By News Team
Last Updated: 11th March 2020
While the Cheltenham Festival is taking centre stage in the UK this week, there is the small matter of the unofficial ‘fifth Major’ over in the United States. The Players Championship is probably the biggest tournament outside of the four Majors and it’s hosted at one of the best courses around in TPC Sawgrass.
What makes Sawgrass so special is that it doesn’t really suit one type of player and the role of honour typifies that. Big hitters like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have won here, while the more accurate players like Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar have also emerged victorious. As such, it’s one of the best tournaments to watch and here is our look ahead to all of the action.
Bang in form DeChambeau can go well again
Looking back over the years and the tournaments tends to be won by an elite player who is in good form and hasn’t won for a decent amount of time. Taking this into account, the player that sticks out like a sore thumb is Bryson DeChambeau at 20/1. The American is winless since taking the Dubai Desert Classic title in January 2019, but there have been clear signs in the past few weeks that Bryson is close to re-entering the winner’s circle.
Thirteenth at Silverado, fourth at TPC Summerlin, eighth in Dubai, fifth at Riviera, second in Mexico and fourth last week at Bay Hill this season is a pretty impressive run of form and if he continues in the same vein that next win can’t be far away. And it’s not like DeChambeau doesn’t know how to win – he’s won five times on the PGA Tour and once on the European Tour since July 2017 and when confidence is high, which it clearly is now, he’s one of the world’s best players. He’s no stranger to winning the big tournaments either having won the Memorial as well as winning consecutive FedEx Cup Playoff events at the Northern Trust and Dell Technologies Championship.
He’s played Sawgrass twice and has finished 37th and 20th in the last two years and as we all know it’s a course that very few conquer early on in their careers, but with both the driver and irons in fine fettle there is every reason to suggest he could dramatically improve on those results this year. DeChambeau topped weekend scoring at Bay Hill last week when the course was about as hard as it gets and he looks a tasty price to win his biggest title to date.
Simpson could conquer Sawgrass once more
As mentioned, course form is always a key thing to look out for this week and one man who seems to love it around here is Webb Simpson. He was very hot and cold in his first few goes at the Floridian track, but in the last three years he has really caught fire. Two top-20 finishes either side of a four-stroke victory in 2018 show how much Simpson has warmed to the intricacies of Sawgrass and he’s another who should go well again this time around.
Bar a below-par performance in Mexico a couple of weeks ago, Simpson had been in superb form with just one finish outside the top 20 since the Open in July. He’s often thought of as a player who doesn’t win enough, but the world number seven really showed his mental determination when outlasting Tony Finau in a play-off to win the Waste Management Phonenix Open on his penultimate start. That was his sixth win on Tour and back on a course he clearly loves, number seven could easily come this week.
Check out this week’s golf podcast where we take a look at the Players Championship.