After a tough final day at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, Scottie Scheffler continued his impressive form to land the victory by one stroke over a trio of players that lay just one shot further back.

That win for Scheffler, his second in the past month after his victory at the WM Phoenix Open, means that he will head into this week’s tournament in great shape and that could not be a more timely boost, given that this week’s tournament is known as the “fifth Major” of the golf year; The Players Championship.

The famous tournament is played every year at TPC Sawgrass in Jacksonville, Florida and its most iconic hole is the famous island green 17th, a short par three which is surrounded almost completely by water and on which many players hopes and dreams have floundered over the years.

So heading into this event, who are the players that are in form, which are those that we should be taking a closer look at and who stands a great chance of landing a tournament that is the richest tournament in golf and all-but a Major in name?

Before we take a closer look and answer some of those questions, let’s learn a little more about the tournament.

As always, any odds shown are from bet365 Sport and were correct at the time of writing but may have changed in the meantime.

Remember too, you can use the bet365 Live Golf Tracker for up to the minute information on the tournament while the golfers are out on the course.

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The Players Championship Database

Established in 1974, the Players Championship this year will boast a huge $20,000,000 prize pool, the largest purse in golf, and the winner will take home $3.6 million, 600 FedEx Cup Points and exemption for the next three years of all four Major tournaments.

They will also likely catapult themselves to the top of the money leaders on the PGA Tour this season.

144 players will start the event on the Par 72 course at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, which measures 7,189 yards, which is slightly shorter than the course was between 2007 and 2017 when it measured 7,215 yards.

After playing its first three tournaments at Atlanta, Colonial and Inverrary Country Clubs, the tournament spend five years at Sawgrass Country Club before switching to the TPC Sawgrass Stadium course in 1982, where it has been contested ever since.

The tournament was cancelled in 2020 after the first round due to the pandemic, but returned to its new place in the PGA Tour schedule in March 2021, when Justin Thomas held off Lee Westwood to win by one shot and claim the $2,700,000 top prize.

Former Winners

Only one player has amassed three victories in the tournament’s history and that is Jack Nicklaus who won in 1974, 1976 and 1978, which means none of his three victories came at the course on which the tournament is contested today.

The only other players to have landed more than one victory are Fred Couples (1984, 1996), Steve Elkington (1991, 1997), Hal Sutton (1983, 2000), Davis Love III (1992, 2003) and Tiger Woods (2001, 2013).

The record winning score in the event is 24-under-par, which was achieved by Greg Norman back in 1994, when he beat Fuzzy Zoeller by four strokes.

A large number of players have won the tournament once including David Duval, Justin Leonard, Nick Price, Tom Kite, Sandy Lyle, Ray Floyd, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins, Fred Funk and Stephen Ames.

Amongst those likely to compete this week, there are a number of former winners including Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Kim Si-woo, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy and the defending champion Justin Thomas

It has not been a good tournament for European success with just five European victories in the tournament since it began. They were Sandy Lyle (1987 – the first non-American player to win the tournament), Sergio Garcia (2008), Henrik Stenson (2009), Martin Kaymer (2014) and Rory McIlroy (2019).

Golfers from the rest of the world bar America have enjoyed more success than their European tour counterparts with the likes if Kim Si Woo, Jason Day, KJ Choi, Tim Clarke, Stephen Ames, Adam Scott, Craig Perks, Steve Elkington, Greg Norman and Nick Price victors from other parts of the world.

However, American players have enjoyed huge success in the tournament over the years, especially in the early years of the tournament.

That said, a number of top players are yet to win the event including Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Viktor Hovland and Cameron Smith.

This Year’s Favourites To Win

There are three players that are the 14/1 joint favourites to win the tournament this year and they are the defending champion Justin Thomas, world number one Jon Rahm and the in-form Collin Morikawa.

Rory McIlroy is 18/1 to win the event for a second time, while Viktor Hovland is 20/1. Scottie Scheffler, who we mentioned at the start of the article, is a 25/1 chance to land a third win in the space of a few weeks alongside Patrick Cantlay.

Xander Schauffele is 28/1 and Hideki Matsuyama, the leading player in the money list at present is a 30/1 chance.

Some other notable names to look at include Dustin Johnson (35/1), Brooks Koepka (40/1), Jordan Spieth (45/1), Will Zalatoris (45/1) and Tyrrell Hatton (50/1).

Bet365 Sport are offering each way payouts of 1/5 of the stated price for the top eight finishers in the event (plus ties).

Who Should I Back To Win or Each Way?

Having had a look through the field of players, it is not easy to pick a winner. This tournament has seen a number of lesser known players with long odds come through the field to win, in addition to seeing some of the more famous and top ranked players land victory.

If early season form is a guide then the likes of Matsuyama, Scheffler, Hatton and Hovland are all good options for you to consider.

However, as The Players Championship is essentially a fifth Major, my gut feeling is that the top players always plan to peak on these weeks and I think we will see one of the very best land the victory here.

I can’t see that being a European player to be honest, although I think Hovland has the best chance of doing that at the moment, perhaps even more so than Jon Rahm, but I feel it will likely be the American Collin Morikawa who enjoys the win this week.