The PGA Tour hosts its flagship tournament this week as it visits TPC Sawgrass for the 2022 THE PLAYERS Championship. Read on below to see my predictions for who will win the tournament, as well as my predictions for who will finish in the top 10, my dark horse, and my player to fade.
Winner: Collin Morikawa- The #2 ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings, Morikawa has played as well as you can without a win this season, with a pair of runner-up finishes and 4 top 10’s in 4 starts. Morikawa finished T-41 in his debut in this tournament last season, but don’t let his lack of past success fool you. Morikawa’s stats speak for themselves this year, as he is ranked 8th in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee, 6th in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, 4th in both Strokes Gained: Approach The Green and Putting, and 1st in Strokes Gained Total. A two-time major winner already in his young career, I predict that Morikawa will be adding another career-defining win to his resumé on Sunday with a win at THE PLAYERS Championship!
Top 10: Justin Thomas- The defending winner of THE PLAYERS Championship, Thomas has gotten off to a hot start this season, with 4 top 10’s and 6 top 20’s in 6 starts. Thomas won this event last year and has 3 top 15’s and no missed cuts in 6 career starts at TPC Sawgrass. Thomas comes into the week ranked 18th in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee and 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach The Green. With a lot of rain expected in the forecast at TPC Sawgrass this week, the course will be playing long and gnarly and being able to keep the ball in play is vital. No one has ever won The Players Championship in 2 consecutive years and I don’t see that trend changing this year. Thomas will be in the mix all week though and will bring home another top 10 finish.
Dark Horse: Dylan Frittelli- The working man’s version of Brooks Koepka, Frittelli only had 3 top 10’s last season on tour and each of them came in a premier event: T-5 at The Masters (2020), T-9 at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, and 5th at The Open Championship. Frittelli also played well at The Players Championship, finishing T-22 in his debut here last year. Frittelli has also finished in the top 25 in 3 of his last 5 PGA Tour starts and has quietly put together a solid stretch of play. A win would be improbable, but another top 25 is definitely in the cards for Frittelli this week.
Player to Fade: Cameron Champ- Champ has been in a bit of a slump this year, with 3 missed cuts and a best finish of T-46 in 6 starts so far. He’s made each of his last two cuts on tour, but doesn’t have much good mojo at TPC Sawgrass, as he withdrew after an opening round 78 in 2019 and missed the cut here in 2021. In a field where the studs will be out in full force, expect Champ to struggle as he misses the cut.