Expert picks for the Players Championship

It was his first trip to TPC River Highlands and he immediately took a liking to the course, opening with a 7-under par 63.

"To hold all those events concurrently was special".

Jordan Spieth, who won the 2017 Travelers Championship in dramatic fashion, announced Tuesday that he would play in this year's tournament.

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Woods will play alongside foe-turned-friend Phil Mickelson who is a touch shorter at 33/1 to join Woods on two wins at Sawgrass (he won the event back in 2007).

Normally, the defending champion are included in articles like this but the groups later on are so full of firepower that Si Woo Kim just didn't fit. He finished at 10-under 278 to beat Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter by three shots. For people who are newer to the golf scene, THE PLAYERS is not actually a major, there are only four majors in golf, however, everything about the tournament replicates what a major golf tournament is.

That parallels the sentiment expressed by Davis Love III at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year when he said that next year, THE PLAYERS would be "the first major of the season".

That Rory McIlroy doesn't figure in such permutations - having slipped back to eighth in the latest world rankings - will likely rankle with the Northern Irishman, but you'd suspect an overdue win on the Pete Dye-designed course, one where he has had a Love/Hate relationship throughout his career, would provide adequate compensation.

1/2 pt Austin Cook 200/1: very accurate tee to green, on a course that all about iron play he can contend at a big price. He does, however, have the best cumulative score at the event the past five years at -29. Spieth has held the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for 26 weeks, and is now ranked No. 4.

Spieth finished fourth at the first time of asking as a 20 year-old, but since then has missed three successive cuts, an unprecedented run of failure on his record-breaking results sheet. Spaniard Jon Rahm (+2500) also could take the No. 1 ranking. Thomas has participated three times; Spieth has done so four times.

Their efforts were rewarded last December at the PGA Tour's tour management meetings as the Travelers was named Tournament of the Year, Players Choice and Most Fan-Friendly. Adam Hadwin is +10000. "I played pretty well previous year except for the 18th hole and it'll be nice to get back out there and exact some revenge", pointed out the Indian golfer. Taylor has an MC (2016) and 73 (2015) at the Players.

Meanwhile, Edoardo Molinari is dreaming of tasting victory on home soil as the European Tour returns to Verdura Golf Club for this week's Rocco Forte Sicilian Open.

  • Julie Sanders