The PGA Players Championship took place at TPC Sawgrass’ Players Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, this past weekend, with American Scottie Scheffler taking home the lion’s share ($4.5 million) of the $25 million purse.
While it isn’t a major championship, it’s one of the most prestigious events in the sport, with some of the biggest names in golf taking the green near Jacksonville last weekend.
Scheffler won comfortably out of the original field of 144, scoring -17 for the competition, five shots ahead of the next closest golfer, Englishman Tyrrell Hatton.
The win vaulted Scheffler past Jon Rahm in the Official World Golf Rankings and left him No. 2 in FedEx Cup standings behind Rahm, who has won five times in his past nine professional starts. Rahm had to back out of the Players Championship with an illness, but if he can keep up that torrid pace (and fare reasonably well in the rest of the tournaments he takes part in) it’ll be hard to unseat him from the pole position. Scheffler sits just ahead of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the PGA leaderboard.
The Players Championship was the last major golfing event for nearly a month, with the next three tournaments all pretty lowkey—with prize purses of $8.1 million, $3.8 million and $8.9 million across the Valspar Championship, Corales Punta Cana Resort and Club Championship, and the Valero Texas Open, respectively, leading into The Masters in the second weekend of April—it’s tough to get a top-notch field of competitors out for those tournaments, relative drops in the pond ahead of one of the sport’s premier events.
The Valspar Championship isn’t entirely devoid of big names, however, with a pair of reigning major champions Justin Thomas (+1000) and Matt Fitzpatrick (+1600) set to take the field. Jordan Spieth (+1200) and Sam Burns (+1600), who won the tournament the past two years and is looking for a three-peat, are some other names to watch.
After bursting into the spotlight in the mid-2010s with three major victories, Spieth hasn’t been able to make it back to the promised land since: he’s managed just two professional wins since the 2017 Open Championship, his last major victory nearly six years ago.
As of right now, Thomas is favored to take care of business at Valspar. If you wish to bet on golf (or any other sport) this spring to increase your potential earnings, remember to use the BetMGM bonus code and back your preferred players according to the current odds.
While Scheffler was able to turn it up when the stakes were highest, not everyone was so lucky. Australian Min Woo Lee melted down in the final round with a series of blunders that ended up costing him potential millions of winnings.
Lee saw himself tied for the lead after the third hole of the final round, but the moment was too bright for the 24 year old.
A series of bogies (with shots into bunkers, the water and trees galore) sank his chance at logging a third professional victory, and a special temporary membership to the PGA Tour.
He still finished sixth, however, so he’s got a good chance of getting a foothold in the upper echelons of the sport in the coming weeks if he can continue to stay the course.
Golfing runs in the Lee family: his elder sister, Minjee Lee, won the US Women’s Open last June, one of a pair of major championships she has to her name.
Following the conclusion of the tournament on Sunday night, tweeted “Thank you to everyone for the support, we gave it a good run for most of the tournament. [I] Tied [for] 6th and [took] a big step forward. Lots of things to learn and improve but happy to be there…Lets keep it up.”
It’s exactly the type of mentality you want to hear from the young golfer. It’ll be exciting to see how he learns and moves on from the mishaps and continues to improve as a player.