Tue, May 9, 2:55pm by Senior Writer
Defending champion Jason Day is $21 to go back-to-back in golf’s ‘fifth major’, The Players Championship, which will be played this weekend at Sawgrass in Florida.
The Players has earned its status as golf’s biggest tournament outside of the majors, having been won by most of golf’s biggest names. Day added his name to the honour board alongside Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Fred Couples and Jack Nicklaus when he won by four strokes last year.
He became the fourth Aussie to win the tournament, with Adam Scott having won it way back in 2004, while Steve Elkington won it twice (1997 and 1997), while Norman hold the scoring record of minus 24 back in 1994.
Day, the current world No.3, hasn’t won a tournament since, and finished in 22nd place at last month’s Masters at Augusta.
His 2017 has been hampered by both recurring problems with his back and his mother’s illness and with only one top ten finish in seven tournaments this year, he has drifted right out in markets.
Scott is a $36 chance (an enticing $3.50 to be leading Aussie) , which seems value off his ninth in the Masters. He has slipped out of the world top ten for the first time since early 2016, having not won a tournament since that time. He finished 12th at this tournament last year, eight shots adrift of Day.
Scott’s group is sure to attract attention as he plays with Sergio Garcia, who broke through for an emotional first major at Augusta. Garcia, a winner of this tournament in 2008, is a $19, while fellow playing partner Matt Kuchar is $51.
Aussie Cameron Smith has vaulted himself into the public eye off his win the in recent Zurich Classic, a teams event held in New Orleans.
Overall favouritism belongs to world No.1 Dustin Johnson at $8. Johnson famously fell and hurt his back on the eve of the Masters, missing that tournament before returning with a second in the Wells Fargo Championship last week. His last five starts have been third, first, first, first and second.
The huge value with him is a Top 5 finish in this tournament at $2.75. The concern is that he hasn’t fared well here over the past couple of years with a 28th-place finish last year after a 69th in 2015.
Rory McIlroy is second pick at $12 having taken a few weeks off after his seventh in the Masters last month. This has never been a great tournament for him, having finished 12th here last year and eighth two years ago.
It’s a similar story for Jordan Spieth, currently the third pick at $15. He’s missed the cut on his past two trips to Ponte Vedre Beach and was 11th at the Masters.
Suggested Bets: Back Dustin Johnson to finish Top 5 at $2.75.
Back Adam Scott to be leading Australian at $3.50
Back Cameron Smith to be Top 10 at $8
The Players Championship – Winner
Johnson, Dustin $8
Mcilroy, Rory $12
Spieth, Jordan $15
Garcia, Sergio $19
Fowler, Rickie $21
Rahm, Jon $21
Day, Jason $21
Matsuyama, Hideki $23
Rose, Justin $23
Thomas, Justin $29
Koepka, Brooks $34
Stenson, Henrik $34
Scott, Adam $36
Casey, Paul $41
Molinari, Francesco $51
Kisner, Kevin $51
Kuchar, Matt $51
Chappell, Kevin $56
Mickelson, Phil $61
Berger, Daniel $67
Kaymer, Martin $67
Reed, Patrick $71
Smith, Cameron $71
Henley, Russell $71
Others: $81 or longer
Day, Jason $2.25
Scott, Adam $3.50
Smith, Cameron $6.50
Leishman, Marc $7.00
Baddeley, Aaron $17.00
Pampling, Rod $23.00
Chalmers, Greg $41.00
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