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2019 Players Championship opening favorites

2019 Players Championship odds, field: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy co-favorites at TPC Sawgrass

It should come as no surprise that the two golfers who duked it out a few weeks ago at the WGC-Mexico Championship are the favorites for this week’s 2019 Players Championship. Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy share the honors at 12-1 even though neither has ever won at TPC Sawgrass.

The duo has combined for exactly zero top-10 finishes at this tournament in the last three years it has been played, and their most recent top 10 was a T8 by McIlroy back in 2015 when he finished four strokes out of a three-way playoff. Still, TPC Sawgrass is expected to play soft and long this year, which will benefit both. Also, it helps that they’ve combined for nine top 10s and a pair of wins (both Johnson’s) in 11 worldwide starts this year. You could make a reasonable argument that these two — Nos. 1 and 2 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained by a wide margin — have been the two best players on the planet so far in 2019.

Here’s a look at everyone with 45-1 odds or better for the Players this week.

  • Dustin Johnson: 12-1
  • Rory McIlroy: 12-1
  • Justin Thomas: 16-1
  • Justin Rose: 20-1
  • Rickie Fowler: 20-1
  • Brooks Koepka: 22-1
  • Francesco Molinari: 22-1
  • Tiger Woods: 22-1
  • Bryson DeChambeau: 25-1
  • Jon Rahm: 25-1
  • Xander Schauffele: 25-1
  • Tommy Fleetwood: 28-1
  • Sergio Garcia: 33-1
  • Adam Scott: 40-1
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 40-1
  • Jason Day: 40-1
  • Patrick Cantlay: 40-1

Did you notice whose names weren’t on there? How about three-time major winner Jordan Spieth (50-1), major champions Henrik Stenson (50-1) and Patrick Reed (66-1). Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson (66-1) and last year’s champ Webb Simpson (50-1) are absent, as well.

There are certainly good reasons all are 50-1 or worse, but it’s still pretty shocking to see written down on paper. Thomas is likely going to end up being my pick, and I think even at 16-1 odds he has value. He and Schauffele are two of just four players gaining two or more strokes per round on fields this year (McIlroy and Johnson are the other two), both have longer odds than the top dogs and both have had a lot of success at TPC Sawgrass in the past.

Dustin Johnson wins WGC-Mexico Championship

Dustin Johnson wins WGC-Mexico Championship for 20th career PGA Tour victory

By Josh Berhow

FEBRUARY 24, 2019

Johnson had a big lead heading into the final round, but his Sunday at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City was drama-free.

Dustin Johnson had a big lead heading into the final round of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, but his Sunday at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City was drama-free. Here’s what you missed.

Who won: Dustin Johnson (five-under 66, 21 under overall)

How it happened: This one was never in doubt. Johnson led Rory McIlroy by four after 54 holes and made the turn on Sunday leading McIlroy and Paul Casey by five. The back nine was nothing more than a victory parade to the clubhouse. Johnson, 34, made birdies on 10, 11, 14, 15 and 16 to sign for a 66. McIlroy, who made six back-nine birdies, was second at 16 under, five back of Johnson. The three players who tied for third were five back of McIlroy.

Key hole: The lead was still four when McIlroy and Johnson reached the par-5 6th. They both found tree trouble, although Johnson was awarded a free drop while McIlroy wasn’t. Johnson made birdie and McIlroy made bogey, which increased the lead to six.

Why it matters: It’s Johnson sixth career WGC victory, and he’s second to only Tiger Woods’s 18. Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy are tied for third with three WGC titles. The victory was also DJ’s 20th of his PGA Tour career, which gives him lifetime member status.

Best round: Justin Thomas made nine birdies in his first 12 holes (to one bogey) and shot a nine-under 62. He missed a 14-footer for birdie on the final green that would have broken his own course record.

Best greenside magic: Tommy Fleetwood.

As for Tiger?: He closed with a two-under 69 and tied for 10th. He’s now off for a week until he plays back-to-back at Bay Hill and The Players.

Up next: Thomas defends his title at The Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka also headline the field. Woods tweeted earlier this week he would not be playing, despite the proximity to his home.

SOURCE: GOLF.COM

Dustin Johnson Injured – Master’s Status In Question

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Dustin Johnson took a serious fall on a staircase Wednesday and injured his lower back, and his manager said it was uncertain whether the world’s No. 1 golfer would be able to play in the Masters.

It was a stunning development on an otherwise quiet day at Augusta National, where the course was shut down at 1:30 p.m. ET because of storms.

The real calamity struck a few hours later.

David Winkle, Johnson’s manager at Hambric Sports, said his client fell on the bare wood stairs at the home he is renting in Augusta. Johnson’s trainer, Joey Diovisalvi, told Masters Radio on SiriusXM on Wednesday night that Johnson was going out to the garage to move a car when he slipped on three wooden steps.

Johnson landed on his lower back and both elbows.

“He landed very hard on his lower back and is now resting, although quite uncomfortably,” Winkle said in an email. “He has been advised to remain immobile and begin a regiment of anti-inflammatory medication and icing, with the hope of being able to play tomorrow.”

Diovisalvi told SiriusXM that they are optimistic Johnson will be able to play Thursday, but first they will have to see how he feels in the morning.

What might help Johnson is that he is in the final group for the opening round, scheduled to tee off at 2:03 p.m. ET with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and PGA champion Jimmy Walker.

Johnson was an 11-2 favorite to win the Masters entering Wednesday, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. After news of his injury, his odds dropped to 7-1, the same as Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

Johnson has had his share of mishaps in a major but not before the event even started.

On Tuesday, Winkle described Johnson as being “in as good a shape as I’ve ever seen him in every aspect of his game and his life.”

On Wednesday, Johnson was at Augusta National to play nine holes before the first wave of storms moved in.

Johnson has won three straight tournaments — including a pair of World Golf Championships — heading into the Masters to rise to world No. 1.

He had been scheduled to attend the Golf Writers Association of America annual dinner Wednesday night to accept its award as male player of the year. He was coming off a season in which he won the U.S. Open for his first major, was voted PGA Tour Player of the Year for the first time, won the PGA Tour money title and captured the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average.

If he is unable to play Thursday, Johnson would be the fourth world No. 1 to miss a major championship, joining McIlroy (2015 Open, ankle), Greg Norman(1988 Open, wrist) and Tiger Woods, who missed the 2014 Masters (back surgery), the 2008 Open (ACL surgery) and the 2008 PGA Championship (ACL surgery).

Winkle said he would not have any further comment until he knows more about Johnson’s condition.

If Johnson cannot play, there are no alternates at the Masters.

Information from ESPN’s Bob Harig and The Associated Press was used in this report.

SOURCE: ESPN

Dustin Johnson now world No. 1 with Genesis Open Win

D. Johnson becomes world No. 1 with Genesis win

SOURCE: GOLF CHANNEL

Dustin Johnson Surges at the Tour Championship

Dustin Johnson shoots 67, takes 1-shot lead at Tour Championship

ATLANTA — Dustin Johnson is playing better than anyone in the world, and Kevin Chappell can’t wait to watch him at the Tour Championship.

Even if that means having to beat him.

Johnson powered his way down the fairways and occasionally out of the brutal rough at East Lake on Friday for a 3-under 67, giving him a one-shot lead over Chappell and moving him one round closer to the $10 million FedEx Cup prize.

The U.S. Open champion is on a different level at the moment.

Even on a demanding test like East Lake this year — only 10 players remain under par — Johnson is hitting his driver long and straight. His wedge game has gone from a weakness to a strength. A new putter he put in play two weeks ago when he won the BMW Championship is giving him a better feel for alignment.

Small wonder that this was his seventh straight round at 68 or better during the FedEx Cup playoffs.

“The game is never easy. I wish it was,” Johnson said. “Obviously, I’m playing good right now. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my game. Every week, I feel like I bring the same game, which is nice. But I put in a lot of work to get to where I am.”

Johnson was at 7-under 133.

Chappell, one of two players at the Tour Championship who has yet to win on the PGA Tour, was just as solid, even if it doesn’t look as spectacular. He has made only one bogey in 36 holes, quite a feat on a course where the Bermuda rough is so punishing that balls sink to the ground and sometimes can’t be seen from a foot away.

He shot a 68 and will be in the final group of a playoff event for the second time this year.

Kevin Kisner (70) and Hideki Matsuyama (71) were four shots behind, while Rory McIlroy overcame another rough start on the front nine to post a 70. He was in the group five shots behind, which isn’t much of a deficit at the halfway point except for Johnson being the one they have to chase.

If nothing else, Johnson all but eliminated nearly everyone not among the top five seeds vying for the FedEx Cup. McIlroy is No. 6 and still has a chance, though he would have to win the Tour Championship and Johnson would have to finish third.

“I need to win, and I just need someone to play as good as Dustin this week,” McIlroy said.

Jason Day is out of the picture. The world’s No. 1 player withdrew in the middle of a round at the second straight tournament, citing the same nagging back issues that he hopes will be cured by rest.

By Day withdrawing, Johnson won the points-based PGA player of the year award and is likely to win the player vote as PGA Tour player of the year because of his three victories, with perhaps another to follow.

But there is still work ahead of him, and that starts with Chappell.

“I promise you, I’ll be watching Dustin,” Chappell said. “He’s the best player in the world right now, and it’s an opportunity for me to see where my game is. There’s a golf tournament going on, and I have a chance to win that. That’s the ultimate goal. But I also have a chance to see why he’s the best player in the world right now, and I look forward to taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Chappell has been a runner-up three times this season and keeps running into the wrong guys — Kisner at Sea Island, Day at Bay Hill and The Players Championship. He also was in the mix at the TPC Boston until McIlroy pulled away.

“It seems I like going against the hot player at the time,” he said.

Russell Knox matched the low score of the tournament with a 66 that allowed him to get back under par at 1-under 139, along with Justin Thomas, who is still hopeful of a Ryder Cup pick at the end of the week.

Thomas lost a shot when his ball moved right as he set his putter down behind a short par putt on the 11th hole. The PGA Tour reviewed it on videotape and gave him a one-shot penalty under Rule 18-2, the same penalty applied to Johnson at Oakmont in the U.S. Open.

Thomas disagreed with, but accepted, the penalty. His argument was it was not a flat surface and the greens were running fast

“It’s nothing against the rules officials. It’s a god-awful rule,” Thomas said. “It’s very fortunate it didn’t cost Dustin a major championship. I hope it doesn’t cost me anything. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong.”

Mark Russell, the vice president of rules and competition for the tour, said, the wind was light and the ball had been at rest “for quite some time.”

“And the moment that Justin put his club behind the ball and addressed the ball, the ball moved,” he said. “In that situation, the evidence is against the player and he was penalized.”

That left him six shots behind Johnson instead of five. Either way, it’s a tall order for Thomas or anyone to catch Johnson.

SOURCE: ESPN