Adam Scott could surprise at Players Championship

Profile Picture: Tommy Raymond

March 11th, 2020

The PGA Tour moves this week to TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida for the Players Championship.

The Players isn’t a major, but it is golf’s fifth most important tournament. Just as with the four majors, a win carries a five-year Tour exemption. Its purse this year was upped to $15 million, as well, which makes it the richest event in golf.

TPC Sawgrass is full of unique challenges

Designed by the late Pete Dye, TPC Sawgrass is as a par 72 and has a scorecard yardage of 7,189. Its signature hole is its shortest, the legendary 137-yard, island-green 17th. There have been nine aces in this tournament on one of golf’s most famous holes, including one by Ryan Moore a year ago. But any hole surrounded by water can yield off-the-charts type of high numbers, as well, as illustrated by the 12 Bob Tway recorded in 2005.

This course isn’t long by Tour standards, so it enables a wider variety of winners than perhaps any other course. We’ve seen bombers, such as Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, prevail. But shorter hitters, such as Tim Clark, Matt Kuchar, and Fred Funk, have hoisted the trophy.

The top tournaments and courses tell you who the best golfers are. Since the Players was inaugurated in 1974 (TPC Sawgrass started hosting in 1982), 27 of its winners either had won majors previously or eventually won a major (for this purpose, multiple Players winners were counted once).

Sungjae Im is on a hot streak

Three years ago Si Woo Kim became the youngest winner of this event, at age 21. This year he could be joined by fellow South Korean Sungjae Im, who won’t turn 22 until March 30. Im won two weeks ago in the Honda Classic and just last week placed a strong third in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He missed the cut in last year’s Players, but that can just as easily be attributed to inexperience. With another year under his belt, he now ranks 10th on Tour in scoring average and 12th in strokes gained total. Im hasn’t won a major, but there are definite signs that is in his future. At +2500 he is worth a play for top honors, matchups, and in each-way plays.

Sawgrass plays to Scott's strengths

Adam Scott missed the cut last week at Bay Hill but is a past champion here and won the Genesis last month in Los Angeles. He has eight straight made cuts at Sawgrass and is a healthy +2500 to win. He is eighth on Tour in strokes gained around the green and 26th in strokes gained tee to green. Ball striking has always been one of his strengths, an attribute Sawgrass rewards.

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