Given that The Players Championship is the only golf tournament on offer this week, and the fact it is such a huge and prestigious event in its own right, we have the opportunity to have a look at some of the side markets for the tournament.
Much like in one of the four established majors, this so called fifth major has plenty of nationality markets priced up as well as regions and finishing positions and there are a few bets that we like among them.
We have nine Asian players in the field, one of which is a former winner in the form of Si Woo Kim. It is Hideki Matsuyama who heads the betting market for the Asians, closely followed by Sungjae Im, who arrives in Jacksonville in the form of his life.
The case for Im is a pretty easy one to make but he’s a very aggressive player and that style isn’t necessarily best suited to this place. In fact you have to think and plod your way round so I’m tentatively going to swerve him. Only the price puts me off Matsuyama and Byeong-Hun An. I like Jazz Janewattananond as a player but it is his debut here which is a concern so I’ll go with the form and take Sung Kang to lead the Asian charge. He was runner up at Riviera earlier in the season and ran well at Bay Hill last week and they are both excellent form guides. Kang has enough experience around here to be as comfortable as you can and at 12/1 he looks a wonderful each way bet in this market.
Top Continental European
There are 10 players from the continental Europe range of countries this week and a market has been formed for that part of the world as a result, with Jon Rahm understandably heading it at around the 7/5 mark. I highlighted in my outright preview that Rahm doesn’t have the best record around here, and also that I am not surprised by that.
The likes of Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, ‘that tour’ number one Bernd Wiesberger, Viktor Hovland and former The Open winner Francesco Molinari are all in the field this week with the credentials for a deep run but it is the first of those mentioned that I like at 7/1, particularly with the beneficial place terms that are on offer.
Garcia is a former champion around here and he could and maybe should have won here in 2013 and 2015 too so there aren’t many in the field with a better record here than that. He has gone through some lean times recently which is all that put me off backing him outright, but with a vulnerable favourite in this market, and nobody else really catching the eye with their form Garcia looks a standout option in this market.
Top 20 Finish
Regular readers will know that I like a dabble in the top 20 market and I use it to back long range outsiders who can have good weeks without genuinely contending and one of those is Jim Furyk, the man I collected on in an outright capacity last season when he was the closest challenger to Rory McIlroy.
That was his second runner-up finish here and a fifth top five outing in all. He also has three other top 20 finishes on this track and that shouldn’t surprise. He is a plodded but a very good ball striker. He has missed his last three cuts but you wouldn’t expect him to be a major player at Pebble Beach or Riviera and although he didn’t play the weekend at PGA National a couple of weeks ago, he did shoot 68 on the Friday so he left there with something positive. At 8/1 he can threaten the top 20 here.
VOID – Back S.Kang Top Asian (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-3)
VOID – Back S.Garcia Top Continential European (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 8.00 with Bet365 (1/5 1-3)
VOID – Back J.Furyk Top 20 Finish for a 1/10 stake at 9.00 with Bet365