Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Players Championship - TPC Sawgrass 2013

There is no event on the European Tour this week but it would be hard to compete with the richest tournament in golf taking place in Florida!  The $9.5 M event being held at TPC Sawgrass sees the World's best players tee it up tomorrow, obviously enticed by the huge purse that is really lacking in Europe this season. The course is called The Stadium course, appropriately named as this will be a popular event with the fans. (I suspect Betfair will echo same come Sunday). Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are both playing and head the betting but I really cannot see either of them winning this week given the quality in the field that actually look forward to playing here. Tiger has only won this once (2001) and the course has been modified since. Rory has had an awful time here and both he and Lee Westwood came in for some slack a couple of years ago when they left this off their schedule. Westwood just might do a bit better than Rory this week, but they don't like this course. Its a 7200 yds, tight tree lined with severe rough and super fast greens. That said, the scoring seems to have improved over the past couple of years and is not playing as difficult as in the past. A lot of rain has fallen on the course the past week and with little wind about, it should play to its length and some.
 Given that there is no European event this week, I have revised my staking plan for this one. The course over the years has shown that experience here is the most crucial ingredient so the rookies are left to the side in that plan. They shouldn't be discounted altogether, but stats back up course experience and good GIR and scrambling stats are essential if one is to prevail.
My first selection this week is Luke Donald @ 20/1 with Ladbrokes (only paying 5 places). Donald's game fits this course perfectly.Top 10 finishes the past 2 seasons indicates his liking for the course and the fact that this event normally produces winners good enough to win Majors without having won one makes me feel that the former World Number 1 will go close this week. Its rare that I back Luke as I feel he should win more often especially in the big ones, but he comes here now with Tiger & Rory both ahead of him in the World rankings. He wont feel the pressure as much and hopefully that means he goes about his business in the way he knows best. Accurate off the tee coupled with one of the best putting games on tour, he should be challenging. This may be dubbed the "5th Major", but its one that the players do like to play well in despite the lure of a good payday as it tends to raise their confidence for the season ahead. He also likes Pete Dye designed courses and went very close last time out at Hilton Head. His game is in good shape and is worth taking @ 20s with only 5 places on offer.

My second pick this week is Nick Watney @ 40/1 with Paddypower (6 places). The American was right in contention last week at the Wells Fargo and is in progressive form recently with a T13th at Augusta eyecatching following an opening 78!. He was 4th here two years ago and T15th the year before. He has experience under his belt and his game is well suit to Sawgrass. 40s just about worth a nibble for me.

A third selection might surprise a few in the shape of Martin Kaymer @ 125/1 with Betpack / StanJames (paying 7 places if you place your bet over their new mobile app). I'm a big fan of Martin Kaymer and put him up as an outside at Hilton Head when the course probably didn't suit his strengths. One of the best putters on tour, the German has not returned the results yet on the US Tour and I'm convincing myself that this is more to do with lack of course knowledge more than anything else. His game is not 100% granted, but he will be looking forward to playing well here following 4 visits to the eventwhere he has made the cut all 4 times with TOP 20s the past 2 seasons. He's simply too big this week for that course form and he definitely makes my plan.

I'm also adding Jim Fuyrk @ 50/1 with Paddypower (6 places). the local resident has fantastic form on this course. Jim lacks length off the tee but is accurate and his short game is up there to be able to compete. He is coming here off the back of some really good efforts this season including a near miss in Texas.

My final pick is Zach Johnson @ 70/1 again with Betpack / Stanjames (paying 7 places if you place your bet over their new mobile app).  Zach was runner up here last year and has played very well here over the years with 2008 the last time he missed the cut. Game well suited to Sawgrass and despite medicre form the past month, some courses can inspire for a good week and Zach will be happy to be playing this one.I have opted for his experience over Kevin Streelman but @ 80/1 I wouldn't be surprised to see a good showing from Streelman so let's hope that experience wins the day again.


TIP 1: 1 pt e/w Luke Donald @ 20/1 Ladbrokes (5 places)- *money back if Tiger wins

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w Nick Watney @ 40/1  Paddypower (6 places)

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w Martin Kaymer @ 125/1 Betpack / StanJames (paying 7 places if you place your bet over their new mobile app

TIP 4: 1 pt e/w Jim Fuyrk @ 50/1  Paddypower (6 places)

TIP 5: 1 pt e/w Zach Johnson @ 70/1 Betpack / StanJames (paying 7 places if you place your bet over their new mobile app