The Masters is known for its history, but The PLAYERS Championship is widely regarded as one of the most exciting weeks of the PGA Tour. Nothing is more exciting than winning, and we are here to offer the best fantasy golf picks for The PLAYERS. Often called the "fifth major", The PLAYERS is also one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year. This year's tournament features one of the deepest fields we have seen with all 50 of the top-ranked golfers competing.
This will be the final year The PLAYERS will be held in May with the tournament moving to March starting in 2019. Former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy told CNN it is only a matter of time before The PLAYERS major status moves from unofficial to official.
"Time does a lot of things," Ogilvy told CNN. "The Masters evolved into a major, it wasn't meant to be one. There is a strong likelihood that in 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 years the Players might be the most important tournament in golf."
Count Rickie Fowler, who won the event in 2015, as one of the believers of the tournament's major status.
"I feel like I look at this event as basically like a major," Fowler told CNN. "It has the major feel, obviously one of the best fields we play all year, on a tough golf course."
The odds reflect just how difficult it is to play at Sawgrass. According to OddsShark, four golfers are tied as the favorite with slightly long odds for being atop the board. Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are all tied at No. 1 with 14 to 1 odds (+1400). Masters champ Patrick Reed is 14th in The PLAYERS odds at 35 to 1. Outside of the top four golfers, other favorites include Dustin Johnson (18 to 1), Rickie Fowler (18 to 1) and John Rahm (22 to 1). Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are tied at 10th with 33 to 1 odds to win.
Speaking of Mickelson and Woods, the two will join Fowler in one of the most anticipated Round 1 groupings. The PGA appears to have worked very hard at providing star-studded groupings for this week's tournament. Johnson will be joined by Bubba Watson and Brooks Koepka as one of the first groups of the day at 8:05 a.m. Eastern. Outside of the Woods, Mickelson and Fowler trio, all eyes will be on McIlroy, Thomas and Spieth at 8:27 a.m. Eastern. Mickelson has already challenged Woods to a little side wager.
“No, no, as I said, it’s gonna be fun playing with him again," Woods told USA Today. "We have both have done this throughout our careers. We’ve always looked at each other and said 'Where is he on the board?'...Now that we have the opportunity to play against each other again on the first day when the gun blows, it’s gonna be fun. I enjoy either competing with him, usually, on the first or second day, or whether it’s the last day. It’s always been a blast, and he’s one hell of a competitor, so it’s gonna be a challenge to try and beat him.”
The PLAYERS is difficult to predict as very few golfers have consistently been able to conquer Sawgrass. For most tournaments, you are looking for the right combination of recent form along with course history. Even those that have done well in past PLAYERS Championships have had Sawgrass get the better of them just a short time after. Each year turns into its own tournament, and you would be wise to prioritize recent form over course history for this competition. I've included course history for many of my picks, but consider the data with that in mind.
My top picks are not necessarily a power rankings of players heading into The PLAYERS. These are the best picks when value is also considered, so you will see some familiar faces as well as a couple sleepers. The picks are relevant for traditional fantasy golf, FanDuel, DraftKings and Vegas. Click the next arrow to see my best picks for the 2018 PLAYERS Championship, or you can click on the specific player's profile below.