After a post-Masters break, we’re back with the picks and what a great event to pick. THE PLAYERS is such an enigmatic tournament because it’s played on a very difficult course that’s usually tricked up to play impossibly hard when it’s dry and fast. But it doesn’t necessarily produce big name champions all the time. For every Norman, Woods, and Mickelson winning here, we also get a Perks, Funk, and Ames.
But one thing you have to have here to win is patience (which is why my wife will never win here. Kidding, Honey, you’ve got tons of patience!).
With that in mind, I’m going with:
Jim Furyk. This is also one of his home courses so nobody knows this course better than Jim.
Mickelson. Ok, so Phil’s not the epitome of patience but he’s been so close the last few times out. I’d feel stupid not picking him here.
James Hahn. Wouldn’t it just be like Hahn to get his first Tour win at this place?
There you have it. See you Monday to collect our money!
Pick #1: Branden Grace – He has yet to win on US Soil, but plays well in big events. Look for him down the stretch at Sawgrass.
Pick #2: Sang Moon Bae – Great putter and ball striker should fair well at a tough, tight course.
Pick #3: Ernie Els – Played well overseas last week, so is headed to the Players in good form. If he embraces Odyssey Month and fills his bag with Drains, the field could be chasing him on Sunday.
Jason Finley (Marketing Director – Woods/Irons)
Jason’s Picks: Mickelson, Furyk, Freddie Jacobson
Mickelson – I will start off by taking Phil this week. After a tough one on Sunday I see him coming back with a great year and victory #42.
Furyk – My second pick is Jim Furyk with his steady play and consistency. Plus, it’s a home game for Jim.
Jacobson – My last veteran pick is Freddie Jacobson and his phenomenal short game which will be very important this week.
Jeff Newton (Tour Beat Writer)
Jeff’s Picks: Mickelson, Furyk, Chris Kirk
Mickelson - His game is right where it needs to be after his near win last week. You can’t underestimate his confidence either; earlier this week he told @hashtagchad that his game feels great and he expects to play well here. He loves his chances so why shouldn’t we?
Furyk - TPC Sawgrass makes players feel uncomfortable and tricks them into playing shots that will get them in trouble. Furyk is too accurate and too much of a veteran to fall for the Stadium Course’s traps. He’ll put the ball in the fairway, hit it to the center of the greens and pick his spots on when to be aggressive. I see him plodding his way into contention by Saturday.
Kirk - Kirk has been rock solid all year; just look at his stats for putting, scoring average and greens-in-regulation. He’s been sharp from tee-to-green all year, has a number of high finishes under his belt already, and more than anything it just looks like he’s ready to put his name out there on the world golf scene. Kirk’s my dark horse.
THE FINAL WORD
We like Furyk and Mickelson this week (surprise, surpise) but as this tournament’s track record shows, anyone can win here.
That’s how we see it, who do you like this week at THE PLAYERS?
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