There have been several PGA tournaments this year that have kept us entertained, but one of the biggest is happening this week – THE PLAYERS Championship. Featuring 43 of the top world’s top 50 players, THE PLAYERS Championship promises thrills and top performance at the TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The star-studded field that includes Jon Rahm, Rory Mcllroy, Justin Thomas, and Scottie Scheffler will see the players battle out for the whooping $25M prize pool, with the winner taking home a staggering $4.5M and THE PLAYERS Championship Title.

Defending champion will be missed

Last year’s title winner Cameron Smith who defected to LIV golf at the end of last year, will not be eligible to defend his title. PGA Tour Chief Jay Monahan admitted that this year’s championship tour looks awkward with the absence of the reigning champion. Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy also admit that Cameron’s absence at TPC Sawgrass will be noticeable.

Even Anirban Lahiri and Paul Casey, who came second and third, respectively, in the 2022 event, will not be allowed to play this year as they also joined the Australian at LIV golf.

However, the other elite players will definitely liven up the TPC Sawgrass as several of them seek to dethrone Jon Rahm from the world’s No.1 spot. The Spaniard showed that he’s beatable at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitation, where he struggled, although Rory Mcllroy and Scottie Scheffler couldn’t capitalize on it, allowing Rahm to hold the top spot for at least another week.

Power and accuracy will be key to success on the 7,275-long and par 72-stadium course, allowing big hitters to shine. The weather is expected to be favourable with sun throughout, although Friday may have showers. Smith hit 13-under par 275 to win the last year’s title. Things are not expected to change much this year, with a score range of 12-under to 18-under expected to win the tournament.

Cameron Smith’s decision to join fellow Australian Greg Norman and the LIV Tour may have reaching far-consequences for Australian golf

THE PLAYERS Championship favourites 

Rory McIlroy

The world No.3 enters this on a run of fine form and is the first time he features as a favourite this year. He finished one stroke shy of a playoff last week after a determined fightback from two-over par. Rory was the 2019 winner and has finished in the top ten brackets four times in his last nine appearances at THE PLAYERS Championship.

McIlroy has one title this year after bagging the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour. He performed exemplary at the majors last year, where he was runners-up at the Masters, 3rd at the 150 Open Championship, 5th at the US Open, and finally 8th at the US PGA Championship.

Rory knows how to make himself noticeable at any event when least expected; this was evident last week. This week may not be different, and the 33-year-old may pull one of such performances to win the coveted prize. Bet365 gives him 9/1 EW 1-8 places.

Kurt Kitayama

Kurt shocked many last week when he beat the elite list, including Jon Rahm, Mcllroy, and Scheffler, to claim his maiden Arnold Palmer Invitational title. 

Jon Rahm

The world No.1 showed that he is also human when he faltered at the Arnold Palmer Invitation last week to finish outside the top 10 – the first one this season. The Spaniard will aim to prevent such an uncharacteristic collapse this week and assert his position as the world’s best.

At the Arnold Palmer Invitation, Rahm held the lead after round one, only for him to falter and finish over par, to the surprise of many, including himself. He has bagged three events this year, meaning he remains among the favourites to lift THE PLAYERS Championship, which he has never won.

Jon Rahm has big finish to lead by two at Arnold Palmer Invitational ahead of THE PLAYERS Championship

Justin Thomas

With the absence of Cameron Smith, Justin Thomas will be the most recent winner of THE PLAYERS Championship in the field, having won it in 2021. He holds the US PGA title but has struggled to sparkle this year, having managed just one top-ten finish in five events. Thomas will be looking for a comeback by winning a second THE PLAYERS Championship.

Scottie Scheffler

The American who finished tied-forth finish last week is a strong challenger to win at Florida this week. He is Arnold Palmer’s Invitation 2022 champion. Had he been more clinical last week, he could have successfully defended the title.

Keegan Bradley

Keegan scooped his fourth top-ten finish in his last nine appearances this season last weekend at Bay Hill. He finished tied-tenth thanks to a final round 67. Bradley has cut eight out of eleven starts at THE PLAYERS Championship. He will be an interesting player to watch.

Rickie Fowler

The 2015 Player Championship winner has made the cut five times in eleven appearances at THE PLAYERS. He has been in phenomenal form recently, with four top-31 finishes. His vast experience at Sawgrass comes into play this week, which could help him emerge victorious.

THE PLAYERS Championship is a huge event with a big following. From our analysis, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are the most favourable to win. However, we can only wait and see how the tour turns out.

Rickie Fowler on the green ahead of THE PLAYERS Championship

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