Ryan O'Sullivan

Sully's Snapshot

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THE PLAYERS: Power Rankings

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


THE PLAYERS Championship returns to TPC Sawgrass with Jason Day as the defending champ. The strongest field of the year awaits all challengers, and here is a preview and power ranking to aid in your research.

 

Before we dive too deep, it should be pointed out that the familiar THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass underwent some renovations since last year. Of little impact is an expanded water hazard on the sixth and seventh holes. The real impact is expected to come at the par-4 12th, which is now set up to be reached by the longer hitters off the tee. It will also feature a new water hazard left of the green, with wayward balls feeding in that direction.

 

THE PLAYERS Stadium Course will play to a par value of 72, stretching out to a modest 7,189 yards. With a quartet of par 5s and par 3s, to go with 10 par 4s, it is a traditional layout. A strategic tee shot on three of the four par 5s will offer the opportunity for an eagle putt for many, but this is not a bombs away course.

 

Over the years, TPC Sawgrass has been fairly non-discriminatory in terms of champions and contenders. If I were to try and describe the prototypical fit, it would be an accurate driver and a very solid iron player. Still, it’s never proven to be that simple on the Pete Dye layout.

 

There is a fine line between a course being an excellent one because it doesn’t favor one type of player, versus being a fluky one that doesn’t reward the best players playing the best golf. This one walks that line very closely. In fact, I would be inclined to say it is slightly closer to a fluke than a truly great course because some of the greatest in the game haven’t enjoyed a sustained level of success relative to the rest of their combined resumes. I digress. Dustin Johnson’s performance this week will either further support or debunk that theory.

 

Point being, there are very few sure things based on course history. For the purpose of gamers, this week is an educated guess at best.

 

That said, here’s our best shot!

 

1.  Rory McIlroy – New clubs. New wife. Hopefully the same smooth swing. I’ll take my chances on a happy Rory playing a course where he’s gone T8-T6-T8-T12 in his last four starts. You won’t find many with consistency like that on the Stadium Course.

 

2.  Sergio Garcia – Masters champion is 15/17 with a win, two seconds and a third over the years. The emotional Spaniard should be riding high since departing Augusta National less a monkey on his back.

 

3.  Jason Day – The defending champion is about as elite as it gets, yet he’s still missed half of his six cuts at THE PLAYERS. His three makes have all gone for top 20s.

 

4.  Rickie Fowler – Truly feast-or-famine, as he has a win and a runner-up to go with four missed cuts in seven attempts. The key for him is avoiding the big number, which is certainly in play across the TPC Sawgrass layout.

 

5.  Dustin Johnson – Finally didn’t win last week in the Wells Fargo, but his “freefall” stopped one spot lower in a T2 with Pat Perez. Has a terrible record at THE PLAYERS, with a T28 last year serving as his best start in eight tries. The best golfer on the planet today will need to overcome poor course history this week.

 


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Ryan O’Sullivan joined Rotoworld in 2012. The Clemson grad blogs as The Golf Aficionado and can be found on Twitter @ryangolfblogger.
Email :Ryan O'Sullivan



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