Players Championship expert picks: Winners and sleepers for TPC Sawgrass

Will Zalatoris tees off at the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Will Zalatoris has finished in the top four in each of his last two starts on the PGA Tour.

Getty Images

The 2024 Players Championship kicks off on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass. Can Scottie Scheffler make it back-to-back wins? Can Rory McIlroy bounce back from a rough Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational? We asked our staff to pick a winner and sleeper for this week at TPC Sawgrass’ iconic Stadium Course. Here’s what they said (and here’s how you can watch).

Players Championship picks to win

Ryan Barath: Scottie Scheffler. I have to ride the hot hand here. If we’re looking at factors that can help a golfer navigate their way around TPC Sawgrass — driving, ball-striking and short game will go a long way, and Scottie excels in those categories. When you add in the fact that he’s starting to feel good about his putting again, I think this could be the week someone finally goes back-to-back at the Players.

Josh Sens: Xander Schauffele. I’m glad I got here early, so I could pick Xander Schauffele before Dylan Dethier gets a crack at him. Why he hasn’t won more often and on bigger stages is one of the lingering mysteries in golf. Maybe he just needs the eye of an outside instructor who isn’t his father, which he’s now got. This is the week.

Sean Zak: Will Zalatoris. A premiere ball-striker on a ball-striker’s course? Yes, please.

Josh Berhow: Will Zalatoris. I agree with Sean, and at +2500 or +3000ish right now, you could even put him in the sleeper category. He’s finished 4th, 2nd and 13th in his last three starts.

Alan Bastable: Shane Lowry. Sorry, Barath (see below), but I think Shane Lowry has officially graduated from sleeper status. That said, I love the pick! He’s coming off a couple of top 5s on the Florida swing and somehow finished 35th at Sawgrass a year ago despite opening with a 77. And his Player finishes in the two years before that: T13 and 8th.

Zephyr Melton: Will Zalatoris. Echoing my colleagues on this one. Zalatoris has been knocking on the door of late, and it’s only a matter of time before he closes the deal. Why not this week?

Players Championship sleepers to watch

Barath: Shane Lowry. The man does well on tough golf courses. Plus, considering his steady play over the last couple of weeks on what I believe is fair to call “Florida-style” golf courses, Shane is ready to snatch a Players to go along with his Open Championship win.

Sens: Min Woo Lee. He was in the mix here last year, in his Players debut, before a scruffy Sunday dropped him into a T6 finish. Hits it a mile, but also has the kind of well-rounded game required for this course. Plus, I can’t recall the last time he missed a cut.

Zak: Nick Taylor. An accurate player who is playing the best golf of his life. Count me in.

Berhow: Jason Day. Four career top 10s here, including a win. He recorded back-to-back top 10s before he was 36th last week.

Bastable: Tom Hoge. He’s enjoying an excellent 2024 on the back of his supreme ball-striking. In terms of SG: Approach the green — a skill that is essential at the Stadium Course — no one has been better on Tour this season than Hoge.

Melton: Jake Knapp. Three top 5s in his last five starts, plus he hits the ball a mile. He could be the Cinderella story this week.

Exit mobile version