2022 PGA Betting Preview: Jon Rahm Could Put It All Together at The Players Championship

Golf’s fifth major, The Players Championship, is here and it is set to be a great one with the tournament looking wide open and packed full of golfing superstars. 

This tournament is always one of the highlights on the PGA Tour calendar and this year is no different. Once again in its early March slot it moved in 2019 it marks the start of major season with the Masters now less than a month away. 

Sawgrass is a phenomenal test with a real mix of holes. The 17th may well be the most famous hole in golf with its potential to make or break a tournament. But the whole course is packed full of great holes, from risk/reward par fives over water to brilliant par threes. The Players rarely throws up a dull week as so much can change in an instant. 

With just how tough it is, there is no person that really stands out as having a great record. There is barely a player in the field that has not missed a cut or two here. If your game is not on that week, then Sawgrass will get you. The tight fairways, long rough and small greens make this one of the toughest courses these players will play all season long. 

Jon Rahm is the favourite, but after weeks of overly short prices, he comes into this week at a very backable 11/1. He was 17/2 a week ago and there is no obvious reason why he would be so much longer heading into this tournament. His record here is better than at Bay Hill with 9th and 12th place finishes on his past two visits. 2020 was just a single round though as the tournament was cancelled after 18 holes due to the spread of coronavirus. 

Rahm has not quite put it together just yet this season, but his ball-striking is perhaps as good as ever. He leads the tour in strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained off the tee and is second in strokes gained approach. That is just incredible and at a course that is so demanding, it is hard to look past the Spaniard. It feels like he has not quite got going yet, but he has a second, a third and one other top 10 in his past six starts. He is 8/1 to win the Masters and that may be a price to jump on now if you fancy him to pick up the Green Jacket, as he feels ready to go on a run, and a good finish here should see those odds shorten even further. 

Viktor Hovland has quickly become one of the very best in the game. His run from the back end of last year has been nothing short of remarkable. In his past eight starts he has three wins, a second and two fourths. He has performed well at these big events so the pressure of the Players Championship should not get to him. At times his putter can let him down but he is one of those rare players that can contend every single week. He did miss the cut last year, but he is a different beast right now. A win could see him reach world number one this week and 20/1 is more than reasonable. 

If there is one player that can rival Hovland for the most in-form player in golf right now, it is Scottie Scheffler. After getting his breakthrough win at the WM Phoenix Open just four weeks ago, he quickly added another at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week to catapult himself into the world’s top five. The average age of those top five is just 26.5 a record low and Scheffler, like Hovland, can reach number one. He has long felt like a player that once he got one, the floodgates would open and a win this week would be the biggest of his career. 25/1 is again a very nice price. In an open tournament, going for the form players is rarely a bad choice, and Hovland and Scheffler both have a great chance.

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Justin Thomas comes into this week as defending champion and he may have a big advantage over many in the field after taking last week off. The weekend at Bay Hill was one of the toughest tests we have seen for some time with firm greens and the wind getting up. It could have taken a lot out of those in contention. 

Of the players in the field this week, Thomas has the best scoring average since 2015 at 70.35. His form in 2022 has been solid with three top tens in four starts and that relatively light schedule should see him come in here fairly fresh. Nobody has ever defended the title here though and at 14/1, the previously mentioned players are all preferred. 

Longshots do have a good record here. Rickie Fowler, Si Woo Kim and Webb Simpson were all available at big prices before their respective wins, but with no particularly strong course form it is hard to really pick somebody out. At 50/1 Tyrrell Hatton may have a strong shout though. His second place a week ago backs up fourth and sixth place finishes in recent weeks so he is obviously in good form, but you would be backing him to turn around very poor course form after three missed cuts in a row at Sawgrass. 

Billy Horshcel could be the man to turn to if looking for a bigger price. The Florida man has started the year strongly and has been in with a chance of winning at most of the events he has played so far this year. He has not converted yet but we have seen him win plenty of big events throughout his career. He is the same price as Hatton, but offers much more encouraging form around this Pete Dye designed course. 

This field is as open as any tournament for quite some time and there are plenty of players that have appeal, but if Jon Rahm can get a little hotter with the putter, he has the potential to blow this incredibly strong field away. He is so close to his best and this huge event could be the thing to just spark that final bit he needs to go on a winning run in the next couple of months.

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