The PGA Tour rolls back down to Florida this week for the unofficial 5th major championship at the TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship. TPC Sawgrass is one of the primer courses in the world and most notable for the 17th island hole.
In terms of picking, this is one tournament that is very tough; probably the toughest to pick on Tour. It’s an unpredictable tournament. For example, take a look at some of the best players in the world and look at their past history here at The Players.
Let’s start with Adam Scott, in the past five years Scott has missed two cuts (2009 and 2011), Jim Furyk in 2009 finished T-5, but then he followed it up with a T-47 in 2010, and then a missed cut in 2011, and in 2013. Justin Rose has missed the cut twice in 2010 and last year in 2013. Even Matt Kuchar who is one of the best most consistent golfers on tour is up and down here at The Players. While he has made the cut the last five years it’s been an up and down affair. last year, he finished T-48, in 2012 he won it, and before that he finished T-51.
So, basically, what I’m saying is that it’s very tough to have consistent success here at TPC Sawgrass. The Players Championship is one of the most unpredictable tournaments on Tour. A reason for that is probably the final three holes, including the “Island Hole.” With all that said, let’s see if we can find some value and pick some sleepers who might compete this week.
Justin Leonard- Remember what I said about consistency? Well, Leonard has found that consistency here at The Players. He has made the cut in the last five years. Granted, his results haven’t been spectacular, but he has made the cut. Making the cut is very important. Leonard gets some cash in his pocket, and in cash fantasy games you get points for making the cut and you continue to earn points throughout the weekend. And that’s what Leonard has done the past five years. He has made the cut here and has had a consistent season this season making the cut in 10 of 12 tournaments.
Stephen Gallacher- I normally take players with history at a course, but in this particular case I’m breaking that rule. Gallacher has no history at TPC Sawgrass, he’s never played at The Players Championship, but as mentioned this is a wild tournament.
First of all, Gallacher is a very good player. He’s a very good player on the European Tour and this year he has played in a handful of PGA Tour events and in the events he has played, he’s flourished.
The two key events this season have been at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and The Masters. At Doral at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Gallacher has finished T-6, and at The Masters he finished T-34. Those have been two stacked fields and Gallacher has stood up to them well and that bodes well this week. Not only that, but that T-6 at Doral is big too because Doral is very much like TPC Sawgrass. A lot of water, and it’s located in Florida.
While, Gallacher hasn’t played here at The Players Championship before, again going back to what I mentioned earlier, it’s tough to have sustained success here year and year out. So, I’m not too worried about having no history here. He’s had a good year and has competed with the big boys and he may very well compete this week. Keep your eye on Gallacher, he may end up being in the thick of things come Sunday.
Ben Crane- Ben Crane has had a solid, typical Ben Crane year so far, but of late he’s struggled. He’s missed the cut in three straight tournaments and he’s missed the cut in four of the last five tournaments. Nevertheless, I feel that he has a decent shot to compete here at The Players. Going back to the theme this week of consistency, Crane had that consistency a few years ago.
From 2008 to 2010 Crane finished T-6, T-5, and T-4. While he hasn’t found that success of late, he’s still been pretty good. In 2011 he finished T-45, in 2012 he missed the cut and last year he finished T-8. All in all, I feel that Crane has a good shot to bounce back and get off the schneid this week and make the cut.
Brian Davis- Last week, he was one of my sleeper picks and I did have him on a couple of my teams and while he made the cut, to me, he was still a bit disappointing. I thought he would have had a better finish at Quail Hollow anyway, I digress.
This week, at The Players, I feel he is a sleeper pick. Davis has played well, he’s made the cut in five of the last six tournaments and he has a pretty decent history here at TPC Sawgrass. Last year, Davis finished T-72, in 2012: T-25, 2011: T-26, 2010: MC, and 2009: T-5.
Again, not highly consistent, but given how low and how cheap he is, I’d give Davis a look at being on your team this week. Personally, I don’t think he’ll be on my team, we’ll see how the money breaks down, but I’d give him a look.
Marc Leishman- Marc Leishman isn’t a super sleeper, he isn’t a super cheap pick, but he does have value. Ever since that collapse in the second round at The Masters he hasn’t played well. Granted, he’s only played two rounds since that second round. He played the very next week at the RBC Heritage and missed the cut. He’s taken a couple of weeks off, so maybe he’s got the batteries recharged and will make a run at this year’s Players.
At The Players, Marc Leishman has gotten better and better, so maybe that trend will continue. In 2011, he missed the cut, in 2012: 45th, and last year T-8. Leishman has the swing and the talent to win, so who knows? In a year that’s been littered with unexpected winners, maybe Leishman will add his name that ever growing list…and don’t forget he’s Australian.