Players staff picks to win, odds to win at TPC Sawgrass

Justin Thomas has won the Players Championship once in his career already.

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The 2023 Players Championship kicks off on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass. Here’s how you can watch it and first-round tee times. Below, we asked some of our staffers to pick their Players Championship winner. You can find their sleeper picks here.

Players Championship picks to win

Jack Hirsh, assistant editor: Collin Morikawa. Morikawa missed the cut last week but he’s played extremely well so far this year, including dominating for three rounds at the Tournament of Champions. While he didn’t get it done in Maui, he finished third at the Farmers and tied for sixth at the Genesis. Riviera was especially notable because Morikawa ranked in the top five in strokes gained: around the green. If Morikawa can pair his elite ball-striking with just above-average play around the greens, TPC Sawgrass will reward that strategy nicely.

Ryan Barath, equipment editor: Matt Fitzpatrick. Although he hasn’t been in contention down the stretch much in 2023, he’s been one of the best off the tee this season and has had an above-average putting year. On a course with small greens and tough approach shots the short game and putting are going to be key, and I think if his ball-striking just gets to Tour average around TPC Sawgrass he’ll be hoisting the crystal come Sunday.

Jessica Marksbury, senior editor: Rory McIlroy. Rory has been at his best lately when he feels he has something to prove. With the golf world in continuing turmoil over the PGA Tour’s new schedule and field changes, it seems like the timing is right for another high-profile win. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s won at TPC Sawgrass before, is playing great, and needs to leapfrog Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler to get back to World No. 1.

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Josh Sens, senior writer: Patrick Cantlay. Third place at the Genesis. T4 last week at Bay Hill. With Rahm, McIlroy and Scheffler claiming much of the attention lately, Cantlay has been playing some quietly solid golf. And while Sawgrass hasn’t exactly been his sweet spot — he has missed the cut in his last two tries there — there’s no obvious reason why that should be the case. To borrow from Ben Crenshaw, I’ve got a funny feeling about this one.

Josh Berhow, managing editor: I’m torn between Rory and Justin Thomas, but I’ll go with JT. He’s played pretty well here and won two years ago, and few of golf’s stars have been more consistent than Thomas, who hasn’t missed a cut since last July. He’s been lingering around the top 20 on leaderboards for the past month but I’m betting this is the week he puts it all together. A great ball-striker. A really good short game. Both are key here, and he’s proven he can win on big stages like this one.

Alan Bastable, executive editor: Shane Lowry. Forget Lowry’s 80 at Bay Hill last week — he has never played well at Arnie’s place — the Irishman is much more at home at Sawgrass, where he has three top 20s. Before last week, he’d also been showing signs of form with a T14 at the Genesis and T5 at the Honda. Also, there’s just something about Pete Dye tracks that brings out the best in Lowry. Sawgrass, Harbour Town, Ocean Course — he’s played ’em all well.

Players Championship odds to win

Rory McIlroy +900
Jon Rahm +1000
Scottie Scheffler +1000
Patrick Cantlay +1600
Justin Thomas +1800
Max Homa +1800
Collin Morikawa +2500
Viktor Hovland +2500
Xander Schauffele +2500
Jason Day +2800
Tony Finau +2800
Will Zalatoris +2800
Jordan Spieth +3300
Matt Fitzpatrick +3300
Sungjae Im +3300
Tyrrell Hatton +3300

Check out the full odds via BetMGM here.

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