Players Championship predictions

Is Jason Day ready to win the Players Championship?
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Is Jason Day ready to win the Players Championship?

Who will win The Players Championship? Our golf reporter takes a look at the contenders:


Age: 36. World ranking: 20

Players starts/cuts made: 4/3

Best finish: T6 (2011)


Might win because: He’s too good a player to be scuffling along as he has for most of 2013. After a season in which he won twice and had eight top-10 finishes, Dufner’s best finish in 10 starts is a tie for 12th. His statistics are worse across the board: He’s not hitting it as far off the tee, not hitting as many greens in regulation, not making as many putts. Add it up, and his scoring average is 1.5 strokes higher per round this year.


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Age: 35. World ranking: 21

Players starts/cuts made: 2/2

Best finish: T15 (2012)

Might win because: He has a good record at TPC Sawgrass (T19 in 2011, T15 last year), and seems to be the kind of player who has triumphed at the Players lately: None of the last five champions has won a major, and all were between No. 9 and No. 40 in the world rankings at the time of their victory. Four were also non-Americans; that streak ended last year with Matt Kuchar. Hanson’s best finish this year is T8 at Doral.



Age: 37. World ranking: 13

Players starts/cuts made: 9/7

Best finish: 2 (2009)

Might win because: Like Peter Hanson, Poulter checks off a lot of the boxes that have defined recent Players winners. He was a distant second (by four shots) when Henrik Stenson won in 2009; that was Poulter’s only finish better than 21st in his nine Players appearances. Has played in only five stroke-play events on tour this year, with a T9 in the opener his best showing. Missed the cut at the Masters; look for a rebound this week.


Age: 37. World ranking: 39


Players starts/cuts made: 7/5

Best finish: Win (2009)

Might win because: Stenson was ranked No. 5 in the world after winning the 2009 Players; by the end of 2011, he was No. 212, thanks to just one top-10 finish in 30 tour starts. He has worked his way back to respectability, and already has a T8 (Bay Hill) and T2 (Houston) this year. Stenson followed his Players win by missing the cut the next two visits, but was T15 last year. He was also T3 in 2006 and T10 in ’08, so he likes it here.


Age: 25. World ranking: 25

Players starts/cuts made: 3/1

Best finish: T6 (2011)

Will win because: Australians have done well at the Players, so Day would be joining an impressive group of winners from down under: Greg Norman, Steve Elkington (twice), Adam Scott. Day’s form this year has been good: He was third at the Masters (won by Scott) and has three other top-10s, including a third at the Match Play. His record at TPC Sawgrass (two missed cuts) doesn’t impress, but he has the all-around game to get it done.