Arguably the biggest–and certainly the most lucrative–of the non-major tournaments on the PGA Tour, the Players Championship typically brings out the world’s best, and that’s no different in 2018 with every single player ranked inside the Top 50 set to tee it up at TPC Sawgrass. There’s also some guy named Tiger Woods, the two-time winner who may draw a little bit of interest.
Television coverage for the tournament is as follows: Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel (1-7 p.m. ET), Saturday and Sunday on NBC (2-7 p.m. ET). If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch a live stream of both the Golf Channel and NBC on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including both Golf Channel and NBC (live in most markets). You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of both channels on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
FuboTV. Both Golf Channel and NBC (live in most markets) are included with a subscription to FuboTV, a streaming service that is tailored towards sports. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch both channels live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
DirecTV Now: While NBC (live in select markets) is included in all four channel packages, Golf Channel is in the “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch both channels live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
PGA Tour Live: You can also watch early Thursday and Friday action (featured groups and featured holes) via PGA Tour Live, which costs $5.99 per month or $39.99 per year. After signing up, you can then watch on your computer via PGATourLive.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the PGA Tour Live app.
You never expect there to be an overwhelming favorite when the field is as deep as it is this week, but the fact that there are four co-favorites is indicative of the landscape of golf right now.
Those four favorites, each with +1400 odds to win, are Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Day is coming off a win at the Wells Fargo Championship and is starting to look a lot more like the 2016 version of himself, who won the Players by four strokes that year. Thomas, continuing to chase that No. 1 world ranking, has 13 consecutive Top-25 finishes with two wins and two runners-up in that span. McIlroy has three Top-10’s at this tournament and is in form. And then there’s Spieth, who has 10 Top-10’s in his last 16 tournaments but has also missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass three years in a row.
And that list doesn’t even include the No. 1 player in the world.
Dustin Johnson (+1600) hasn’t tallied a Top-5 since February, but he’s first on Tour in strokes gained tee to green, he’s made seven of nine cuts here (albeit with no Top-10’s) and he remains as dangerous as ever. He comes in with the same odds as Rickie Fowler, who won here in 2015 and finished runner-up in 2012 but has disappeared in his other appearances.
Of course, the list of contenders goes much deeper.
You’ve got the old farts who know the course inside and out: Sergio Garcia has a win, two runner-up finishes, six Top-10’s and is No. 1 on the all-time money list here, though he comes in with three straight missed cuts. Tiger Woods is a two-time winner, and his playing partner for Thursday and Friday, Phil Mickelson, has made a whopping 24 Players starts with a win in 2007. Henrik Stenson has a win in 2009 to go with his excellent recent form of three straight Top-10’s. Adam Scott (2004) and Matt Kuchar (2012) have also broken through here.
You’ve got undervalued guys like Patrick Reed, who is somehow still at +3500 despite following up his Masters win with a Top-10 at the Wells Fargo Championship–his fifth straight. Or Hideki Matsuyama (+4000), who has struggled this season but has still made all four cuts here with a T7 in 2016. Or Francesco Molinari, who has three consecutive Top-10’s but is only +6600.
And, as always, you have a bevy of sleepers, like Kyle Stanley, Louis Oosthuizen, Chesson Hadley, Adam Hadwin, Billy Horschel, Si Woo Kim, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and so forth and so forth.
It may not be an actual major. But it feels like it, and when you throw in that historic Tiger-Phil pairing on Thursday and Friday, that’s more than enough to make it a must-watch event.
Source: Heavy Sports