As spring approaches, major season nears ever closer with The Masters beginning April 9 at the Augusta National.
Before that however, the Players Championship rolls into view on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass.
Fresh from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, the Florida swing continues apace.
With the Stadium Course set, the biggest purse of the year is up for grabs at a cool $25 million.
The PGA’s flagship event, the Players’ is now regarded the unofficial fifth major but who will take the crown this year?
The big three
Despite the loss of a number of heavyweights to LIVGolf – including last year’s winner Cam Smith – both PGA and DP World Tours look healthier than ever.
Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy continue to see-saw at the top of the standings.
Rahm continues as top dog having won three Tour titles since the turn of the year.
Wins at Sentry, the American Express and at Genesis have kept the Spaniard on song.
Rahm is on this week at a 10/1 price for 9 places with William Hill.
It is McIlroy, however, who is tipped to win in Florida.
Finishing just one stroke off the pace last weekend, the Northern Irishman’s game has returned.
Victory in the CJ Cup was then topped by claiming a third Dubai Desert Classic in January.
McIlroy might take some stopping and is 17/2 to win for a second time at Sawgrass for 8 places with Betway.
It is worth reminding ourselves however, that whilst the Briton won here in 2019, on five occasions he has missed the cut.
Further to that, in 12 attempts, McIlroy has finished T10 or better only four times.
Finishing T33 last year though, bet365’s boosted offer of evens to finish in the top 20 is surely worth a stake.
In the case of Scheffler, in his two appearances, the defending Masters champion has not enjoyed Sawgrass.
Missing the cut on debut, Scheffler finished outside the top 50 last time out but is fancied to feature this year.
Available at 9/1 with Ladbrokes for 10 places, given his struggles is also 4s to miss the cut with 10Bet.
The chasing pack
Of the chasing field, Max Homa could carry a strong threat.
Indeed, everything points to this year being the San Diego native’s turn to shine in major season.
With two more Tour wins in the Fortinet and Farmers Insurance, Homa was also runner-up to Rahm in the Genesis.
Add to that a further T3 finish at the Sentry – also claimed by Rahm – and the American is in excellent form.
Homa is 18/1 for 10 places with PaddyPower.
If we had to plump for one player however, Cameron Young might be the man.
Yet to win on the Tour, Young was a feature on Sunday at Bay Hill this past weekend.
A runner-up at the Open and a T3 at Southern Hills last year, the Californian is poised.
Set to tee off at a price of 40/1 for 10 places with PaddyPower, Young is value that should not be sniffed at.
Corey Conners, meanwhile, remains a consistent performer having missed the cut just once in eight this term.
With a T12 at the Sony Open, the Canadian came T7 at Sawgrass in 2021 and is 60/1 for 8 places with bet365.
Finally, what of the newest PGA Tour winner, Kurt Kitayama?
Holding his nerve to two-putt to win the Red Cardigan, the 30-year-old had previous on the European tour.
Victorious in 2018 and 2019, Kitayama emerged from the wilderness last weekend.
His price however, should not be scorned and a 100/1 shot for 7 places with UniBet could be smart.