Paulie’s Picks: 2017 PLAYERS Championship

It's the deepest field in golf. Here's who Paulie likes this year at Sawgrass


The Players is one of my favorite events of the year as it arguably has the strongest field and offers a large number of swings on the leaderboard due to the risk reward nature of the course. With so much excitement, let’s jump right into the picks for this week:


With so much value out there this week on DK, here are some players to consider for your lineup:

Francesco Molinari $7,700 (65-1 to win)

I usually don’t root against anyone, but I was hoping for a bit of a collapse for Molinari last week so he would be cheaper this week. He has three top 10’s here in the last six years. His worst stroke play finish over the last six events is 33rd. I’m not completely sold on Molinari winning at TPC Sawgrass, but I think he has a solid opportunity for a top 10 finish which would more than payoff his $7,700 salary.

Patrick Cantlay $7,700 (90-1 to win)

Cantlay may be the next bright young star to earn a victory. He has been knocking on the door and this course suits him perfectly. Cantlay’s two best finishes of the year came on similar tracks that require precise iron shots and a strong mental game (second at Valspar, third at Heritage). Cantlay may go a bit underowned this week on DK due to the fact that he is priced similarly to Molinari, Kuchar, Kisner, Dufner, etc who I expect to be highly owned. Most people shy away from people playing in their first Players, but Cantlay does have some experience at this track. He played in the Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in 2008 and 2009 and finished sixth and 14th.

Martin Kaymer $7,300 (70-1 to win)

Kaymer is the most underpriced player this week. He should be about $1,500 higher. He has made the cut in all eight of his appearances and won here back in 2014. When he is playing well he has the ability to win/contend as shown by his two major victories at the 2010 PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Open. He has been a model of consistency as he hasn’t finished outside the top 50 in any worldwide event in over eight months!! At $7,300, he is an auto play this week on DK. If you are going to make one bet this week, this is the one you want to make as Kaymer has the upside to win and has been really close to breaking through with another big victory. I expect Kaymer to be bet down to 40-1 by the time he tees off on Thursday. So, lock him in at 70-1 now!!


With this week’s first place prize being the second largest of the year (behind the U.S. Open), you should most likely be playing one of your studs.

Sergio Garcia $10,200 (20-1 to win)

If you have Garcia left to use, you should use him this week. His iron play always puts him in contention here. Since 2008, he has five top 12s including a victory.

Rickie Fowler $9,300 (20-1 to win)

Fowler has either been really hot or really cold at TPC Sawgrass as he has missed the cut in five of his last seven appearances. The two cuts he made he finished first and second. He is the ultimate boom or bust pick. He is coming into this event in good form as he has had six straight top 16 finishes.

Rory McIlroy $11,200 (11-1 to win)

Rory has great course history as he has finished in the top 12 each of the last four years. One item to note is that Rory just got married so he may be a bit rusty. However, he does have the most upside of anyone in the field as when he plays well, he can dominate.

Longshot Picks to Win:

Wesley Bryan 125-1 to win (25-1 top 5)

Bryan recently won at the Pete Dye designed Harbour Town. TPC Sawgrass is very similar in that it is a fairly short golf course that places an emphasis on precise iron play in combination with a delicate short game. Many players with a similar skillset have won in the past here: Choi, Clark, Funk and Leonard. Since Bryan missed the cut last week, many people won’t pick him this week which is why his odds are so high. Let’s take advantage of that and maybe ride Bryan to another W.

Daniel Berger 90-1 to win (15-1 top 5)

Berger is a very volatile player who plays best on bermuda greens (what we have this week). Berger finished ninth here a year ago and when he is on his game he can compete with anyone. Berger seemed like he was stuck in neutral last week, so I look for him to break out early this week and be on the front page of the leaderboard the first few days. The only question is if he can stay there all weekend.