Shapiro's 2022 Players Championship preview
We have seen some strong, deep fields in Phoenix, at Riviera, and last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but there is no doubt the strongest group of the year tees off on Thursday morning at The Players Championship. And who could blame the world’s best golfers? A total of $20 million is up for grabs, including a cool $3.6 million to the winner. Yes, this is the biggest prize pool in PGA history.
The Players Championship 2022
Sun, March 13 2022, 9:00 PM
Last year’s champion, Justin Thomas, is back to defend his title. The Kentucky native looks to become the first golfer ever to win The Players in back-to-back years. Thomas, Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa, are all listed at below 15-1 in TwinSpires Sports’ outright market for what has often been branded as golf’s "fifth major."
Despite their complete games and their obvious allure, I'm going to pass on them this time around. The field is just too deep to swallow chalk. Below are a few wagers that I will be getting involved with.
Daniel Berger: Top 20 (+150)
Berger took off last week in Orlando after blowing a big lead on Sunday at the Honda Classic. Normally, that would be a concern, but the 28-year-old has shown the ability to close in the past and fits TPC Sawgrass beautifully. His iron play, along with his ability to keep the ball in the fairway, give him a major shot to be in contention over the weekend. I am not sure if he will score enough on the Par 5’s to win the tournament, but I expect him to be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
Hideki Matsuyama: Winner (+2800) Top 5 (+700), Top 10 (+335)
I expected the 2021 Masters champion to play better last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but at least he closed the tournament out with a strong round on Sunday afternoon. As usual, Matsuyama was masterful with his approach game, which sets him up well for this week in Ponte Vedra Beach. The Japanese phenom is one of the best ball strikes in the world and scores well on Par 5’s. If he can make a few putts, he can win his first Players Championship.
Will Zalatoris (-105) vs. Dustin Johnson
Zalatoris played well in the opening round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but had a final three rounds to forget at Bay Hill, including a final round, 79. That is forgivable though, given the extremely difficult conditions in Orlando. Look for the 25-year-old to bounce back in a big way this week. I like his chances quite a bit of besting Dustin Johnson, as D.J. comes in with very little form. Missing the cut is well within his range of outcomes.