Off the Record – The Players Championship

It’s finally time for us to take a trip to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida for the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. The field is one of the best we will see all year. The Players should be considered golf’s fifth major, the purse alone is a whopping 20 million, with first-place paying 3.6 million. The course is a Pete Dye design that will prioritize positional play over length, and it will reward players with a strong approach and short game. It is a par 72 that measures over 7200 yards and it has water hazards on every hole but one. In 2017, they switched the date of the tournament from May to be played earlier in the year in March. This change has made an impact on the Bermuda greens which will now be over seeded with Velvet Bent and Poa Triv. It also has made the course play a lot less firm. Over the last seven years, the field has averaged 2 double bogeys or worse per 72 holes, which is second only to PGA National (Honda). The field average scoring in this event has been 72.68 since 2015. This makes TPC Sawgrass one of the tougher courses they will play all year, but scoring is still possible. Since 2017, the cut line has been +3, E, E, and +1.

Past Winners

2021 – Justin Thomas (-14)

2020 – Covid (Hideki leader after partial round 1)

2019 – Rory McIlroy (-16)

2018 – Webb Simpson (-18)

2017 – Si Woo Kim (-10)

2016 – Jason Day (-15)

2015 – Rickie Fowler (-12)

2014 – Martin Kaymer (-13)

2013 – Tiger Woods (-13)

2012 – Matt Kuchar (-13)


Key Stats

  • SG:OTT
  • SG:APP
  • SG:ARG
  • SG:Par 5
  • SG: Par 4 450-500
  • SG: Putting
  • Course History
  • Pete Dye History
  • Recent Form


Top 10 SG:OTT Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Jon Rahm
  2. Cameron Young
  3. Keith Mitchell
  4. Corey Conners
  5. Rory McIlroy
  6. Sergio Garcia
  7. Luke List
  8. Patrick Cantlay
  9. Sungjae Im
  10. Brendan Steele


Top 10 SG:APP Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Jon Rahm
  2. Russell Knox
  3. Will Zalatoris
  4. Scottie Scheffler
  5. Viktor Hovland
  6. Justin Thomas
  7. Daniel Berger
  8. Tom Hoge
  9. Hideki Matsuyama
  10. Luke List


Top 10 SG:ARG Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Russell Henley
  2. Stephan Jaeger
  3. Brendon Todd
  4. Matt Jones
  5. Scottie Scheffler
  6. Chris Kirk
  7. Matt Kuchar
  8. Luke List
  9. Tyrell Hatton
  10. Harold Varner III


Top 10 SG: Par 5 Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Patrick Cantlay
  2. Matthew Fitzpatrick
  3. Max Homa
  4. Cameron Smith
  5. Scottie Scheffler
  6. Sam Ryder
  7. Rory McIlroy
  8. Seamus Power
  9. Lanto Griffin
  10. Dustin Johnson


Top 10 SG: Par 4 450-500 Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Billy Horschel
  2. Viktor Hovland
  3. Mito Pereira
  4. Cameron Young
  5. Andrew Putnam
  6. Sebastian Munoz
  7. Justin Thomas
  8. Brendan Steele
  9. Gary Woodland
  10. Seamus Power


Top 10 SG: TPC Sawgrass

  1. Adam Scott
  2. Justin Thomas
  3. Jason Day
  4. Si Woo Kim
  5. Sergio Garcia
  6. Rory McIlroy
  7. Hideki Matsuyama
  8. Matt Kuchar
  9. Lee Westwood
  10. Tommy Fleetwood


Top 10 Pete Dye Specialist:

  1. Dustin Johnson
  2. Rory McIlroy
  3. Jason Day
  4. Matt Kuchar
  5. Adam Scott
  6. Paul Casey
  7. Justin Rose
  8. Webb Simpson
  9. Patrick Cantlay
  10. Brooks Koepka


            Sadly, it looks as if we are going to have some rain/wind in the forecast this week. We have been extremely fortunate not to have any weather delays, but it could change this week. Weather forecasts do look mixed as some websites have anything from a 10%-80% chance of storms on Thursday and Friday. Not sure why there is such a vast difference but hopefully as we get closer to tee times the weather becomes more obvious. The greens do feature the precision air system which will allow them to dry and speed up the greens if we do get a lot of rain.

My Model/Strategy

            I honestly can’t wait to get this week started. Draftkings has offered us some great contests with 2 milly makers this week. This event is a tournament where we constantly see congregated ownership. DK will always misprice golfers in these types of fields. Building lineups this week will make you feel as if you got an all-star team. This leads to everyone playing the same plays. It happened a couple years ago with Paul Casey and he missed the cut. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be afraid to fade guys you think may be too popular. Something I like to do is look at a projected ownership model and try to make it to where the ownership on my teams is less than 95% total. For example, I will add up the projected ownership from the 6 golfers on my team and make a rule to where I don’t get too chalky of lineups. This may not be important to most people, but it will drastically help make sure you don’t have a duplicated lineup. Below is the model I made on Fantasy National using the key stats listed above:


I will be very curious to see where ownership lands in this range. It looks as if the two most popular as of now will be Justin Thomas and Morikawa, which is warranted. Both are exceptional iron players. The only thing that worries me with Morikawa is his short game. Last year, Morikawa lost over 4 strokes to the field just on his short game alone and finished T41. One thing that I will say, Morikawa did look a lot better at the Genesis where he gained almost 9 strokes with his short game. Typically, with kikuyu grass it leads to chipping fits at Genesis but he excelled. So, the question we need to ask ourselves, “Has his short game improved this much since last year?” I’m not quite sure it has. He ranks 139th in this field in SG:P on fast and lightning Bermuda greens. Keep in mind there is only 144 players in the field. This doesn’t mean I will full fade Morikawa, but as of right now he won’t be a main build or 3 max type of player for me.

At the beginning of the year we constantly seen Rahm at 20%+ ownership and I don’t expect this week to be any different especially in higher stakes. The higher the entry fee, the more popular Rahm becomes. This course should suit Rahm well, he is a phenomenal chipper, and is number one in the field last 24 rounds in approach and number one in SG: OTT. In his last 3 events he has lost a total of almost 9 strokes putting and his worst finish was T21. In his first 2 appearances at the Players, Rahm lost over 9 strokes putting total in two events. But in his last two appearances at the Players, Rahm has gained strokes with his putter. This is a good sign that maybe he’s getting more familiar with the greens. Eventually the putter will flip and when it does he will be in contention on Sunday. My favorite play in this range and my pick to win the tournament will be Rahm.

Hovland and McIlroy will be the lowest owned in this range and both will make for exceptional tournament plays. Hovland is an elite ball striker but also has the same short game flaws as Morikawa. The only reason why Hovland missed the cut last year was because his mom told him about a penalty he didn’t call on himself. McIlroy is a past winner of this event so obviously there’s no reason why he couldn’t go out there and win it again. My favorite play between the two would have to Hovland just because I like his price savings and upside.


This range is very strong even with the withdraw of Bryson. Cantlay has been one of the best golfers in the field as far as recent form but a lot of that was the flat stick. DJ will be criminally under owned and his course history exceptional. Coming off a missed cut at the Genesis at high ownership will lead to everyone shying away. This is the perfect opportunity to hop back on with the lower ownership. If he was a great play at the Genesis, why isn’t he as good of a play here? Xander, Hideki and Scottie are definitely my favorite plays in this range and I will expect to have a high amount of exposure to all 3 in my MME builds. All rank in the top 10 in the model I made. I honestly don’t even hate the idea of starting some lineups with one these guys and going for a more balanced approach because those 3 do have winning upside. The only thing that would worry me would be Xander coming down the stretch in contention. I can just see him now heading to 17 with the lead and putting one in the water, similar to what he did at Augusta on 16. I personally will fade both Cam Smith and Spieth but it wouldn’t shock me if they played well. I just can’t play everyone.


Two golfers in this range are criminally underpriced. Berger and Koepka are way too talented of golfers to be in this price range. Ownership will follow but it is understandable. I like both of them and I will have both in my MME builds.

Willy Z is just a guy I don’t ever get much exposure to, because he always seems to be popular. He’s another one of those guys that’s a great ball striker but struggles with his short game.

Louis and Finau will both come in under 10% owned and make for great tournament plays. Neither popped on my model or have good tournament history. I probably will fade both to load up more on Berger and Koepka. I like the plays 8400 and below allot better than the guys in the upper tier beside Berger and Koepka.

Niemann is another one of the exceptional ball strikers with a suspect short game but he just doesn’t miss many cuts.

Sungjae is an elite all around talent who typically plays well in Florida. This course should fit his game. The only thing that worries me with Sungjae is the recent form. It may look as if he had a great finish at the API but he gained 7 strokes putting and lost strokes in every other category. Then missed the cut at the Honda the week before. He’s lost strokes

in 2 straight events with the approach so that’s concerning. I will probably fade Sungjae.

Adam Scott has the best course history out of anyone in the entire field. He should come in as the third highest owned in this range but for good reason. He has figured out something with the flat stick which is encouraging to see, but his approach fell off last week.

Billy Ho has been in exceptional form, but he’s just a guy I don’t ever play. This week may be different because his ball striking numbers have looked unbelievable lately.

Shane Lowry is the type of golfer where I will be checking the weather throughout the week. The worse the conditions, the more exposure I will get because he’s just a grinder.

My favorite plays in this range should come as no surprise, they are Brooks and Berger.


I won’t go into every golfer in this range, but instead I will highlight the guys that I plan on planting my flag with this week. First let me start off with Fitzpatrick. This guy is just an elite talent who thrives on tough tracks. If par is a good score, you can almost bet that Fitzpatrick will be somewhere high on the leaderboard. His game fits this track, he won’t miss many fairways and has an elite short game.

Gary Woodland is someone who I will get some high exposure to, he is at the same price range as someone who should the chalkiest play on the entire slate (Paul Casey), so it should help his ownership. Woodland is coming in off two top 5 finishes where he gained with his approach. The only thing that would worry me would be his course history, but typically Gary plays better when he can club down off the tee.

Henley is someone who is grading out well in my model and he also comes in at the $7400 tag. I love him as a play as well because I doubt many people will play him over someone like Casey. Henley does have spotty course history as well but he is coming in with 13 straight made cuts. Paul Casey is obviously a great play as well because he’s about 1k too cheap. Ownership will follow so I can’t argue with the play. I will more than likely take an underweight stance as of now.

Si Woo Kim and Cameron Young are both guys who grade out well in my model and who I will get exposure to.

My favorite play in this range is Alex Noren. This course fits his game and he’s coming in off four consecutive events where he’s gaining with his approach. He is a short game wizard. I not only think he can pay off his tag, but he’s someone who I think can actually win the event. He had a T17 back in 2018 and was solo 10th in 2017. I love Noren this week.


I honestly don’t love this range. I will probably limit most of my exposure to plays down here. I may even make a rule to where I get only one, at most two of the plays in this range on a lineup. Brian Harman has great course history but it typically has been all putter. He should be extremely popular but it wouldn’t shock me to see him play well here again. I will definitely have exposure.

Keegan Bradley is someone who has great course history and is also a great value play. Sebastian Munoz is also another guy who is popping in my model. He’s coming in off 4 events where he’s lost strokes with the putter but he’s still got 3 top 25’s in that span. I love his price and upside.

The last guy I will mention down here is Dylan Fritelli. He has 3 consecutive events where he’s gained ARG and on the APP so he fits the type of player I’m looking for.

My Core

Jon Rahm

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Alexander Noren

Doing this still leaves you with over 8k remaining per golfer. It also doesn’t come in as too chalky because early indication show Rahm at around 15% ownership. The chalkiest player will definitely be Fitzpatrick but for good reason. He may even creep up to 25%+ in some contests which will lead to him being one of the more popular plays on the slate. I just can’t fade so I am sure a missed cut is incoming. Hope everyone has a great week and hope you enjoyed reading the content. I will try to do my best to make these as easy as possible to read and enjoy. LETS RUN PURE!!!!!!


2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *