Woodland to make his mark at Sawgrass
This week the PGA Tour travels to TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship. It is referred to as the unofficial 'Fifth Major' and the holder of the title is Tim Clark (125/1). It is one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour and the seventeenth hole is one of the most renowned par 3s in world golf.
The correct club selection is vital to land on a slick island green with a small and deep trap at the front, it is very easy to find the water. It could be where the Championship is won or lost on the Sunday.
So what does it take to have a chance of winning the 2011 Players Championship?
Going back to the year 2000, every winner but three has been in the top-10 of greens hit category. Last year, Tim Clark impressed by finishing T14th from hitting 55 of the 72 greens.
This season has been the year of the long-shots on the PGA Tour. The likes of Brendan Steele (150/1), Jhonatthan Vegas (200/1), Mark Wilson (150/1) and Gary Woodland (125/1) have all won on the 2011 PGA Tour at big prices. This theme can continue at Sawgrass, one player who could make his mark again on the PGA Tour is the hugely talented Gary Woodland. He looks a massive price at 125/1, he has hit a cracking 70.69% of greens in regulation on the tour.
He has three top-five finishes this season and he won the Transitions Championship. If he can putt well, he has a fantastic each-way chance.
Adam Scott (33/1) won the tournament in 2004 and he should be well-rested. He has been consistent with his putter this season and the Aussie came close to winning The Masters recently. He has found over 69% of greens in regulation this season and he must be taken seriously.
Scrambling is an important part of the player's game at Sawgrass. The golfers will miss greens and there are a lot of tough chips and bump and runs required on the course. Luke Donald (16/1) can thrive at this event, in my opinion he is the world's greatest at sand saves and saving par. He has been placed in the top-10 in six of his last seven golf tournaments and he will not be intimidated at Sawgrass.
Another good each-way bet at a massive price is Webb Simpson (80/1). He has played most of the events on the Tour this year and he can go close. He came second at the Transitions Championship and he is in-form, his key stats show that he is stronger than the PGA Tour average at driving distance, driving accuracy, greens in regulation and scrambling.
He has the game to win and in-time he can become a big name player on the Tour. After a T21 at Wells Fargo last week, he is my favoured long-shot.
Of the other big-name players, Tiger Woods (14/1) can never be discounted. However, he is winless since 2009. He injured his knee and achilles at The Masters and he needs to carry the form and the momentum of his final round at Augusta to Sawgrass.
Mickelson has one of the best short games in the world and he looks the best bet to make the top-10 at 27/20. The young guys on the Tour may be getting more attention this season but he can carry the mantle for the older generation.