PGA TourTournament Previews

The Players Championship Preview – Part 2

For Part I of our Players Championship Preview (Course, Vibe, Last Year), click here. 

Fantasy/Gambling Insights

(all lines courtesy Ladbrokes.com, the Official Bookmaker of NoLayingUp.com)

For reasons noted in Part I of our preview (namely, the course not favoring a particular skillset), this week is a veritable crapshoot – it’s anyone’s game. That being said, we’re trying to mine for some value over going w/ chalk. For fantasy Furyk, Spieth, Stenson, etc., are all good plays, but for value here’s where we’re at:

Horses for Courses

Sergio (20/1) – NLU is a house divided on Serg (along the same lines as our feelings on Kuch if you listened to podcast), but you can’t ignore the form (8/9 cuts worldwide this season and hasn’t finished outside the top 20 in those 8 made cuts) or the history (right in the mix last year before he went all Roy McEvoy on us). He’s a former champ here, too. He’s a ballstriking virtuoso, and I can envision the crappy greens (more on that below) making this a two-putt fest. Advantage Sergio.

Justin Rose (20/1) – Pure form play here. In the last month since the Masters has gone T14, T8, 5 in his three starts. Not much history at Sawgrass to note, especially recently. That said, I’d be remiss not to mention his swing is deliciously smooth right now. Metronome tempo, perfect angles, etc. etc.

Luke Donald (25/1) – Strong history here, and coming off a runner up finish at the RBC Heritage. A T19 a year ago to go with his solo 6th and T4 the two previous years, along with a course that does not demand length off the tee, and you’ve got a very solid spot for a Donald play.

Zach Johnson (40/1) – Great, great odds here. His worst finish at Sawgrass over the last 4 years was a T22 in 2010. He was runner up to Matt Kuchar in 2012. A quiet T14 finish a week ago on a long course is noteworthy, and on a course a lot more fitting to his eye, he’s a solid play.

Value Fliers

Kevin Na (66/1) – The scene of his disaster in 2012 is hard to erase, but he finished T7 despite a final round 76, and also has a T3 finish in 2009. He’s finished top 20 in four of his last five starts.

Kevin Streelman (66/1) – T14 a week ago, and a T2 here last year. I would have hoped for odds in the 80’s, but 66/1 is not bad. Of all the players who have never dumped it in the water on number 17, he’s got the most successful landings with 16. This is more of a hunch play than a horse for course, or a trending play.

Martin Kaymer (80/1) – A final round 75 at Quail Hollow dropped him into a T18 finish, but for the majority of the week, he was looking like the Martin Kaymer of old. His history here is a mixed bag of mediocre finishes, but always makes the cut, and has two top 20’s in the last three years.

Pat Perez (100/1) – This marks the 8th time that we’ve picked Pat Perez this year. He hasn’t rewarded us with a win, but he’s having a fantastic season. This may be more of a fantasy play (I plan on picking him almost every week in fantasy), but also at 100/1 he deserves a look. He’s going to nab one soon.

Roberto Castro (150/1) – Opened with a 63 a year ago, and followed it with a 78. We’ll chalk that up to being put in the spotlight a little bit too quickly, and we’ll also add in that he quietly finished T8 a week ago at Quail Hollow. He’s a sneaky good play here. (He’s also 170/1 on Sportsbook).

Daniel Summerhays (150/1) – Notched a T2 at the Valero back in late March, MC’d the Shell, then went T21 in New Orleans and T55 in Charlotte. Pretty unremarkable I guess, but note he was over par in the fourth rounds of both New Orleans and Charlotte, which blur his form. Sprinkle in a T26 (including a couple 69’s) last year in his only appearance and we have the recipe for a tasty value flier. Another guy I feel is going to nab a win sooner than later.

We went a bit overboard, but we’re playing with some extra cash this week!

The Fringe

  • Contrary to what was written in Part I….unfortunately there IS a dumb nickname for the three hole finishing stretch at TPC Sawgrass: “The Gauntlet.” Nevermind that #16 is the easiest hole on the course and #17 plays as the easiest par-3 most years. Disappointing, but not shocking, that the suits down the road at Tour HQ felt the need to gloss a dumb nickname.
  • Hats off to Stacy Lewis for blitzing the field at last week’s LPGA event in Texas by six shots, capping it off with a final round 64. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I really didn’t know much about Lewis and upon seeing her wikipedia page was totally blown away. How does she not get more press?
  • Twitter got WEIRD this week. We broke down a really dumb feud with Ian Poulter and Three Guys Golf, and a really, REALLY weird one between Keegan Bradley and GhostOfHogan.
  • Rex Hoggard has been all over the greens potentially being a disaster this week at Sawgrass. We’ll see how this plays out. The players are saying it’s not that bad, but I’m counting on at least one player blowing up before the end of the week (I nominate Poulter).
  • Speaking of Finchey, he mentioned this week they may look into moving the date of The Players back to March (as covered again by Rex Hoggard). I think most would agree that the conditions of four or five greens being questionable once out of eight years isn’t that big of a deal. That being said, wouldn’t be surprised if Finchy issued a directive advising the players not to bitch about the greens to avoid creating negative publicity.
  • He’s not in the picks above (hope we don’t regret it), but Chris Stroud holds the honor of lowest career scoring average (minimum 8 rounds) of anyone in the field this year at 70.79. The rest of the top-25 is here.
  • If you haven’t done so already, peep a replay of the 1994 Players – Norman’s performance was spectacular, the outfits were prime, and the scores were DEEP. Here’s a rundown.
  • NBC on the coverage this week – cue up Rog & Johnny having a three hour long convo about where the “fall line” is and whether so-and-so just hit a “trap draw.” This should get you caught back up. 
  • Soly played here back in 2010. After a front nine 45, he was two under on the back going into the famed island green hole. To say that this hole messes with your mind does not do it justice. As you may guess, it did not go well:

About the Author

Tron Carter - NLU's resident curmudgeon, wannabe media critic, fashion crusader, and arbiter of all things "pop." Passionate proponent of taking driver off the deck. Native of Atlanta, now residing in Jacksonville Beach after two quick, but beneficial years in Boston. Other interests include history, infrastructure, wine, and Michael Bay's seminal masterpiece The Rock. Also doing business as "Todd Schuster." [email protected]

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11 responses to “The Players Championship Preview – Part 2

  1. Really feel bad about making a comment on the last blog about “the Gauntlet.” I feel like a parent who just told their kid that Santa Claus isn’t real.

    1. Yeah we heard it on The Golf Channel this week, and realized we had to go back and edit Part I. Then we just hoped none of our readers would have noticed, but you guys are too good. Seriously, the course has been there for 30+ years. Has anyone ever called it the gauntlet?

  2. Dont worry man, played there in ’07- finished: 6,10. Actually was a solid up and down for 10 on 18 though.

  3. Its good to see the Germanator begin to find his way after a brief stint in the periphery of the Wilderness. Speaking of the Wilderness, is Ogilvey’s play last week an indication that he could be returning to civilization? Also good to see one of the Wilderness’s most storied explorer’s, Serg is in better spirits. I don’t think the Katharina Boehm effect can be overstated.

    How about a Podcast or Hosel Rocket on the Wilderness? Who are the best players to set foot in the Wilderness? Who’s been to the deepest, darkest parts? Who was left for dead but managed to return stronger? Who went in and never returned? Why does a player go in? How does a player come out? Why does a player keep pushing deeper into the Wilderness, while others catch a glimpse and quickly return?

      1. It would also be interesting to analyze if the players trip to the WIlderness was related to ball striking (The Terminator), putting (Oosthuizen), metal game or a complete loss of all of the above (Sergio).

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