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Pamela’s Players Championship Picks

Pamela's Players Championship Picks

A bad day of golf beats any good day at the office. Truer words have never been spoken. But if you can’t sneak out of the office for a round, then the next best thing is to have golf playing in the background to sweat the action on a golf bet or two.

I’ve been playing golf my entire life, but I don’t watch it. At least I didn’t watch it until last weekend when I took a prop for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It didn’t hit but I’ve never watched so much golf in my life.

I’d count that as a success because with one prop, I was glued to the TV. I even followed the PGA Twitter account, and turned on notifications just in case I missed any of the action.

So here I am back again, considering some options for The Players Championship.

Prop: Highest Score Recorded on the 17th Hole

Odds: UNDER 7.5 -140, OVER 7.5 +110

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most difficult and iconic holes in golf. Known as the “Island Green,” the par 3 is a 132-yard hole. The entire putting surface and the little bit of rough around it is surrounded by water.

What do players think of it?

“Every course needs a hole that puckers your rear end,” Johnny Miller so gracefully put it back in 1984.

The prop I took last week: that a hole-in-one would be made. I did my homework. I saw that quite a few were made in years past, including two in 2019, so I thought it was a fun option to take. My mistake: I did not check the weather. Rule No. 1 in sports betting, check the weather if it’s an outdoor sport. It’s one of the first things I look at in football and it slipped my mind here. Winds were terrible with gusts up to 35 mph and made my prop play dead before it ever started. Wind all four days never gave it a chance.

Not this time. It was the very first thing I took note of. Weather this weekend at The Players Championship will be partly cloudy, low 70s, humidity will stay consistent at 70-77%, only 10% chance of rain, with winds steady at 8-10 mph and gusts up to 13 mph. Much more manageable for players.

Last year, only three players out of a 144-player field scored a 7 on Hole 17. Those players were Paul Casey, Sam Ryder and Tiger Woods.

In the first round, Casey hit two balls into the water off his tee shot. Woods birdied in the opening round and ran into trouble on Day 2. His tee shot rolled over the back of the green into the water. Instead of reteeing, he hit from the drop zone, the ball took a bounce and into the water it went.

But on Day 3, redemption. Tiger nearly aced his 128-yard tee shot, with the ball landing about a foot from the hole to set up a tap-in birdie.

With the weather looking good, I’ll look to the UNDER on 7.5 shots.

Prop: How Many Balls Will Settle in the Water on 17?

Odds: OVER 43.5 -120, UNDER +100

In 2019, during the fourth round alone, a total of 17 balls were hit into the water on Hole 17, the most of the tournament. Referencing back, wind gusts picked up to about 25 mph. This week, winds should top out at about 13 mph.

Throughout the four-day event in 2019, a total of 45 balls were hit into the water on No. 17. Fourteen balls went into the water on Day 1 and 17 on Day 4. Which makes sense – on Day 1, everyone is getting acclimated and the jitters kick in, followed up with stronger winds to close the tournament.

How about the previous years? The PGA Tour has kept record. Here are the numbers from the last 11 years.

2019: 45

2018: 53

2017: 69

2016: 36

2015: 45

2014: 28

2013: 44

2012: 39

2011: 40

2010: 29

2009: 32

Since 2009, the number of balls hit into the water has surpassed the 43.5 line four times, including the last three years. Thanks to Google and fantasy golf sites, I was able to learn that aside from the Round 4 wind in 2019, 2018 and 2017 had similar weather as predicted for this year’s event – steady and up to 13 mph gusts.

I think this line is too close to call but if I had to go with one, I’d take the UNDER. Knowing that wind was a factor last year as 17 balls were hit into the water in the fourth round, and knowing that only eight and six were hit in Round 2 and Round 3, I think the UNDER has a shot here.

Prop: Will There Be a Hole-in-One at The Players Championship?

Odds: YES -130, NO +110

Looking specifically at the Island Green, last year Ryan Moore hit a hole-in-one in the opening round, becoming the ninth player in history to ace the 17th hole at The Players Championship.

Previously, Sergio Garcia sank one at No. 17 in 2017, Will Wilcox in 2016, and before then – not since 2002.

If there is a hole-in-one, it’s really unlikely to come from Hole 17. The odds for “Will there be a hole-in-one on the 17th hole?” are set at -400 for No and +260 for Yes.

All in all, TPC Sawgrass during The Players Championship has seen a total of 28 holes-in-one, including the one made at No. 17 last year by Moore. However, Moore was only one of three players to ace in last year’s event. Sungjae Im aced in Round 2 on Hole No. 13, which incredibly was his second hole-in-one that week. What a sicko.

Seamus Power aced in Round 3 on Hole No. 3.

Prior to 2019, there were no holes-in-one in 2018, and only Garcia’s No. 17 ace in 2017. Here’s a look at the total number of holes-in-one by year. Only seven of the 28 total have come in the last 10 years.

2019: 3

2018: 0

2017: 1

2016: 1

2015: 0

2014: 0

2013: 2

2012: 0

2011: 0

2010: 0

Rooting against a hole-in-one is like rooting for a low-scoring defensive football game. Lame. Give me the points! But the odds of a tour professional making a hole-in-one are 2,500 to 1. I’ll risk the NO at plus money.

Other props you can bet on:

- The player to record a hole-in-one on the 17th

- Will (various players named) hit their tee shot in the water on 17?

- Will a seagull pick up a ball off the 17th green? (You know I’ll be watching just to see if this one single prop hits)

Let me remind you that I’m making these light bets, fun bets, pizza bets as a way to get me interested in watching golf more. Perhaps I’ll one day watch out of pure entertainment but until I get to that point, I’ll need a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to keep me engaged for four rounds of televised golf.