The Players Championship Preview and Picks

THE PLAYERS Championship
Thursday, May 7 Sunday, May 10, 2009
TPC Sawgrass Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

by Matt of

The so called fifth Major brings out the strongest field in all of golf, with players out to claim the largest paycheck in the game. TPC Sawgrass is also one of the more storied courses in the PGA rotation and features perhaps the most recognizable single hole in all of golf; the island green at the par-3, 17th

Sergio Garcia took the trophy last year and is back to defend his title against Tiger, Phil and the rest of the PGA stars. Here are our picks to win this week at THE PLAYERS Championship. One pick each from a short, middle and long odds perspective, along with two head to head match picks. Odds to win and line info courtesy of the board at Superbook, or check out your favorite golf sportsbook for similar bets.

Short: Phil Mickelson (10 to 1 to win)

Lefty had a nice comeback after a shaky Saturday last week and eventually finished T5 at Quail Hollow. Sawgrass sets up nicely for Phil and his 14th ranked putter should prove most useful this week. Mickelson is averaging 295+ off the tee and a 49th best GIR% is producing the 7th ranked birdie average. If Phil can get it around in good form from tee to green, expect a late Sunday tee time.

Middle of the Road: Luke Donald (40-1)

40 to 1 is a bit longer than we usually feature in this spot, but Donald is a great value in this spot and youll seldom find a player with four top-10s sitting this far down on the board in the coming months. Luke has the right mix for success this week, ranking 32nd in greens hit and ranking in the top-13 in both putts per round and GIR putting average. Donald owns the 7th best scoring average so far, so dont be surprised when he sneaks in there this week.

Long: Stephen Ames (60-1)

Ames seems to be a fan of Sawgrass with a handful of quality checks in the past few years, and there are few players with and overall stat sheet as consistent as his. Stephen isnt particularly great in any one given area, but he is ranked in the top-60 in nearly every scoring category and comes in to this week 23rd in the all-around stat. Ames is 36 in greens hit, 25th in putting average and 42nd in ballstriking which should have him in the mix this weekend. This could be a big payday if the putts start falling.

Head to Heads (our pick) *all matches are for entire eventcheck with your sportsbook for single round match-ups, updated daily.

Zach Johnson (-105) v. Steve Stricker (-125) (Stricker)

Both players are control freaks with similar overall games, but give the edge to Stricker with the better flatstick and the 3rd best scoring average in 09.

Anthony Kim (-115) v. Camilo Villegas (-115) (Kim)

Here are two young guns that are scuffling a bit under some heavy expectations, but both are just one good week away from getting back in the groove. Villegas and Kim are long and accurate into the greens, so the pick goes to Kim and his 9th ranked putter against Villagas, currently ranked 120th