Few courses on the PGA Tour are as iconic as TPC Sawgrass, the permanent home to one of golf’s most-anticipated tournaments, the Players Championship. On Thursday, the 2019 Players Championship will tee off as part of a revamped PGA schedule that moves this event from May to March. As a result, the Ponte Vedra Beach weather might be slightly cooler, but the field is loaded as always. Dustin Johnson (12-1), Rory McIllroy (14-1), and Justin Thomas (16-1) have the lowest 2019 Players Championship odds, followed by a host of big-name contenders like Justin Rose (18-1), Brooks Koepka (22-1), and two-time champion Tiger Woods (25-1), who sat out last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational with a neck strain. The 2019 Players Championship tee times begin at 7:40 a.m. ET. on Thursday, with the final groups teeing at 2:30 p.m. Before locking in any 2019 Players Championship picks of your own, scope out the PGA predictions from the team at SportsLine.
SportsLine’s prediction model, built by DFS pro Mike McClure, has nailed four of the past eight majors entering the weekend and called Tiger Woods’ deep run in the PGA Championship despite being a 25-1 long shot. The model has been spot-on early in the 2018-19 season. It was high on champion Dustin Johnson at the 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship, projecting him as one of the top two contenders from the start. It also correctly predicted Brooks Koepka’s (9-1) victory at the CJ Cup earlier this season. Additionally, it correctly called Bryson DeChambeau’s (9-1) seven-shot victory at the 2019 Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Anyone who has followed the model is up huge.
Now that the 2019 Players Championship field is locked, SportsLine simulated the event 10,000 times, and the results were surprising. One huge shocker the model is calling for: Woods, a two-time winner of this event and a 14-time major champion, doesn’t even crack the top 10.
Woods withdrew from last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event he has won a record eight times, due to a neck strain. The 43-year-old has dealt with multiple injuries in recent years but has been playing extremely well, finishing in the top 10 in three of his past five PGA Tour starts, which includes a victory at the 2018 Tour Championship. And with a win this week, Woods would tie Jack Nicklaus for the most victories in the history of the Players Championship at three.
However, Woods’ last Players Championship victory came all the way back in 2013. He also enters this week’s event hitting just 64.29 percent of fairways off the tee, which could cause major trouble at TPC Sawgrass. He’s not a strong pick to win it all and there are far better values in this loaded field.
Another surprise: Tommy Fleetwood, a 28-1 long shot, makes a strong run at the title. He’s a target for anyone looking for a huge payday.
The 28-year old British golfer is still looking for his first career PGA Tour victory, but he has five international wins and has been on the cusp of breaking through on the PGA Tour several times. He finished second at the 2018 U.S. Open, one of a half-dozen top-10 finishes last year.
Fleetwood comes into the Players Championship 2019 off a third-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He also recorded a seventh-place run at the WGC-HSBC Champions event last fall to help get the 2018-19 PGA Tour schedule underway. Fleetwood is 15th in scoring average this season, third in eagles per holes played, and No. 1 in sand-save percentage. His track record and skill set are strong enough to move him up the 2019 Players Championship leaderboard this week.
Also, the model says five other golfers with 2019 Players Championship odds of 20-1 or longer make a strong run at the title. Anyone who backs these underdogs could hit it big.
So who wins the 2019 Players Championship? And which long shots stun the golfing world? Check out the 2019 Players Championship odds below and visit SportsLine now to see the full Players Championship projected leaderboard from the model that nailed the winners of four golf majors.
Dustin Johnson 12-1
Rory McIlroy 14-1
Justin Thomas 16-1
Justin Rose 18-1
Brooks Koepka 22-1
Francesco Molinari 22-1
Rickie Fowler 22-1
Tiger Woods 25-1
Xander Schauffele 25-1
Tommy Fleetwood 28-1
Jon Rahm 28-1
Bryson DeChambeau 28-1
Sergio Garcia 33-1
Jason Day 35-1