottie Scheffler delivered on months of marvellous ball-striking with a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday and now the world #1 will bid to do what no player has ever achieved as he seeks to successfully defend his Players Championship crown. The Players, taking place as has been the case since 1982 at Pete Dye’s Florida masterpiece, TPC Sawgrass, still advertises itself as “the strongest field in golf” and while that statement has raised a few eyebrows with the LIV Golf contingent absent, this 144-player field is still as strong as it gets outside of the four Major championships.

Scheffler produced a perfect performance at The Players Championship a year ago, winning by five shots to claim Sawgrass glory for the first time, and he was dominant again at Bay Hill on Sunday, firing a closing 66 to win the Arnold Palmer by the same margin. A putter switch galvanized Scheffler on the greens last week and, given his status as the best ball striker in the game, he’s likely to prove impossible to stop if he continues to roll in putts as he did on Sunday. However, that does remain a big if. Scheffler’s odds of +550 reflect his superiority but those odds feel too slim to entertain given the packed field.

Sawgrass, the long-time venue for this famous tournament, is a classic Florida layout that hasn’t tended to favor one type of player. Short, accurate types have prospered in Ponte Vedra, although the power hitters have come also to the fore more often following the switch to March, which saw the course effectively lengthened by softer conditions. Generally, though, the winner has come from the top class with 8 of the last 10 champions either already a winner of a Major or a future Major winner. Rory McIlroy won this title in 2019 and he has been playing better than his recent finishing positions suggest but he’s making big errors and Sawgrass, and in particular its infamous island green 17th, is a course where mistakes can be compounded.

The Players Championship golf picks and predictions

Justin Thomas (+2200)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM at time of publishing.

At 4x Scheffler’s odds, another former Players champion catches the eye with Justin Thomas the most appealing option from those within sight of the favorite. Thomas finished 3rd at TPC Sawgrass in 2016 before going on to win in 2021, and while he’s made no impact in the last 2 editions, one was as defending champion and the other has to be taken in the wider context of his dismal 2023 campaign.

This year, Thomas has finally rediscovered top form, finishing 3rd at The American Express, 6th at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and 12th at the Arnold Palmer on Sunday with a missed cut at the Genesis the one disappointment. The Kentucky man has his game close to firing on all cylinders and he should be full of belief returning to a venue where he knows he can win and where his sharp scrambling is an asset.

Max Homa (+3300)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Patrick Cantlay, Will Zalatoris and resurgent Hideki Matsuyama all merit consideration but Max Homa has progressive Sawgrass form figures of MC-13-6 and is capable of winning this event. After a disappointing West Coast Swing, Homa found his form again at Bay Hill, finishing 8th and putting superbly on Bermuda greens similar to the ones he encounters this week. The Californian is a prolific 6-time PGA Tour winner who has all the attributes to thrive at Sawgrass.

Min Woo Lee (+5500)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Min Woo Lee’s all-round brilliance took him close to this title on debut when 6th last season and the Aussie should again make his presence felt after a runner-up finish at the Cognizant Classic.

Tom Hoge (+8000)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Tom Hoge has solid form figures of 30-22-33-3 from the last 4 editions of The Players Championship and he’s finished 6th, 17th, 8th, 28th and 12th in his last 5 starts, having rediscovered his pinpoint iron-play.

Si-Woo Kim (+7000)

Odds available at BetMGM at time of publishing.

This could also be the week when 2017 champion Si-Woo Kim finally puts it all together. Kim is a confirmed lover of Pete Dye courses – he won The American Express at PGA West and should’ve won the 2018 Heritage. The South Korean has been striking the ball at an elite standard all year.

Doug Ghim (+17000)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Doug Ghim produced the best effort of his career when 6th at the 2022 Players Championship and he has been playing better than ever in the build-up to the 2024 tournament, finishing 13th, 12th, 8th and 16th in his last 4 starts. Like Kim, the American has a superb record at Dye-designed courses and he can make his presence felt at a big price.

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