2020 Players Championship picks, predictions: One of these nine golfers will win at TPC Sawgrass

Attempting to pick the winner of any golf tournament is a fool’s errand, much less a Player Championship where the leaderboards read like a gathering of the United Nations. A wide array of playing styles, players and approaches can be successful at TPC Sawgrass in one of the two hardest fields golfers will face all year.

So if correctly picking the Arnold Palmer Invitational is difficult then correctly picking the Players Championship is essentially impossible. That’s why I’ve put together a group of nine golfers from which I think the winner will emerge. I’m giving myself a chance. Not much of one but at least a better one than if I just tried to narrow it down to one name.

Let’s jump in.

All odds listed below via William Hill Sportsbook

1. Rory McIlroy (7-1): He has (re)asserted himself as the best golfer in the world. Not only is he the defending champion here, but he also posted four top-20 finishes at this event in the six years leading up to that win. If he’s not on a list of nine guys who will win this tournament, then you’re just ignoring reality. 

2. Jon Rahm (12-1): Led going into the final round last season before being removed from the broadcast in the midst of a 76. He hasn’t even started hitting the ball well yet this season, but he’s still third in strokes gained because of a hot putter. Terrifying for the field.

3. Justin Thomas (16-1): Here we reach the end of the top three favorites. Nobody other than these top three is better than 20-1 to win this week. I was surprised by that even though it makes sense based on how everyone is playing. I think in my head there are 15 guys who are playing really high-level golf, but the reality is that there are only three or four or five.

4. Bryson DeChambeau (20-1): You could argue that DeChambeau is playing the best golf of his career this year. I was really impressed by how he went to war last Friday against the API cut line, sneaked inside of it and ended up shooting the best score over the weekend (1 under total) to finish fourth. That’s big boy stuff, and it’s the style you may have to have to win a Players.

5. Patrick Reed (30-1): Let’s get weird from here on out. I love Reed this week. I shouldn’t, but I do. You could also argue that he’s playing the best golf of his career, even if he needs to tighten up his driver a bit. This is probably the most “I just feel like he’s going to be a factor this week” guy on here given his tenuous relationship with TPC Sawgrass.

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6. Sungjae Im (28-1): Have you been paying attention? Sungjae is, like, the sixth-best golfer in the world right now. Better than Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka. It seems wild to say, but if you’ve been watching, reading or following closely, you also know that it’s true.

7. Tommy Fleetwood (25-1): I’ve already experienced copious amounts of self-loathing for picking him in my one-and-done league this week. I feel terrible about it, mostly because he missed the cut badly at the API last week. He destroys at TPC Sawgrass though. Destroys.

8. Webb Simpson (30-1): Two Players trophies in three years is unlikely, I realize, but so is somebody who’s 149th in driving being ranked No. 7 in the world. There’s a world in which the seven best players on the planet right now are McIlroy, Thomas, Rahm, Simpson, DeChambeau, Reed and Im. It’s a very bizarre world fraught with all manner of idiosyncrasies, but it nonetheless exists.

9. Collin Morikawa (50-1): More eyeball emojis on this one. He’s No. 8 on the PGA Tour from tee to green and No. 174 in putting. That’s perfect, and his iron play could melt Sawgrass.

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