Starting today, Thursday 11th March, the Players Championship tournament will get underway at The Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Having been moved from its former place in the golfing calendar to a new springtime slot, this tournament serves as a perfect warm up for the four Majors, which take place from April through to July.

Indeed, so tough are the conditions of Sawgrass, plus the quality of the field and the fact that a huge amount of money is on the line for the winners, it is unsurprising that this tournament is viewed by many professionals as the unofficial ‘fifth Major’ of the season.

Rory McIlroy is the defending champion after last year’s event was cancelled after just one round due to the pandemic. His win in 2019 being the last tournament to be played to completion. He will be one of a number of top stars from all over the world hoping to lift the trophy and a winner’s cheque of $2.7 million come Sunday night.

If you would like to have a bet on this year’s The Players Championship and need a bookmaker that offers excellent golf coverage all year round, including a Live Round Tracker as well as plenty of pre-tournament and Live Betting options, then you should sign up now with the latest bet365 New Player Bonus.

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It is also worth remembering too that interest in this event in the United States is going to be big and you can find out plenty of information on the different sports betting options across the different states, together with sports news, promotional items and other bonus offers on the brand new site bestbetusa.com.

With the action starting today, what are some of the most interesting groups to watch throughout the day and what are some of the best bets to make for the tournament as a whole? Let’s take a look at some of the exciting action that lies ahead.

TPC – Thursday’s Best Groups

One of the best things about The Players Championship is that it does have such a quality depth of field that there are always some stellar groups of players playing together over the opening two days of the tournament.

And this, of course, gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy some Live Betting on the event should you choose to do so.

In the early groups, American fans will likely be keeping a close eye on the trio of Phil Mickelson, Charles Howell III and Tony Finau, who are scheduled to start their round just after midday UK time.

The first really powerful group of players though gets underway around half an hour later with European Tour star Viktor Hovland, and American duo Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas all playing together. This is a group of three stars who will all feel that if they can play well, they stand a genuine chance of winning this event.

A short time after that and we have a group of three winners of this event, comprising of two European superstars in Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia alongside the 2018 Players Championship Champion, Webb Simpson.

The afternoon also sees another interesting trio of golfers head out with English pair Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey, both of whom are in great form playing alongside another golfer who has been very consistent over the last 12-18 months or so, American Xander Schauffele.

There are two groups teeing off prime time in the United States that will really catch the eye and no doubt be featured a lot on TV coverage. The first sees Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth playing together, while the next sees three of the shortest priced favourites for this event, Bryson DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson all playing together.

There is no doubt that any of these groupings will offer some excellent betting opportunities for punters across both Thursday and Friday of the tournament and I would expect the majority of the players featured here to make the cut into the weekend.

Weather Conditions For The Tournament?

Weather plays a big role in any golf tournament but perhaps more so at The Players Championship where hazards are so punitive and where even just one slightly mishit shot can prove so costly. This is particularly the case at the famous 17th hole, which is named the island green, even though it is technically a peninsula.

Each year 100,000 balls are recovered from the lake around the green and while not too many of them are from golfers in this event, you will find more than a few do find the water. Those numbers will increase significantly if the weather turns blustery.

However, the good news for golfers is that the weather in Florida, for the time being at least, appears to be fine for the first couple of days which will certainly help players shoot lower scores. Although the flip side of that is drying out courses do make the greens somewhat more treacherous when they crisp up underfoot over the course of the day.

What Are Our Best Bets For The Tournament?

Bet365 is offering an outstanding range of bets for this event and of course the one that most people are interested in is the outright winner market.

I have to say that picking outright winners in golf tournaments is one of the more thankless tasks for anyone tipping as any of the golfers competing is good enough, on their day, to win the event. However, I think the smart money for a bet to win should be on one of the favourites and I think looking at the odds, the 18/1 on Justin Thomas is a good bet.

Thomas is an exceptional golfer who has just not had the best of form of late. Off the course issues have hindered him a little but he has the game to do very well here. He is a Major champion and last won back in August 2020, so I feel he is due a win and good performance here.

Bet365 also pays out the top eight and ties on the each way market at 1/5 of the stated odds and with that in mind there are a number of each way bets to consider including Justin Rose (100/1), Gary Woodland (200/1), Henrik Stenson (250/1) and Adam Scott (66/1).