The PGA Tour moves from one iconic venue in Florida at Bay Hill to another iconic Florida venue in TPC Sawgrass this week. That brings me to my 2023 PGA DFS: The Players Championship DraftKings Preview.
This event will be the fourth elevated event in the last five weeks on tour. With its elevated status, this event will feature a loaded field with the top players in the world and a 20 million dollar prize purse.
The Players Championship has long been deemed as the fifth major on tour due to its prize pool, iconic venue host, and list of past winners that includes some of the best players in the history of the game. The course is most known for the par 3 17th island green but this course is really a stern test to every facet of a player's golf game.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was built to showcase the talents of the best golfers in the world.
Our video on the Players Championship venue provides a look at Pete Dye’s design process, the course’s evolution, and its purpose.
Watch on YouTube: https://t.co/1vaTHPoxfU pic.twitter.com/nqgbIbFCa0
— The Fried Egg (@the_fried_egg) March 6, 2023
Last week at Bay Hill Kurt Kitayama rebounded from a triple bogey on the ninth hole to win his first PGA Tour event. He held off several of the best players in the world including Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler.
A McIlroy win would have been the third time in five weeks that my preview article for that event included the eventual winner. It was still a good week as nine of the ten golfers I gave in the preview of Bay Hill last week made the cut and six of the golfers finished in the top 25.
I hope you checked out our Two off the Tee show on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube channel. We continued our winning ways with two prop winners in Tyrell Hatton at +750 in the Top 5 and Keegan Bradley at 11-1 to finish Top 10. Tune in to see even more picks for this upcoming week. Meanwhile, here is my 2023 PGA DFS: The Players Championship DraftKings Preview.
You can find me on Twitter @KeithFlemming to keep the conversation going!
2023 PGA DFS: The Players Championship DraftKings Preview
The Venue (TPC Sawgrass)
Pete Dye is one of the most famous golf course designers in the world and TPC Sawgrass is his masterpiece. The Players Championship has been hosted at Sawgrass since 1982. In that time the winners' list includes a who's who of some of the best golfers in the history of the game.
The 2022 Players needs to be treated as an outlier and you shouldn't look into the results or data due to the extremely unusual weather from that event. The winner of last year's event, Cam Smith, will not be here to defend his title due to his departure for the LIV Tour.
TPC Sawgrass is Tough
TPC Sawgrass is one of the toughest tests for golfers on the PGA Tour year in and year out. Sawgrass is a true positional course off the tee. Distance is not nearly as important as where you place your tee shot for your next shot into the green.
The course features water hazards on all of its holes but one. The greens are surrounded by some of the most unusual and tricky bunkers on tour. It also features severe undulation in the fairways and on the greens. Thick rough makes it a priority for players to find the fairways. Otherwise, it is very difficult to hold the greens on their approaches to these firm and fast greens.
- Other Pete Dye Courses
- Harbour Town
- TPC River Highlands
- Waialae Country Club
- Good Drives Gained/ SG: Off The Tee
- SG: Approach
- Bogey Avoidance
- SG: Around The Greens/Scrambling
- Par 4: 450-500 yards
- Par 5 Scoring
- SG: Tee To Green (Pete Dye Courses)
- SG: Putting (Bermuda)
Highest % winning trends for The PLAYERS Championship #THEPLAYERS
Only three players fit all nine trends...
Six players fit eight of nine trends...
Chris Kirk pic.twitter.com/ZLwPuvhofc
— Ron Klos (@PGASplits101) March 7, 2023
My 2023 PGA DFS: The Players Championship DraftKings Preview (Lineup)
Justin Thomas ($9,400)
The list of golfers in this field that have 15 Strokes Gained: Total at TPC Sawgrass (last 5 years) and haven't missed the cut in any of their last 3 appearances:
Keegan Bradley (30.56)
Justin Thomas (26.95)
Corey Conners (17.67)
— Sam Wagman (@swagman95) March 6, 2023
Thomas has been deemed by my cohost of the Two off the Tee Podcast as a stay-away until he gets his putter in order. Considering Thomas has lost strokes to the field on the greens in four of his last six events. It's a valid point. However, I think there is a real value in Thomas at his price on DraftKings.
Thomas is the seventh most expensive player on DK and is one of only two players in the top eleven in pricing on DK to make the cut at Sawgrass for five straight years. The other is Jon Rahm, who is the most expensive player in the field this week. Thomas has four straight finishes at this event of 35th or better. He and Keegan Bradley are the only two players in the field to accomplish that over the last four Players Championships.
JT is one of the best tee-to-green players on tour. In his five events in 2023, he is gaining 4.6 strokes on the field in that category. The fact he has gained over 7 strokes tee to green on the field at this event over his last four events at Sawgrass is why I am so high on him this week. I think he is the safest bet to make the cut from the expensive player tier on DraftKings and has a good chance to win here for a second time this week.
Another option in this price range: Max Homa $9,900
Viktor Hovland ($8,900)
Four holes-in-one in the last four years 🤯
Viktor Hovland is a human highlight reel. pic.twitter.com/tQXgxJHOmy
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 6, 2023
Hovland is tailor-made to find success at TPC Sawgrass. He's consistently one of the best ball strikers on tour, who has gained over three strokes on the field off the tee and tee to green in 2023. Viktor is in great form coming into this event with four top 20s in five events.
What I like to see from Hovland is his improvement in putting over his last nine events. He's gained strokes on the field in six of those nine events. His weakness in his game is scrambling around the greens. When he putts well, it can negate his shortcomings in those areas.
Will Zalatoris ($8,800)
Most strokes gained at TPC Sawgrass since 2018 (min. 8 rounds):
Keegan Bradley +1.99
Tommy Fleetwood +1.88
Justin Thomas +1.87
Doug Ghim +1.74
Webb Simpson +1.69
Jason Day +1.64
Will Zalatoris +1.49
Corey Conners +1.48
Justin Rose +1.44
Ziggin' & zaggin'. pic.twitter.com/ryABTIU3r0
— Mark Fox (@ThePluggedLie) March 6, 2023
Zalatoris is my go-to guy for events that put an emphasis on ball striking and are deemed a difficult venue. In his two starts at Sawgrass, he's made the cut in both with finishes of T26 and 21st. He's gained 6.5 shots or more on the field tee to green in both appearances.
The issue for Zalatoris at Sawgrass has been his putter. He lost strokes to the field in both years he's played in this event. Little Z has gained a stroke or more on the greens in four of his five events in 2023. If that trend continues on the greens this week I expect him to be in contention come Sunday afternoon.
Another option in this price range: Shane Lowry $8,200
Jason Day ($8,000)
After a handful of strong top 10 finishes this season, for the first time since early 2021 Jason Day is back in the worlds top 50 and I couldn't be ha...
#golfSwing #GolfTalk pic.twitter.com/mNRf0tvlUi
— Golf News (@JessiPe60537576) March 6, 2023
Jason Day is in the middle of a resurgence as one of the best golfers in the world. He has four straight top 10s and has finished no worse than 18th in his five starts in 2023. The last two times he came into this event playing this well he finished in the top 10 both times. He won in 2016 and finished in 5th place in 2018.
In 2023, Day's strokes gained numbers are absurd and reaching the levels they were in the mid-2010's when he was the number one player in the world. He's gaining over four shots tee to green and putting. That is A recipe that that will lead to success at this venue.
Keegan Bradley ($7,500)
"You know you have five or six shots that'll keep you up all night ... and they're brutal."
@Keegan_Bradley joined @ESPNCaddie & @JasonSobelTAN - live @THEPLAYERSChamp this week - to discuss the challenges that @TPCSawgrass presents. pic.twitter.com/ou2qD8yQu2
— SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio (@SiriusXMPGATOUR) March 6, 2023
Keegan has a great track record at this event. He has made the cut at this event for seven straight years. He's also entering this week in strong form. He has three top-20 finishes in his last four events including a 10th-place finish last week at Bay Hill.
Keegan has averaged 7 strokes gained tee to green over his last four starts at Sawgrass. In 2023, he's gaining strokes on the field in all major categories including tee to green, off the tee, approach, around the green, and putting. Keegan is my favorite play this week on DK at this price and will be in multiple plays from me on this week's Two off the Tee show.
Another option in this price range: Harris English $7,000
Seamus Power ($7,400)
Seamus Power is two for two in making the cut at this event. His worst finish is T35th and in both, he gained over two shots on the greens on the field. Power has a great record at other courses where it's imperative you place the ball in particular spots off the tee. That history includes top-10s at the RBC Heritage, Sony Open, and RSM Classic.
Power has played really well in his six starts at the four majors and The Players Championship. He's made the cut in five of six appearances in those events. With five finishes inside the top 35 and two finishes inside the top 12, I think Power is the best play on DK in this price range, especially with Daniel Berger's withdrawal from this event.
Another option in this price range: Doug Ghim $6,100
Be sure to check out the rest of our golf content, including my show Two off the Tee on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel Tuesday night. Each week, my cohost Allen and I will break down the tournament for that week and give betting/DFS plays.