The Players Championship: Expert Picks

A general view of the 17th green during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship at the Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 14, 2016 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Experts
Picks Overview
  Dave Shedloski Matt Abbatacola Kyle Porter Brandon Tierney
The Players Championship
May 11-14, 2017
Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Charley Hoffman Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Na Dustin Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Sergio Garcia Dustin Johnson, Kevin Chappell, Cameron Smith
Picks Analysis
The Players Championship
May 11-14, 2017
Dave Shedloski CBS Local Sports Golf Digest
Dave Shedloski, CBS Local Sports | Golf Digest
Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Charley Hoffman
This is the next mountain for the Ulsterman Rory McIlroy to climb, and his ball striking should be the discipline that carries him to the "fifth major," even if he can't win the fourth (the Masters). He showed last fall what he can do on tough courses in winning the FedExCup title, and you have to think that he is fully healthy and also rather in a happy state after recent nuptials. Jason Day, the former No. 1, has had an awful year so far, both on and off the course. But he is the defending champion, and you have to think that his focus will return and that he'll be the force he has been the past few seasons. TPC Sawgrass is a great spot to kickstart the second half of the season. Charley Hoffman contended at the Masters and looked strong in team play at the Zurich Classic. At 40, Hoffman seems to have found another gear. But the question is: can it translate into his fifth PGA Tour win, and, obviously, the biggest of his career? I certainly wouldn't count him out given his current form.
Matt Abbatacola, 670 The Score | CBS Chicago
Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Na
Dustin Johnson is the best player in the world and leads the Tour in just about every important category. He's also hungry after missing the Masters. Rory McIlroy has three straight top-10 finishes and has finished T12 or better in the last three Players. He's always a guy to watch, and how he starts on day one will determine how far he runs. Kevin Na is a longshot to win, but that's good by me. Na does have a top-six finish at the Players in the last two years.
Kyle Porter CBS Sports Golf Writer
Kyle Porter, CBS Sports
Dustin Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Sergio Garcia
The list of Players winners is a man-sized Rolodex, and Dustin Johnson would fit quite nicely on it. Also, he’s been far and away the best player on the planet in 2017. Kevin Kisner is coming off a fun showing at the Zurich Classic in which he nearly dragged his team to victory. Kisner is going to have another awesome week here. He lost to Rickie Fowler in a playoff two years ago at Sawgrass. Sergio Garcia has so much history here and is coming in off that Masters win. Garcia won this tournament in 2008, lost to Tiger Woods in 2013 and lost in a playoff in 2015. He’s been immense here and might have been freed up by his green jacket to really let loose.
Brandon Tierney, Tiki and Tierney Show, CBS Sports Radio
Brandon Tierney, CBS Sports Radio
Dustin Johnson, Kevin Chappell, Cameron Smith
As long as Dustin Johnson’s back is healthy, it's wise to roll with DJ. And based on his performance at the Wells Fargo Championship, not only is he healthy, but he's maintained his razor-sharp form that's earned top-six finishes in 7/8 starts to begin the '17 season. Long, confident, healthy... if he remains dialed in with his wedges, everyone in the field is chasing him. Think of it this way: he’s beginning to enter LeBron territory. Fresh in the Kevin Chappell memory jar is his terrific showing at last year’s tournament, where he placed four shots behind winner Jason Day. He's dialed in right now, and has been shooting up leaderboards the past few weeks, netting a pair of top 10s. Plenty of game, locked in at the right time... not afraid to compete. Expect Chappell to be heard from all week. Cameron Smith joined Jason Day and Adam Scott as the only Australians during the past 30 years to win a US PGA Tour event before turning 24. This young man possesses every tool in the bag, and after winning the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, he scratched off the one, elusive category you can't force: learning how to perform under duress and winning in the process. Just because you don't know much about him, doesn't mean he's not ready to bust out and grab a seat at the big boy's table. It’s coming. 

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