Picking winners for a golf tournament is incredibly difficult and requires -- we hate to say it -- tons of luck to get it right.
One wayward drive, one plugged bunker shot, or one shanked approach is all it takes to turn your magical big-money payout into a stone-cold zero. Fortunately, we can play the prop market using golf odds on FanDuel Sportsbook for THE PLAYERS Championship and find a few other betting opportunities to wager for this week's tournament without that all-or-nothing downside.
Whereas outright bets only pay out if the golfer wins the event, specials, and props can keep bettors interested all the way through the end of the tournament. So let's focus on some of those opportunities: finishing position, the leader after round one, tournament props, and a miss-the-cut parlay offered by FanDuel.
Shane Lowry Top-5 Finish (+1000) - Lowry has finished T13 and T8 the past two years at TPC Sawgrass, and he's primed for his best finish yet as he kicks into gear for the most important stretch of the season. He has been one of the best approach players in the world for the past year, and after a poor week at Bay Hill (lost 0.49 strokes on approaches), he's due for positive regression in his iron play.
Collin Morikawa Top-10 Finish (+260) - Like most young players, TPC Sawgrass has chewed up Morikawa early in his career. But the accuracy off the tee and elite approach play should make him a staple on the leaderboard for years to come. In his last five full-field events, he has three top-10s and two missed cuts. We'll ride that high-end variance with Morikawa, who has gained on approach even in the two events where he didn't make the weekend.
Kyoung-Hoon Lee Top-10 Finish (+1100) - "TPC Lee" has not quite broken through at THE PLAYERS, but his best finishes have come in consecutive wins at TPC Craig Ranch, a 2021 runner-up at TPC Scottsdale, and a T6 at TPC Twin Cities.
Hideki Matsuyama Top-20 Finish (+320) - Matsuyama has been T23 or better five times in seven trips to TPC Sawgrass. The other two were missed cuts, and that's not counting the canceled 2020 event in which he led after the first round. Health is a question, but both here and in the outright market, that uncertainty is factored into the price. When he's right, Hideki's iron play can carry him into the top 20 week in and week out.
Tommy Fleetwood Top-20 Finish (+350) - Fleetwood's Sawgrass finishes in the last four years are T22, missed cut, T5, and T7. It's been a slow start to his 2023 PGA Tour campaign aside from a T4 at THE CJ CUP and a T20 at the Genesis Invitational, but Fleetwood still has plenty left in the tank and has gained strokes with approaches and around the green in three straight events.
Leader After Round 1
Collin Morikawa (+3400) - In those three events where Morikawa made the cut and finished top 10, he came out of the gates hot with first rounds of 64 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, 67 at the Farmers Insurance Open, and 66 at the Genesis Invitational.
Going back to last season into 2023, he's followed up three of his last four missed cuts with rounds in the mid-60s and a top-10 finish. He's right on the cusp of his best stuff and showed tremendous resilience after collapsing at Kapalua to find the top 10 in two of his next three events.
Miss The Cut Parlay
Jordan Spieth (+184), Matthew Fitzpatrick (+198), and Will Zalatoris (+215) | Parlay +2565 - TPC Sawgrass claims victims every year, and it's easy to like these three stars to fall on the wrong side of the line this week.
All three are afternoon starters on Thursday, so if there is a wave advantage, these three picks are correlated. Winds are not expected to be too strong, but if it gets gusty in the afternoon and these guys get the worst of it, we'll have a stake in monitoring the cut line in addition to our picks at the top of the market.
Spieth has missed the cut in five of his eight trips here and hasn't finished better than T41 since a T4 on debut way back in 2014.
Fitz, likewise, has just one good finish, which was a T9 in 2021. Otherwise, he's missed three cuts, T41, and T46.
Of course, Zalatoris rarely misses cuts, and in his first two cracks at THE PLAYERS, he's impressed in finishing 21st and T26. But, he's battled health and form issues since finally earning his first career PGA Tour win in last year's FedEx Cup Playoffs, and Sawgrass comes for all of these guys eventually.