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SportThe Players Championship: preview, odds, how to watch and prediction - Scheffler...

The Players Championship: preview, odds, how to watch and prediction – Scheffler and McIlroy to duel it out?

What’s at stake?

The Players Championship, one of the most prestigious events on the golfing calendar, and the unofficial ‘fifth major’, a moniker that was well deserved until now…

Traditionally the game’s greats have always gathered at Sawgrass to battle it out for what remains the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

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But this year there will obviously be a number of absentees, those that traded heritage for cash and defected to LIV.

The likes of Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka still play the four majors – The Masters, the US Open, the PGA Championship and The Open – but they won’t be in Florida this week.

That, of course, detracts from the event but there are still many reasons to tune in, especially with defending champion Scottie Scheffler in such fine form, Rory McIlroy blowing hot and cold and a raft of young Americans looking to claim a statement win.

Talks between LIV and the PGA rumble on – and there remains hope this is the last Players without several of the sport’s biggest names.

Where is it being held?

The Players is always held at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, the home of the PGA Tour.

It’s a 72-hole event with a traditional 36-hole cut and a prize pot of $25million.

It also features arguably the most famous hole in golf, the notorious par-three island 17th. Many a title dream has been dashed on the 17th tee and negotiating the closing few holes is a hurdle every champion has had to overcome.

Who’s in the field?

The field is led by world number one Scheffler, who showed ominous form in winning at Bay Hill on Sunday.

The American’s Achilles heel has always been his putting but a change to a mallet putter has transformed his fortunes on the greens. He is undoubtedly the man to beat.

In addition to Scheffler, there are six former champions in the field with McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, Si Woo Kim, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar all teeing it up.

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Who is the favourite?

Bet365 have Scheffler as the man to beat, followed by McIlroy and Thomas.

Scottie Scheffler 11/2

Rory McIlroy 12/1

Justin Thomas 18/1

Xander Schauffele 22/1

Viktor Hovland 22/1

Patrick Cantlay 22/1

Max Homa 22/1

What they said?

Scheffler on the possibility of one player dominating like Tiger Woods did

How to watch

Sky Sports are covering the build-up and all four days from Sawgrass. Their coverage starts at 1130 UK time on Thursday on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Golf.

Prediction

While common sense would suggest it’s impossible to look past Scheffler now his putting matches the brilliance of his driving and approach play, Sawgrass can sometimes throw up anomalies.

It a course where excellence with the short irons is rewarded, so perhaps look for Max Homa or Collin Morikawa to challenge.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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