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TPC Sawgrass is infuriating. And not just for golfers contending for The Players Championship. It's also infuriating for fans trying to determine which of their favorites are going to have a big week at the PGA Tour's most important event of the year.

Look at the last few leaderboards at this golf tournament. Seemingly random names scattered all over the top of the first page. Insane, maniacal groups of players that you would never think would play great at the exact same golf course.

However, there is a method to the madness. After talking to some folks about the setup and the field, it has become clear that the players who manage the course the best will thrive this week. This sounds obvious because ... don't the players who manage the golf course best thrive every week? Theoretically, yes, but perhaps not as much as they do at a place like TPC Sawgrass where water and penalty areas and hazards linger all over the property.

With that in mind and considering TPC Sawgrass is as different a course as one could play in the midst of a season, let's take a look at the nine golfers who have the best chance of winning the 2023 Players Championship. Don't forget to take a gander at the full slate of 2023 Players Championship odds and Round 1 tee times at TPC Sawgrass.

2023 Players Championship predictions

1
For all Rahm has accomplished (and it's been a lot), Scheffler has been the better iron player, the better driver and the better overall ball-striker. That doesn't mean he's going to win this week at TPC Sawgrass (though I absolutely love how accurate he's been off the tee at a place like this), but it does mean Scheffler is playing some underrated great golf. Odds: 9-1
2
As Patrick McDonald pointed out on The First Cut recently, the left miss at TPC Sawgrass is a big problem, and Rahm has been extremely inaccurate off the tee so far this year. He was worse than field average in accuracy at Kapalua, Riviera and Bay Hill, and he's outside the top 100 in missing left off the tee. All of this is a relatively minor issue with him at a lot of places because most courses aren't as penal as this one on the driver miss and because he often makes up for it with length off the tee. However, it's a detail to watch as this week plays out. Odds: 10-1
3
It's shocking that I have the three best players in the world in this group. Rory popped last week at Bay Hill, and while I worry about his inaccuracy off the tee so far this year (way worse than usual), his iron play has been extraordinary. If he can avoid some big misses at key holes at TPC Sawgrass and stay neutral in terms of accuracy (like he was in 2019), he could be looking at his second Players in five years. Odds: 9-1
4
I don't really understand it. Cantlay has been horrible at this season, missing his last three cuts and generally performing like a low-level player rather than one of the five best in the world. Mark Immelman as much mentioned on The First Cut, but Cantlay's team feels like his course management has gotten better, which is paramount at a place like TPC Sawgrass. He should thrive here -- just like he should thrive at the major championships (where he also has not) -- as he comes in as the only player gaining at least 0.4 strokes in every category over his last 20 rounds. Whether that translates to Sawgrass success remains to be seen. Odds: 12-1
5
Big Tone has not been great at TPC Sawgrass, but he has been only a slightly worse version of Scheffler so far this season. He's coming in way under the radar but has made eight consecutive cuts and hasn't finished outside the top 25 in any of them. It has been (by far!) the best approach play season of his career, and if he maintains how accurate he's been off the tee so far, he should be in the mix. Odds: 22-1
6
He's so due to bust out here. His play has been solid but not elite, though what has plagued him (relatively) is also the what he's best at: iron play. That's precisely the reason he has an opportunity to get out in the open field and gallop around TPC Sawgrass a bit with a chance to win his second in three years. Odds: 14-1
7
Another player who has been flying under the radar. Morikawa's ball-striking numbers have been off the charts so far this year. He's an elite iron player, accurate off the tee and -- as long as the wind lays down a little bit -- he could be in for a monstrous week. Odds: 22-1
8
His profile is so perfect for this place. The best iron player in the world right now not named Rahm. Long and accurate off the tee. A good decision-maker who can keep his emotions in check at an infuriating golf course. And on one of the best stretches of his career. Homa finished T13 last year in his first made cut at TPC Sawgrass, and I presume he will better that this time around. Odds: 16-1
9
He was my one and done this week, so I suppose he should be included here. Hovland has been sneaky accurate off the tee and finished in the top 10 here a year ago. He's a good manager of the ball, and while I don't necessarily know he'll win (because I believe Scheffler will), he'll come close. Odds: 22-1

Who will win The Players Championship, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard and best bets, all from the model that's nailed eight golf majors and is up over $8,400 since June 2020.