Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Players Championship, Sawgrass - 2014

The Players Championship will see one of the strongest fields on tour assembling at the famous Pete and Alice Dye designed, TPC Sawgrass this week. Tiger Woods, the defending champion will be missing of course, but there are plenty of leading contenders. This week once again, we have a very open tournament where emphasis over this tricky course will be on GIR and scrambling.  Given that it is an open affair and that there is so many players playing well of late, punters should be aware of prices on offer before getting involved. Rory McIlroy somehow produced another top10 at Quail Hollow the weekend without being in contention, and he may compete with Adam Scott for favouritism in the betting market despite producing three straight missed cuts in his three previous visits prior to last year's T8th finish. He simply has no form to warrant a financial interest,and on that count, he cannot be a bet for me this week. Same was said of Tiger last year though, Sawgrass being a course that he couldn’t get to grips with, but perhaps Sergio Garcia kept him focussed as he put previous average form to bed with a win. Maybe Rory can do as well but there are others with better chances.

The Ones to Beat


The leading two players this week are undoubtedly, Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson. Both are former winners here and the former arrives on the back of a win last time out and three TOP5s in the preceeding events to that Harbour Town victory. The World Number 3 and reigning FedEx Cup & Race to Dubai Champion, Stenson, won at Sawgrass in 2009 and has since followed up with a TOP5 (2013) and T15 in 2012. He also has a further two T10s in his locker. Slow to get going this season following equipment change, the Swede has returned to form with a T5 last time out in China and a somewhat surprising T15 at Augusta. He also finished T5 at Bay Hill. For me, he could be the one they all have to beat this week.

Value Selections


Local boy and recent runner up at the Wells Fargo Championship, Jim Furyk is a decent bet @ 33/1. Jim loves Sawgrass and has the scrambling & GIR stats to back up his course form over the years. Three T5s in the past 10 years, Jim approaches this instalment of the “5th Major” on the back of  some very consistent results over his last 7 events,where he has finished inside the T20 on 6 ocassions, including 4 T10s !

The Masters champion returns to action this week, but to date,  Sawgrass has not been a happy hunting ground although Bubba has two wins and a 2nd from his last 5 starts this season. He cannot be dismissed lightly and a decent price in and around 33/1 might just be worth a shout. I was interested in Luke Donald, however the 30/1 on offer on Sunday is gone and is now best price 22/1 and therefore becomes a non bet for me. He could contend though and I wouldn't be surprised if he prevails. Another to show signs recently that he is returning to form, the Englishman’s game is well suited to the stadium course. He’s produced 5 T20s in his last 9 visits including solid performances the last 3 years of 19-6-2. Recent form is encouraging, with 3 T10s in his last 6 starts. Its a bet instead on Henrik Stenson at slightly better odds of 25/1

Outside Chances


I’ve shortlisted four players that could give me a run for my hard earned cash this week on the back of course and recent form. Having equalled the course record at Quail Hollow in his 2nd round after a disastrous opening round, 80, Brendan De Jonge backed that round up with an eye catching weekend effort of 68-69 to finish T6th. The Zimbawean is a birdie machine when on song, and having finished 15th here the last two years, he’s bound to be on a high after those three great rounds in Charlotte. He's best price 110/1 with Bet365 (one of many paying 6 places this week)

I’ve always liked the chances of Kevin Streelman and although he’s been quiet so far this season, he did finish runner-up to Tiger last year and completed a T15 at Quail Hollow last week. Another to be chalked up at triple figures and one to consider for TOP10/20 markets. Well worth a punt @ 100/1 with BetVictor (paying 6 places also) and 8/1 for TOP10.

My third outsider is Harris English who excels in the GIR department and is beginning to settle down on tour with 4 T20s in his last 7 events. He’s been progressive in his results at Sawgrass in his two visits and he could be a surprise package this week @66/1 with Skybet

Lastly, Australian Geoff Ogilvy has shown glimpses of producing a good week of late and completed a T15 last week also. Decent enough form here at Sawgrass and the former US Open champion who finished 12th here 2 years ago may just be up for another bold showing this week. Available at 175/1 (paying 5 places) or 150/1 Skybet (6 places), he's worth a small interest and at 13/2 for TOP20 with Bet365


Staking Plan (9.5 units/points)

2 pts WIN H.Stenson @ 25/1
1pt    WIN Jim Furyk @ 33/1
0.5 pts WIN K.Streelman @ 100/1
0.5 pts WIN B. De Jonge @ 110/1
0.75 pts e/w H.English @ 66/1



TOP10

1 pt K.Streelman @ 8/1
1 pt B.De Jonge @ 9/1

TOP20 

2 pts G.Ogilvy @ 13/2