At this week’s Players Championship, a characteristically strong field will take on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. This par-72 Pete Dye design has always been demanding both mentally and physically. Players need to strike the ball well, as errant shots are punished more than they are on almost any other course on the PGA Tour.
Things should be even more difficult than normal this week because of the expected foul weather. The current forecast shows as much as four inches of rain and winds gusting up to 45 miles per hour. When building a lineup, check the weather forecast for the first two rounds to see if there might be an advantage for any particular wave of tee times.
That said, focus on your typical Players Championship studs: elite ball-strikers with calm, collected demeanors. Here are a few who fit that description:
Shane Lowry $8,000
I’m going back to the well with Lowry after he narrowly missed out on a win at the Honda Classic. This week at the Players Championship just screams plodder and mudder, and those words describe Lowry to a tee. When conditions get wet and windy, he excels. He is an elite all-around player whose numbers get even better in the wind. While he has had mixed results at the Players, with a few missed cuts alongside two top-16 finishes, Lowry comes into this tournament in some of the best form of his career. He has finished 24th or better in every event so far in 2022.
Paul Casey $7,400
Casey is another player who thrives in wet and windy conditions. Yes, he struggled to 72nd place last week at Bay Hill, but that result was mainly due to a balky putter and a score of 160 on the weekend. Even during those terrible two rounds, he gained three strokes on approach, so his irons are dialed in. Casey has missed only two cuts in the past 17 months and has finished in the top 25 in all of his other four starts in 2022.
Chris Kirk $7,000
Kirk has been playing amazingly consistent golf over his past three starts, finishing 14th, seventh, and fifth, respectively. In each of those events, he gained strokes in four different categories: off the tee, approach, around the green, and putting. Kirk has also had success at TPC Sawgrass, making the cut in eight of his past nine starts and placing in the top 13 three times. So how is he only $7,000?