Paulie’s Picks: 2018 PLAYERS Championship

With a deep field and a tough course, Paulie is zeroing in on players with strong iron play and patience


The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass is one of the toughest tournaments to win. This event has the strongest field all year and is on a course that will challenge players physically and mentally. I will be focusing in on players who have both a solid physical and mental game. Specifically, I will be looking for solid iron players who are patient and will pick their spots to be aggressive. This course is definitely gettable but can come up to bite you if you are too aggressive.


Jordan Spieth $11,100

Some people will shy away from Spieth this week because he has missed his last three cuts at this event. I’m hoping that allows me to roster him at slightly lower ownership percentage. Spieth’s game sets up perfectly for TPC Sawgrass. The best parts of his game are his approach shots, mental fortitude and short game prowess. He is in the top ten in bogey avoidance, strokes gained approach and strokes gained around the green over his last 50 rounds. I look for him to grind out rounds and be up near the top come Sunday.

Webb Simpson $7,300

Simpson has been trending towards a win this year. This very well could be the week as he is a very good fit for this course. Over his last 24 rounds, he is first in double bogey avoidance, 14th in bogey avoidance, seventh in strokes gained around the green, seventh in strokes gained putting and 28th in strokes gained approach. That is a solid recipe for success this week. I do also love Simpson at 80-1 to win and 5-1 for a top-10 finish.


This week, I expect ownership in leagues to be all over the map. I don’t see any players being massively owned. The best advice I can give this week is to try and plan out potential picks for the remaining three majors. That will help eliminate some players that you are thinking about choosing this week. Here are a few options to consider:

Justin Thomas

Over his last 24 rounds, Thomas is first in bogey avoidance, fourth in strokes gained approach and twelfth in strokes gained putting. That skillset should suit him well this week. He also has shown the ability to contend at TPC Sawgrass (3rd in 2016).

Sergio Garcia

Sergio comes into this event on the heels of two missed cuts. I think that will keep some people away from him this week. Sergio has finished in the top 14 in seven of his last twelve appearances at this event including a win in 2008.

Tiger Woods

Tiger heads to a course where he will be forced to hit more irons and 3-woods off the tee, which will only help his game. This year, he has shown an elite iron game and a deft touch around the greens, which will pay dividends at TPC Sawgrass. Some of his best finishes this year have come at courses that require position, strategy and a solid iron game (second at Valspar, 12th at Honda).


Last week’s second-place finish by Nick Watney was our second consecutive runner-up finish by one of our longshot picks in an individual event. Let’s try to keep that streak going with one of these three players:

Adam Hadwin (100-1 to win, 8-1 top 10)

Over his last 24 rounds, Hadwin is first in strokes gained around the green, 5th in strokes gained approach and tenth in bogey avoidance. He has finished in the top 25 in his last five events.

Ryan Moore (100-1 to win, 8-1 top 10)

Moore’s game is built on keeping the ball in play off of the tee and relying on a solid iron game. He has gained over 14 shots on approach over his last four events. He’s been playing very well this year as he has already recorded four top tens.

Patton Kizzire (200-1 to win, 25-1 top 10)

Yes, I know Kizzire has not been playing well of late, but I can’t ignore the fact that he has won twice this year on courses that required less than a driver (Sony Open and OHL at Mayakoba). These odds are just simply too high.