Power Rankings for THE PLAYERS Championship 2022
Going to try something new for Tuesdays by delivering a weekly Top 10 ranking of the best golfers coming into each event.
I’m factoring in a combination of form leading in/recent results, course history, and how the golfers rated out in my stat model for the week.
#10 — Hideki Matsuyama (DraftKings: $9,600 Odds to win: +2500)
Hideki Matsuyama has had as good a start to golf in 2022 as anyone in this field (minus Scottie Scheffler perhaps). He won the Sony Open back in January, finished tied 8th at Waste Management, and hasn’t missed a single cut.
As will be pointed out everywhere this week, Matsuyama led after round one of the 2020 Players Championship, before the event was stopped due to the global pandemic.
The missed cut here last year was likely an abnormality, as Matsuyama also finished tied 8th at this event in 2019.
I’m very excited about Matsuyama at THE PLAYERS this week — coming to a course he generally plays well at and in great form. For DraftKings purposes especially, I feel confident that Hideki will grind from start to finish regardless of whether he’s in contention or not.
#9 — Patrick Cantlay (DraftKings: $9,900 Odds to win: +2000)
I’m not all that excited about Patrick Cantlay this week at THE PLAYERS, but it’s really hard to ignore how incredibly well he’s played over the past year — showing up to contend almost every week on tour. (And obviously winning last year’s FedEx Cup / Tour Championship.)
That said, for whatever Cantlay’s bugaboo seems to be contending at these major-like events. He’s missed the cut in back-to-back years at TPC Sawgrass, disappointingly so as one of the favorites coming into this event last year.
Still, Cantlay shouldn’t be overlooked this week because he clearly has the complete game to contend and win at any course, at any time.
#8— Viktor Hovland (DraftKings: $10,100 Odds to win: +2000)
I’m admittedly a little bit luke-warm on Viktor Hovland this week.
Even more so than the winner of the previous week, I think the hard-luck runner-up can have an incredibly hard time bouncing back right away…
In his post final round interview at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Hovland expressed that he felt like he should have won the event. After just a brutal, grueling week of golf at Bay Hill, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Hovland had a down week (for his standards).
I’m also just a little bit afraid that Hovland might try to overpower TPC Sawgrass and use aggression to get around the course, as we saw often times at Bay Hill last week. I think that could cause him to run into some trouble.
Still, Hovland is a world class golfer who just finished runner-up and tied 4th in back-to-back events. Hard to not rank him accordingly.
#7 — Brooks Koepka (DraftKings: $8,600 Odds to win: +4000)
Brooks Koepka at a major-like event with one of the best fields and biggest prize purses we’ll see all year? Sign me up!
Often when Brooks comes into major events it seems almost impossible that he could play so well on the back of poor recent form and finishes. But that’s not even the case here — Brooks Koepka played awesome at both Waste Management and the Honda Classic in February.
Koepka looks as healthy as he has in any of the past few seasons, is playing great, has produced solid results at TPC Sawgrass, and is a homegrown Florida guy.
This feels like a no-brainer.
#6 — Rory McIlroy (DraftKings: $10,800 Odds to win: +1600)
Rory McIlroy is a very easy guy to overlook this week, given how poorly he finished at API over the past weekend.
But McIlroy won this event in 2019, the first year they moved THE PLAYERS to March. He’s been in quite good form so far this year, and in my estimation will enjoy the softer setup at TPC Sawgrass than he did at Bay Hill on the weekend.
Don’t sleep on Rory after just two ho-hum rounds.
#5 — Scottie Scheffler (DraftKings: $9,200 Odds to win: +2000)
I said it last week and I’ll say it again, it’s just so hard to imagine Scottie Scheffler not playing well in this spot. His game is clearly in unbelievable form, with two wins in the last three weeks.
I understand the volatility that TPC Sawgrass offers, but I believe Scheffler can continue his outstanding run of golf. He’s so clearly the previous week’s winner that we overlook for betting and daily fantasy lineups, and then we look up and he’s first round leader or something.
#4— Xander Schauffele (DraftKings: $9,700 Odds to win: +2500)
I’m not sure I even want to put this out into the airwaves, but this is the quietest, least amount of buzz I’ve heard around Xander Schauffele coming into a huge event like THE PLAYERS in years.
The two missed cuts in his last two trips to TPC Sawgrass are concerning for sure, but I’m willing to overlook that for an elite golfer like Schauffele — who also finished runner-up here in 2018.
Xander’s recent form — particularly the ball-striking numbers — is excellent, with a tied 13th at Genesis and tied 3rd at Waste Management.
He typically shows up for big events, and so I really think Xander Schauffele gets in the mix this week. Closing the door on the outright win might be another conversation…
#3 — Jon Rahm (DraftKings: $11,100 Odds to win: +1000)
The question for Jon Rahm this week is whether or not he can fix his short game. Both the around-the-green and putting has been abysmal for Rahm over the past few weeks.
Even with his short game woes, Rahm has still managed to finish T17, T21, T10, and T3 over his last four starts.
For someone who is historically an excellent short game player, if something clicks for Rahm before Thursday then he will probably win (if not, then come very close).
Will it? I’m not sure. The eye test — the yippy one foot putt miss is rough stuff.
#2 — Collin Morikawa (DraftKings: $10,700; Odds to win: +1400)
The stars just feel like they’re aligning for Collin Morikawa this week. Everything about TPC Sawgrass sets up perfectly for his game — positioning yourself accurately off the tee and hitting your irons well.
Morikawa finished tied 2nd in his last start at Genesis, where it honestly felt like he played his B-game and still had a shot to steal the win at the end.
He holds just a T41 finish under his belt from last year’s Players Championship, but if Morikawa just putts to field average the elite ball striker will almost certainly be deep in contention.
#1 — Justin Thomas (DraftKings: $10,400; Odds to win: +1000)
The defending champ arrives at TPC Sawgrass in tip-top form, coming in off a 6th place finish at Genesis and a tied 8th place finish at Waste Management in February.
As we witnessed over the weekend last year, TPC Sawgrass is a place where Justin Thomas can just absolutely light it up from tee-to-green. You don’t have to be a tremendous putter to succeed here, you just need to not hemorrhage strokes on the green…which is what JT did in 2021.
Thomas is peaking at just the right moment coming in this week, which to me makes him the guy to beat.