Long shots take on a new meaning when the field is as good as it is this week for The Players Championship on the PGA Tour.
With $20 million in prize money on the line, we’ll see the best field of the golf season try to tackle TPC Sawgrass this weekend in the shadow of the Tour headquarters.
The top-heavy field makes it more likely one of the best players in the world walks away with the trophy, just like Justin Thomas did last year, but it also affects the pricing as you start to scroll down the odds board. Players who typically are priced much higher get far longer odds in tournaments with as much star power as we’ll see this weekend.
We’ve already looked at the heavyweights, so here are a few potential punt-worthy long shots who don’t necessarily lack in name recognition.
(Betting lines via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Jason Day (+9000): Day flashed at the Farmers, where he finished third, and he followed that up with a 24th-place finish at Pebble Beach. He is a Pete Dye master, too, with three career wins on Dye courses. It’s worth wondering where his head is at right now, though, as he had to withdraw last week following the death of his mother after her valiant battle with cancer.
Keegan Bradley (+13000): Bradley checks a lot of boxes. He’s made five straight cuts with a pair of top-12 finishes in 2022, and he has a lot of career success on Pete Dye courses. He has made the cut at Sawgrass in his last five starts and finished inside the top 10 as recently as 2018. You have to go all the way back to September 2018 for his last Tour win, so it would certainly be an upset to see him ship it this week, but he might also be worth a top-10 bet at 20-1.
Brian Harman (+15000): For whatever reason, Harman has been really good since The Players moved back to March, finishing third and eighth in the last two full tournaments at Sawgrass and even shooting a 1-under 71 before the tourney was canceled in 2020. He has a recent third-place finish and is also among the Pete Dye specialists. There’s enough for a small dart throw given the 150-1 return.
Keith Mitchell (+15000): Mitchell has been a popular play in these parts recently, and that was when you could get him at 35-1 to win the Honda or 45-1 to win at API last week. Granted, the field is much better this week at Sawgrass, but Mitchell is playing quite well. Just about everyone got their head kicked in last week at Bay Hill, and Mitchell was no different with an 8-over showing on the weekend. But he had finished 12th or better in four of five starts going back to Hawaii. That 25-1 top-10 number looks good, too.
Tom Hoge (+15000): We do know Hoge has what it takes to close. He won at Pebble Beach in early February, but that comes with an obvious caveat: That field was the worst of the entire 2022 year thus far by world golf rankings. However, he followed that up with 14th- and 32nd-place finishes sandwiching a missed cut, and he has three top-five finishes dating back to November. One other thing to consider: His strokes-gained numbers are in the top 30 of the field when the wind strength is characterized as “moderate” or “windy AF,” per Fantasy National. Early forecasts indicate there could be some nasty weather as the weekend goes on, which should level the playing field for the bottom half of the field.