Jon Rahm, Tiger Woods and Billy Horschel could all be in the mix this week
The list of winners of the tournament is a prestigious one, and the strength of the field has ensured that few have won it more than once.
Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day have all triumphed at Sawgrass – but Tiger Woods is one of just six players to have won multiple titles, with Jack Nicklaus and Fred Couples the sort of company he keeps in that club.
So could the American add a third Players Championship to his overflowing trophy cabinet? Express Sport takes you through the best bets of the week at Sawgrass.
Jon Rahm could end this week as world No 1
The Players Championship 2018 tips
(Odds courtesy of Betfair; all times BST)
Jon Rahm (Thursday tee-time 6.30pm; 25/1)
At the age of 23, Rahm is already one of golf’s hot properties. Having moved to America, specifically Arizona State University, to study, he knows his way around the tour pretty well despite his young age.
And he is already proving as much. A second PGA Tour win in January and finishing fourth at the Masters has helped him move up to No 3 in the world and he could go to No 1 with a top-two finish this week.
Rahm has proved his bottle too with an emotional win on home soil last month at the Open de Espana and the missed cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, his last outing, can be disregarded as Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth also did so. If anything, it should work in our favour by massaging his price.
Might we see Tiger Woods back in red on Sunday and leading?
Tiger Woods (Thursday tee-time 6.52pm; 35/1)
They didn’t always think this course was one that suited Tiger but, if we’re honest, there was a point in his career when there weren’t many courses that didn’t.
He picked up his first title at Sawgrass in 2001, finished -14, a score he was only one shot short of when he repeated the feat 12 years later.
The new Woods is a very different one, with his remodelled swing leaving him unable to unleash the club head speed for which he was previously so famous.
However, he will be able to play the accuracy game this week and leave the driver in the bag more than other courses might allow – and for once, that might suit the 42-year-old.
Billy Horschel is never short of character on the course
Billy Horschel (Thursday tee-time 6.19pm UK time; 55/1)
This tipster loves a long shot, and a Cinderella story. At 55/1, Horschel is not quite the massive price we would usually look for but the American’s love for this course is enough for us to take a punt.
There was a pretty major wobble earlier this year when he missed five cuts in six starts, but he appears to have fixed that, picking up a fifth career PGA Tour title when he won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last month.
The 31-year-old is Florida born and bred and still lives less than 10 miles from TPC Sawgrass and reckons he plays in 20 times a year.
“The lines don’t look as intimidating because I know there is more room,” Horschel said.
“I guess it just makes it a little bit more comforting seeing that I’ve played it, the shots don’t affect me as much.”
That’s what we like to hear Billy.
The Players Championship 2018 odds
Betfair spokesperson Katie Baylis said: “A stunning field has assembled at Sawgrass in the hope of picking up a very chunky cheque.
“The betting on the Betfair Sportsbook is headed by 12/1 Rory McIlroy but there is so much quality in behind with a quartet of major winners led by 14/1 Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth all at 16/1.
“This tournament has sprung a surprise or two in the past, however, and there will be plenty of punters searching for another huge-priced winner after Si Woo Kim’s shock victory in 2017.”
Rory McIlroy 12/1, Justin Thomas 14/1, Dustin Johnson 16/1, Jason Day 16/1, Jordan Spieth 16/1, Rickie Fowler 20/1, Henrik Stenson 22/1, Jon Rahm 25/1, Justin Rose 28/1, Paul Casey 28/1, Hideki Matsuyama 30/1, Patrick Reed 30/1.