If you’re looking to fill out your fantasy lineup or office pool for the week, look no further, as we unveil our staff’s Players Championship picks to win.
The Players has a new date (March instead of May) where the course might play a touch differently — colder temperatures and different wind directions, for example — but the winner will still have to beat a difficult and penalizing course in TPC Sawgrass, not to mention one of the best fields in golf.
Tiger Woods is playing after he withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, and he’s 25/1 to win. Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy have the best odds, both coming in at 12/1.
Here are some GOLF staffers’ picks to win the Players come Sunday night. (And here are our sleeper picks to win.)
Luke Kerr-Dineen, instruction editor: Francesco Molinari. We know he’s in form, and his elite ball-striking sets him up perfectly for Sawgrass, which demands more surgical shot-making than overwhelming power from tee to green. He’ll keep the good times rolling this week.
Josh Berhow, senior editor: Justin Thomas. Webb Simpson proved last year that this is a second-shot golf course (he ranked last in driving distance), and JT is one of the top ball-strikers around. Sure, Thomas can bash driver with the best of ’em, but he’ll be a little most selective off the tee this week and pick Sawgrass apart.
Jeff Ritter, digital development editor: At some point Jon Rahm is going to win an event outside of the Tour’s shoulder season. I know, I know, the temper. He always has one hand on the eject button, but his combo of power and ball-striking sets him up for the big events. A win this week could serve as a bridge to a future major title.
Jonathan Wall, equipment editor: Tommy Fleetwood. Going with one of the premier ball-strikers on a course that rewards precision over length. Fleetwood’s going to hit pay dirt at some point on the PGA Tour. This is the week.
Josh Sens, contributor: Rickie Fowler. He’s been rock-solid this year with a win, three top 10s and no missed cuts in seven starts. Time for him to win this one a second time.
Pat Ralph, associate editor: Dustin Johnson. When at his best, it’s hard to find a better golfer on Tour than DJ. He’s already won twice so far in 2019, as well as three other top-10 finishes since December. He’s due for a win at TPC Sawgrass, and a Players Championship title is one of the next pieces to solidifying DJ’s place among golf’s greats.
Jessica Marksbury, multimedia editor: Rickie Fowler. Rick has been kind of hit or miss at TPC Sawgrass since 2012, when he finished tied for second. Since then, he’s either missed the cut, won (2015) or finished near the bottom of the leaderboard. But he’s playing well this season, with three top 10s (including a recent win), so I’m leaning toward hit — not miss — this year.
Tim Reilly, social media editor: Rory McIlroy. He’s been knocking on the door all season and he finally gets over the hump this week… and then we can start up the “Did Rory just win another major?” conversation.