The PGA Tour contests its unofficial “Fifth Major” this week as it visits THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for the 2023 THE PLAYERS Championship. Designed by the legendary golf course architect Pete Dye, the course will play as a Par 72, 7,275 yard layout for this year’s event. The field is stacked this year, with 49 of the top 50 in the FedEx Cup Standings and 43 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking teeing it up this week. Last year’s edition was won by former PGA Tour member and current LIV Golf member Cameron Smith, who came from two strokes back on the final day to defeat career journeyman Anirban Lahiri by one stroke.
Player to Fade:
It’s been a bit of a struggle for Cam Davis of late, as he has missed the cut in each of his last five starts on tour. Davis has not fared much better in THE PLAYERS Championship in his career either, missing the cut in both of his previous starts here. TPC Sawgrass is a difficult course and it is not a course where you’ll magically find success if your game is struggling. With such a strong field this week, Davis will have a tall task ahead of him and will most certainly miss the cut.
Sepp Straka has had an up and down season so far, with 2 top 10 finishes and 4 missed cuts across 10 starts. However, there is reason to believe in Straka this week. Straka finished T-9 in this event last year and also had a top 5 run at The Honda Classic this year, contested on another difficult Florida layout. Straka is ranked 26th in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green and is one of the better ball strikers on tour, which will suit him well this week. A win isn’t improbable, but a top 20 finish is certainly doable for Straka this week.
Jason Day is in the midst of a career resurgence, with 5 tops 10’s and 9 top 25’s in 11 starts, including 4 straight top 10 finishes. Day has played well at TPC Sawgrass in the past, winning THE PLAYERS in 2016 and earning 4 top 10 finishes in 12 career starts. There are very few holes in Day’s game right now, ranking 6th in Strokes Gained: Total and 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. Day is on a hot streak and we predict that he will continue that streak this week as he brings home a 5th straight top 10 finish.
The 10th ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, Collin Morikawa has had a solid season on tour, with 3 top 10’s in 8 starts. Morikawa has had little success in this event previously, with a best finish of T-41 coming back in 2021. Nevertheless, Morikawa is one of the better ball strikers on tour, ranking 5th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green this season, which is key to finding success at a difficult layout like TPC Sawgrass. In a star-studded field, we predict that Collin Morikawa will rise to the top and win the 2023 THE PLAYERS Championship!