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Stenson, Westwood and Walker offer value at The Players C’ship

| 06.05.2014

With world number one Tiger Woods continuing his recovery from back surgery, there’s no chance of a first ever consecutive winner of The Players Championship, leaving the field wide open at Florida’s distinctive TPC Sawgrass course.

Picking the eventual winner of a golf tournament used to be so simple when Woods was in his pomp (though the odds weren’t particularly favourable) but as the world’s finest stick merchants gather for the unofficial fifth major, there are many players with significant claims.

Going by the magical combination of course and current form, Matt Kuchar is the most deserved name at the sharp end of the betting, at 16/1.

Kuch, as the smiley Florida native is known on the Tour, heads the PGA power rankings at Sawgrass by virtue of the fact he won the recent RBC Heritage with a closing round of 64, one of four straight top fives this season, and he took the 2012 Players crown.

Meanwhile, if Rory McIlroy’s rapid return towards his best continues – his T8 at Quail Hollow was his fifth top 10 of the season already – then they’ll certainly be leaner prices than 14/1 on the Ulsterman to win other events this season.

However, with such a stellar field descending on Ponte Vedra Beach, plucking a few value top-10 finishers rather than the overall champ may prove a darn sight easier than keeping it out of the drink at the infamous par three 17th.

In that regard, Henrik Stenson (2/1), Lee Westwood (11/4) and 4/1-shot Jimmy Walker receive a special mention in dispatches.

Stenson set the bar so dizzyingly high last season that it’s easy to point the finger that he’s yet to attain such heights this time, but the 2009 champion was T5 in his last start in China two weeks ago and T5 here in 2013.

Serial Major championship top-10 achiever, Westwood, has posted two TPC top 10s in the last four editions and recently triumphed in Malaysia.

And last but by no means least, FedExCup points leader Walker is clearly relishing the big stage this season, tying for fifth at Augusta, while he was T15 at Sawgrass last year.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.