The Players Championship predictions: Thomas can taste more Sawgrass success
- The Players Championship is golf's unofficial fifth Major and begins on Thursday
- Cameron Smith won the title last year but has since switched to LIV Golf
- Recommended bets:
- Justin Thomas to win and each-way
- Jason Day to win and each way
- Keegan Bradley to win and each way
The Players Championship at Sawgrass has always been hailed as golf's fifth Major, but the absence of those who now ply their trade on the LIV Tour, including last year's champion Cameron Smith, means the field is not quite as elite as it once was.
However, there are still a galaxy of stars looking to claim this prestigious prize, including Kurt Kitayama, who held off strong challenges from big hitters Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler, to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last week.
McIlroy took glory in the Florida showpiece in 2019 and would love to capture the trophy again as thoughts begin to turn towards next month's Masters after finishing runner-up on Sunday.
The Northern Irishman looks set to go off as favourite, currently priced at 9/1 with LiveScore Bet, with world number one Jon Rahm, who has won five of his last 10 tournaments, and Scheffler both available at 10/1 with LiveScore Bet.
It could all come together for Thomas
One player who could fancy their chances this week is 2021 champion Justin Thomas, available at 18/1 with LiveScore Bet.
The man from Kentucky produced a supreme tee-to-green performance to storm to victory two years ago and there have been signs that he could be coming back into form.
It seems a matter of putting it all together for Thomas, who has been hovering outside the frame for much of the year, even though he was fourth at the recent Phoenix Open.
A lot of attention at Sawgrass falls upon the iconic 17th island hole, but it is taming the reachable par-fives that is often a passport to success in the fifth Major.
Thomas was 14-under-par on the four longest holes on his way to victory and he is capable of repeating that to give himself a great opportunity to be back in the winners' circle.
Day beginning to be a force once again
There was a time when Jason Day was the greatest ball-striker on the planet, but injury issues curtailed his progress.
Nevertheless, golf fans will be heartened to see the Australian former US PGA champion back at the top of his game and he could flourish again at a venue where he tasted success in 2016.
Now back in the world's top 50, Day has been a regular contender, posting finishes of 18-7-5-9-10 in his last five tournaments.
It could just come good for the Aussie as he looks to push on from an encouraging start to 2023, and he is available at 28/1 with LiveScore Bet to lift the trophy on Sunday.
Bradley finding his form
Keegan Bradley finished four shots behind Smith last year and he would have got a lot closer to the Australian had he not suffered a two-shot penalty.
Since then, the former US PGA champion has tasted victory at the Zozo Championship and the quality of his ball-striking bodes well for a strong week.
He has already finished second to Max Homa at the Farmers Insurance Open this year and was 10th at Bay Hill on Sunday, so it would not be a surprise if he made a big impression.
The 36-year-old's fifth-place finish in 2022 as well as his recent form put him in the mix when he is available at 40/1 with LiveScore Bet.