The Fifth Major – The Players Championship – Who Are Our Top Tips For The Tournament?

Throughout the golf season, players will work hard to ensure that they are in the best form and physical condition as possible for the four Major tournaments. With a newly structured calendar, these Major tournaments now take place once per month from April through to July.

We start in April with The Masters, followed by the USPGA Championship in May. The US Open will take place in June before the final Major of the year, the British Open takes place in July. Preceding all those four events though, and also with a new spot in the calendar is the tournament reckoned by top professionals to be ‘golf’s fifth major’ The Players Championship.

And the good news for golf fans is that this tournament takes place this week, getting underway on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Of course, with this huge event taking place in Jacksonville in Florida, and as a fully sanctioned US Tour event, there is going to be plenty of interest in the tournament across the United States too. For all the latest betting news, promotions and details of any new states starting to open for sports betting across the United States, check out what is on offer at the great new site now!

Let’s now learn a little more about this massive golf tournament which with its new place in the calendar serves as a fitting prelude to the four Majors, which are all due to take place from April to July this year.

The Players Championship – A History

For the first three years of its existence, The Players Champioship was played at different courses in Georgia, Texas and then Florida. Jack Nicklaus won the first and third events, with Al Geiberger picking up the winner’s check in Texas.

By 1977 though, the tournament had found a new home at Sawgrass Country Club and by 1982, the new course across the road, The Stadium Course at Sawgrass became host. The tournament has remained at the venue ever since.

Over the years, the prestige attached to the event has increased markedly, just as the prize money has. The first event was contested for a $250,000 prize pool, but the 2021 tournament will see a new record prize pool available of $15,000,000 up for grabs, with $2,700,000 for the winner.

Previous Winners

There was no event last year, but Rory McIlroy won the event when it was last contested back in 2019, beating Jim Furyk by one stroke. He succeeded American Webb Simpson who was the winner in 2018.

Other recent winners in the past six years include Kim Si-woo, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.

Jack Nicklaus has won the tournament most often with three wins, with five players landing two wins apiece, Fred Couples, Hal Sutton, Steve Elkington, Davis Love III and Tiger Woods all achieving two wins.

No player has ever won the event in back to back years, which tells you all you need to know about how difficult a tournament it is to win.

From 1974 to 1986, only US-born players were victorious in the event, but with the tour becoming more global, Sandy Lyle became the first non-native professional to win the event in 1987. Others soon followed in the shape of Steve Elkington landing the first of his two wins, Nick Price, Greg Norman, Craig Perks, Adam Scott, Stephen Ames, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Tim Clark, K.J.Choi and Martin Kaymer also getting their names engraved on the winner’s trophy.

TPC Sawgrass In Detail

While a stellar field will always see plenty of interest generated in the event, along with that huge prize money on offer, it is also the quality of the famous Stadium Course that draws in the crowds and makes this event so popular.

The course features 18 very different holes that offer a stern test of all parts of your game. The rough can be long and punishing, the waste bunkers, which are not maintained by the groundskeepers are also somewhere to avoid while the pot bunkers that are maintained attract plenty of just slightly errant shots.

The most iconic hole of the course and perhaps in all of golf, is the famous island green 17th. Each year around 100,000 balls are hit into the water and retrieved from around this green and it has become not just Sawgrass’ signature hole, but one of the most iconic holes in all of golf.

The Field In 2021

With a prize pool of $15,000,000, every top player in the world that can be in the field at The Players Championship this week will be. Two notable absentees however are Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka, both who will miss out through injuries.

However, those that are competing ensure that this will be a stellar event, perhaps as strong, if not stronger, than a field you would find at any Major Championship.

Dustin Johnson, John Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas are just some of the names that are the short-priced favourites to win the event with the bookmakers and you can add to that list the American quartert of Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay and Webb Simpson.

The challenge from Europe will be led by Rahm and McIlroy as well as the likes of Viktor Hovland, Tyrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Paul Casey and the in form Lee Westwood, a close second at the Bay Hill Invitational last week.

Other names to note riding high in the betting include Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Tony Finau, Daniel Berger, Patrick Reed, Jason Day, Scottie Scheffler and Sungjae Im.

Our Tips To Win The Players Championship 2021

Picking a winner from such a huge field, and one so deep with golfing talent is no easy task. It is fair to say that the bookies have the usual suspects as their favourites for the event with Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas featuring at the top of the betting with most bookmakers.

To be fair though, there is so much talent down the full line up of players that you can find some very exciting options even at longer odds. Paul Casey, who is in great form, is 55/1, Lee Westwood, who finished second last week at Bay Hill, is 80/1. Two winners of this event Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson are both 250/1 outsiders for this event.

You even have two recent Major winners in Gary Woodland and Shane Lowry both rated as 200/1 chances to win the tournament.

My first bet here would be an each way bet and I’d advise all bets you make to be this type of bet as bet365 pay out on the first eight places for this event. As such, I think Henrik Stenson at 250/1 is well worth a very small flutter.

I’d also consider Adam Scott at 66/1 and Matt Fitzpatrick at 45/1 as very good each way bets.

However, if you must bet on the nose for the winner, then my pick would be the 18/1 chance Justin Thomas.

*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of 10.30am on Tuesday 9th March 2021.