Looking for 2017 The Players Championship picks, either for betting or fantasy golf games like DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo, Golf Channel or the PGA Tour?
We have your 2017 The Players Championship rankings and expert picks, as we do each week of the PGA Tour season.
The Players Championship is here, and we’re excited. It’s one of the great tournaments of the year on a course that truly favors no particular player. A lot of the greats have won here, and so have a lot of head-scratchers. Play great golf, and you win, and it’s that simple. It isn’t most weeks on Tour, where course length, setup and other factors have so much influence over the subset of the field that can win. That makes this event special, but it also makes it hard to predict.
For those new to our weekly picks, we offer our top 10 players for free. GNN Plus members get additional analysis and research otherwise hidden to the general public, and that’s in addition to access to a searchable database of PGA Tour results from 2011-present, top-15 PGA Tour trends and season-long DraftKings salary trends.
2017 The Players Championship rankings: Top 10 picks
1. Rory McIlroy – McIlroy has an excellent record at TPC Sawgrass, not finishing out of the top 12 in the last four years. However, he’s been off since the Masters and will be playing new sticks this week.
2. Dustin Johnson – You have to put Johnson up high on the list. He’s gone 1-1-1-T2. But his Sawgrass record is modest. He makes cuts but doesn’t have a top 10.
3. Jon Rahm – This is perhaps a little premature to rank to Rahm so highly on this kind of stage, but he’s been an absolute stud in 20 professional starts. His only stumble in the last two months has been on Sunday at the Masters.
4. Sergio Garcia – Garcia is returning to golf after his Masters win and celebrating for a month. Celebrate forever, Sergio. However, Garcia has a great Sawgrass record, including a 2008 win. He loves here.
5. Jordan Spieth – Spieth’s schedule has been light since the Masters, making a nice charge with Ryan Palmer at the Zurich. Fell apart on Sunday at Augusta, but he’s been pretty spiffy all year.
6. Rickie Fowler – The Rickster has a knack for playing well at Sawgrass, with an incredible 2015 win and a 2012 runner-up. Already a winner this year, he missed the cut at the Zurich with Jason Day.
7. Jason Day – The defending champion is still getting into this year. He’s been through quite a bit personally, so it’s all understandable. He has an iffy Sawgrass record. He either finishes top 20 or misses the cut in the last five years.
8. Matt Kuchar – Kuchar has been getting into good form over the last 45 days. He had a fabulous Sunday at the Masters, then back-doored a near top 10 at Harbour Town. He’s a past Players winner and was in the top three here last year.
9. Hideki Matsuyama – Matsuyama cooled off from his amazing pace at the end of ’16 and early ’17. He’s a great ballstriker, who was T-11 at the Masters. Putting liability isn’t as big of a deal here.
10. Kevin Chappell – Chappell is the hot hand of sorts, winning the Valero Texas Open. He was a runner-up last year to Jason Day.
My DraftKings lineup for this week:
- Sergio Garcia – $10,200
- Kevin Chappell – $8,500
- Pat Perez – $8,100
- Matt Kuchar – $7,900
- Francesco Molinari – $7,700
- Jimmy Walker – $7,200
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GNN Plus Research and Analysis
Recent PGA Tour Trends
We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five individual PGA Tour events.
- Aaron Baddeley – 2 – T-15 Shell Houston Open, T-5 Valero Texas Open
- Branden Grace – 2 – T-11 RBC Heritage, T-13 Valero Texas Open
- Brian Gay – 2 – T-6 RBC Heritage, T-6 Valero Texas Open
- Brian Harman – 2 – T-0 RBC Heritage, WIN Wells Fargo Championship
- Brooks Koepka – 2 – T-11 Masters, 2nd Valero Texas Open
- Jason Dufner – 2 – T-12 Shell Houston Open, T-11 RBC Heritage
- Jon Rahm – 2 – T-10 Shell Houston Open, 4th Wells Fargo Championship
- Justin Rose – 2 – T-12 Shell Houston Open, P-2 Masters
- Kevin Chappell – 2 – T-7 Masters, WIN Valero Texas Open
- Matt Kuchar – 2 – T-4 Masters, T-11 RBC Heritage
- Paul Casey – 2 – 6th Masters, T-12 Wells Fargo Championship
- Rickie Fowler – 2 – T-3 Shell Houston Open, T-11 Masters
- Russell Henley – 2 – WIN Shell Houston Open, T-11 Masters
- Ryan Palmer – 2 – T-11 RBC Heritage, T-10 Valero Texas Open
- Sung Kang – 3 – 2nd Shell Houston Open, T-11 RBC Heritage, T-6 Valero Texas Open
- Zac Blair – 2 – T-8 Shell Houston Open, T-12 Wells Fargo Championship
Event Finish History
Here are the players who finished in the top 15 at the The Players Championship multiple times in the last five years:
- Adam Scott – 2
- Chris Kirk – 2
- David Toms – 3
- Francesco Molinari – 2
- Henrik Stenson – 2
- Jason Day – 2
- Jimmy Walker – 2
- K.J. Choi – 2
- Kevin Na – 2
- Lee Westwood – 2
- Martin Kaymer – 2
- Martin Laird – 2
- Matt Kuchar – 2
- Rickie Fowler – 2
- Rory McIlroy – 4
- Sergio Garcia – 4
- Spencer Levin – 2
- Steve Stricker – 2
- Zach Johnson – 3
DraftKings salaries change from week to week, depending on field strength and size, as well a player’s recent record and their history on a course. It’s in looking at how a salary changes over time that we might get some clues as to players that could be a little overrated or underrated.
Here’s the list of players in the field playing $250 over their 2016-17 average salary:
- Michael Kim
- D.A. Points
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Matt Every
- Ernie Els
- Rod Pampling
- Bernhard Langer
- Spencer Levin
- Sung Kang
- Kevin Chappell
- Pat Perez
- Sergio Garcia
Here are the players playing this week with multiple top-15 finishes in the last five PGA Tour events that re playing BELOW their average salary from the 2016-17 season:
- Branden Grace
- Brian Harman
- Matt Kuchar
- Paul Casey
- Russell Henley
Success at TPC Sawgrass
We know TPC Sawgrass by now. It favors no man. It’s not long. You have to work the ball both ways, typically on the same hole. You have to hit great approach shots. You need to make tough, close putts. You need to play smart but not scared. Winning at Sawgrass is about skill and confidence. It’s about managing your game and not falling for Pete Dye’s visual deception.