See the PGA's best talent for the last time before the US Open. In what's considered a fifth major in many golfing conversations, THE PLAYERS Championship begins on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, FL. The 7,215 yd. Pete Dye layout with it's signature, gimmicky 17th hole is perennial host to the Tour's gem event. The onus is getting your tee shot in the bowling alley fairways in order to score. That's led to winners and straight hitters like Fred Funk, or the previously unrecognized Stephen Ames. What it means is an everyman's tournament in line with our current socialist leanings. Should be a horse race. $1.71 million to the victor. Complete field.
Without further ado, let's handicap the field with odds courtesy of Bodog.com. Bet early and often, but use Average Golfer's suggestions at your own peril. Here we go.......
Tiger Woods, 7/2 - Of course he's the favorite, but still not Tiger sharp. The course let's in too many others. Can win, won't. Odds are lightened to spread the betting.
Phil Mickelson, 10/1 - This course isn't for him in his present state. Hitting too many "Captain Kirks". Won't win.
Sean O'Hair, 25/1 - I'd pick him if he hadn't won last week. Might win.
Geoff Ogilvy, 28/1 - Like him if he's plays like he did in match play. Could win.
Sergio Garcia, 33/1 - Long odds for a defending champ. I have no clue about Sergio. Nor does he. Could win.
Kenny Perry, 33/1 - Straight enough, Long enough. Why not?
Steve Stricker, 40/1 - Starting to look like the Stricker of '07. Possible.
Paul Casey, 40/1 - Tasted victory this year. Has the goods. Needs to stay straight. Could win.
Ernie Els, 40/1 - I'm sorry, but Ernie's lost the fire in his belly. About 4 years ago. Won't win.
Jim Furyk, 33/1 - All comes down to the putter. I'd try not backing off the first look on putts. Couldn't hurt. Can win.
Luke Donald, 40/1 - Injury magnet has all the tools to win this thing. Fragile body and psyche. Might win.
Hunter Mahan, 40/1 - Popular semi dark horse. Reason for all that. Could win.
Camilo Villegas, 40/1 - Love him on this course. Underrated putter. If his irons are hot could very well win.
Retief Goosen, 40/1 - Depends on which Goose we get. Major winner or cut- misser at Quail Hollow. Too unpredictable of late. Wouldn't take him.
Padraig Harrington, 40/1 - Pressure's off after end of major streak. One to watch. How did Paddy get to 40/1?
Anthony Kim, 40/1 - Recent success questions work ethic. Prodigious talent, but sprays too much for this course. Won't win.
There you have it. Brilliance in handicapping this illustrious field. For no extra charge I submit Average Golfer's picks to win and a few dark horses thrown in for good measure. May the Schwartz be with you.
Average Golfer's Picks