Anyone who watched last weekend’s golf will feel like they have just come off a rollercoaster – what a strange two rounds they were as the tournament ended on Sunday evening.
Two of my three had dropped out of contention by then so I was left loudly (ask my wife) cheering Tyrrell Hatton, who was close to the lead before dropping more shots than I could count – before bouncing back on the final day to be beaten an agonising one shot into joint second. At 35/1 I should not be complaining, with the place part of the bet covering all our outgoings and then some, but so, so close to a big priced winner – that’s golf I suppose.
On to this week and I am (unsurprisingly) covering the Players Championship which has a stellar field of the Worlds very best taking part at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, and trust me, this is going to be tough. A par 72 measuring in at 7,189 yards, that tells us very little – but the fact that there is water on 17 of the 18 holes does, but when you add in bunkers that take more sand that the Sahara Desert (OK, so that’s poetic licence), every chance of seriously windy conditions at times, and some of the smaller faster greens on tour, and whoever wins this will deserve all the plaudits – as well as the lion’s share of $20 million.
Here we go…..
Selections with reasoning:
***NOTE*** Different bookmakers are offering different each way terms so do shop around for best odds and best place terms and any special offers with the bookmakers to steal the most value, and DO check the exchanges for bigger prices – I can’t put them on here accurately as they differ by the minute. Betfair prices quoted are as indicators only and were correct at the time of writing.
1pt each way Rory McIlroy 20/1 top 9 places William Hill (24.0) Betfair)
Before anyone points it out, yes I may have had a knock on the head as two of my three selections this week have been there or thereabouts for us in recent weeks/months only to throw it away at the last minute. You could see that as a negative, but at least they were there challenging and Rory owes us a quid or two. He historically plays well in Florida for some reason, can shape the ball either way as needed, was brought up playing in far windier conditions than he will face here, and although he dropped off to miss the places last weekend (13th – unlucky for his supporters), his driving and approach play was sublime overall, with his putter the one club to really let him down. That was a rare aberration on the greens with his overall season stats proving that as a fact, and I fully expect a far better showing here on a course that seems built to play to his strengths.
1pt each way Collin Morikawa 16/1 top 11 places Boylesports (22.0 Betfair)
Another who has let us down in the past when quite frankly, looking less than bothered when the wheels fell off, but this is a different level and an event that every golfer wants on his CV. I try to wipe these things from my mind and look at each event or player individually and once again, the stats don’t lie. His recent consistency has been outstanding making him (hopefully) a reliable play here, though this is golf and anything is possible. He leads the stats for most shots gained overall, has placed twice and hit a top five placing in two other events – when you consider how open the golf has been lately, that is simply astounding. Whether he wins may be in the lap of the Gods, but he ought to place at least and give us some kind of profit on our bets today.
1pt each way Hideki Matsuyama 30/1 top 9 places William Hill (34.0 Betfair)
Not a player I suspect you thought you would see on my list, but there is some method in my madness. The weather seems almost certain to be an issue here with all sorts predicted (if you trust the forecasters), and our consistent selection will be one of those best equipped to cope with whatever is thrown at him. He does need to keep tabs on the pacesetters Thursday and Friday with the final two days when he really comes to life, though he was two shots clear of the field before they abandoned this in 2020. His last five rounds here see him 19 under par so we know the course is easier for him than it is for plenty of three, while the greens in March should suit him down to the ground. At 30/1 he has a great each-way chance according to me, and like poor Hatton last weekend, he will be my number one pick.