The 2022 PLAYERS Championship Power Rankings

Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa PLAYERS Championship Power Rankings
Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa headline our PLAYERS Championship Power Rankings. (Photo by Harry How via Getty Images)

Once absolutely unthinkable, this week’s The PLAYERS Championship, the PGA Tour’s flagship event, has a $20 million purse with the champion being awarded a whopping $3.6 million.

It probably does not need to be said, but this field is elite. Just two players in the top 50 of the world rankings are absent, as the best of the best take on TPC Sawgrass, one of the most famous courses on the planet.

Who is best equipped to take the much-coveted title? The following is our top 15, and it felt nearly impossible to limit it to just that:


15. Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Billy Horschel plays a shot on the 10th hole during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Jamie Squire via Getty Images)

Now up to No. 15 in the world rankings, Horschel tends to be a streaky player, which feels especially notable to mention now, given that he has posted top-16 finishes in his last four events, including a T2 at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational where he held a share of the 54-hole lead… A native Floridian, it is surprising that his best finish in this event is just a T13 seven years ago, but he is definitely a player to ride when he is feeling it… Horschel has the Tour’s ninth-ranked scoring average and has been excellent in the short game.

Odds: 50-1
World Rank: 15th
Field Rank: 14th
Last Six: 2, 16, 6, 11, 36, 23
Best at Sawgrass: 13th (2015)


14. Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson
Webb Simpson celebrates on the 18th green after winning THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 36-year-old made the 2018 PLAYERS a snoozefest when his second-round 63 led to a four-stroke victory that was not as close as it sounds. Strangely, that was the only time Webb contended at TPC Sawgrass… In his history at this event, he has also added a T15, and two T16s, all since 2013, but also has five missed cuts and two other finishes in the 60s… Last year, he shot 71-75 and had the weekend off. He should be well-rested though, given that he has made just one start this calendar year, which was two months ago at the Sony Open.

Odds: 80-1
World Rank: 33rd
Field Rank: 31st
Last Six: 61, 17, 8, 14, MC, 30
Best at Sawgrass: 1st (2018)


13. Joaquin Niemann

Joaquin Niemann TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Joaquin Niemann lines up a putt on the 14th green during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on Mar 12, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)

A phenomenal shotmaker, Niemann fits the profile of a PLAYERS Champion, and is just three weeks removed from an incredible 63-63 at The Genesis Invitational… Alongside that win, in his past six starts, he’s also added a T5 and a T6, but also three missed cuts. Which version of the young Chilean shows up this week? His past history at TPC Sawgrass does not give many clues; he has played just once, finishing T29 last year… He would love to become the first South American to triumph in this iconic event.

Odds: 50-1
World Rank: 22nd
Field Rank: 20th
Last Six: MC, 1, 8, 6, MC, MC
Best at Sawgrass: 29th (2021, Debut)


12. Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Dustin Johnson plays his shot from the 3rd tee during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass Stadium on Mar 11, 2021, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Ben Jared / PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Surprisingly down to ninth in the world rankings, DJ has been underwhelming in limited starts this season, going T45-T25-CUT in three outings… Looking for his first victory since that five-stroke romp at The Masters in November of 2020, the 24-time Tour winner arrives at TPC Sawgrass, really only getting in the thick of the leadership mix once in 12 starts, finishing T5 in the 2019 edition. Still, he’s Dustin Johnson and him getting back to his better self feels inevitable… His results have steadily improved here over the years.

Odds: 33-1
World Rank: 9th
Field Rank: 9th
Last Six: MC, 8, 25, 45, 8, 6
Best at Sawgrass: 5th (2019)


11. Daniel Berger

Daniel Berger
Daniel Berger looks on during a practice round prior to THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course on Mar 10, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Berger’s implosion two weeks ago at the Honda Classic was outright shocking, as he lost his entire five-stroke 54-hole lead on Sunday’s front nine, eventually finishing solo-fourth. It would be fair to question his mentality after such a disappointment, but Berger has been consistently excellent for the past 12-plus months and has been phenomenal tee-to-green… Berger has a pair of T9s in his PLAYERS history, with the most recent coming a year ago when he closed with a 5-under 67… He is currently fourth on Tour in driving accuracy and 15th in greens in regulation.

Odds: 30-1
World Rank: 20th
Field Rank: 18th
Last Six: 4, MC, 20, 5, 7, 8
Best at Sawgrass: 9th (2021, 2016)


10. Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Cameron Smith reacts on the 17th hole during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on Mar 13, 2021 at TPC Sawgrass Stadium in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by David Rosenblum / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The best of the young Aussie’s 2022 season has been scary good. He reached a Tour-record 33-under-par at the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the beginning of March, and worldwide has eight top-20s in his last 11 starts… Smith boasts the tour’s second-best scoring average, also ranks second in birdie average, and is fifth in both greens in regulation and strokes gained: total… It took him a bit to get his footing at TPC Sawgrass, but he had his best showing a year ago, with a round 3 65 leading to a T17… Perhaps the most encouraging part of his game has been that he appears to be over his habit of posting one big number each week.

Odds: 33-1
World Rank: 10th
Field Rank: 10th
Last Six: 33, 4, MC, 1, 4, 15
Best at Sawgrass: 17th (2021)


9. Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele hits a shot on the 18th hole during day three of the THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Schauffele has a strange history in this event, finishing runner-up in 2018, but missing the cut in both of his attempts since… The PLAYERS has the kind of elite field where Schauffele typically thrives, and it’s difficult to see him struggling at any event three straight times… The Olympic Gold medalist has not really looked himself since Tokyo, but he appears to be heating up again, finishing T13 in his latest start at The Genesis Invitational after a T3 showing at the WM Phoenix Open the week prior… Statistically, he has been above average all around, even if the actual results have not been super impressive.

Odds: 30-1
World Rank: 7th
Field Rank: 7th
Last Six: 13, 3, 18, 34, 12, 12
Best at Sawgrass: 2nd (2018)


8. Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Patrick Cantlay with his caddie on the 4th hole during the first round of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass Stadium on Mar 14, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)

The world No. 4 is coming off a four-win season that saw him win the FedExCup and be named Tour Player of the Year, with three of those wins coming since last June… In the new season, Cantlay has slowed down little with four top-10s in five starts, most notably a playoff loss to Scottie Scheffler at last month’s WM Phoenix Open… A T33 at the Genesis was not the caliber we have seen from him as of late, and even there he played well on the weekend… Cantlay has missed the cut badly in his last two attempts here, but preceded those with a pair of top-25s and has shown consistently that he is a threat every week.

Odds: 20-1
World Rank: 4th
Field Rank: 4th
Last Six: 33, 2, 4, 9, 4, 4
Best at Sawgrass: 22nd (2017)


7. Viktor Hovland

Viktor Hovland TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Viktor Hovland lines up a putt on the 17th green during the first round of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass Stadium on Mar 12, 2020 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann via Getty Images)

The 24-year-old world No. 3 very nearly arrived at TPC Sawgrass off a victory, losing a late co-lead on the 71st hole of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, before settling for runner-up to Scottie Scheffler. It was Hovland’s second consecutive top-5 finish, having placed T4 at last month’s Genesis Invitational, and his third of the season, having won November’s World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba… Hovland missed the cut in PLAYERS debut a year ago. We expect much better this time around.

Odds: 22-1
World Rank: 3rd
Field Rank: 3rd
Last Six: 2, 4, MC, 1, 4, 30
Best at Sawgrass: MC (2021, Debut)


6. Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Hideki Matsuyama during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass Stadium on May 12, 2017, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Chris Condon / PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

The reigning Masters champion has to feel like he had a PLAYERS title stolen from him. He opened the ill-fated 2020 edition with a field-low 9-under 63. Hours later, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 setting off a chain reaction that led to the cancellation of every sporting event for the next three months… This has been a consistently strong event for Matsuyama, who has finished T22 or better in five of his seven starts, with two top-10s… The world No. 11 has two victories in 10 starts this season, and is currently second in the FedExCup standings… His putting is a little hit-or-miss, but that’s nothing unusual for him.

Odds: 28-1
World Rank: 11th
Field Rank: 11th
Last Six: 20, 39, 8, 30, 1, 13
Best at Sawgrass: 7th (2016)


5. Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy Wins The PLAYERS Championship
Rory McIlroy and caddie Harry Diamond celebrate after finishing on the 18th green during the final round of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass on Mar 17, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The four-time major champion made headlines at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational when he referred to the brutal weekend course conditions as “crazy golf”. It makes sense that Rory would be frustrated, given that he opened the week at Bay Hill with a 7-under 65 to take the first round lead, only for a 76-76 weekend dropped him to a disappointing T13… McIlroy has been the epitome of “boom or bust” at THE PLAYERS, winning the 2019 edition and once finishing in the top 12 four years in a row, but also has five missed cuts in 11 attempts. The most recent of those missed cuts came a year ago when he followed a ghastly round 1 79 with a second-round 75 that saw him miss the cut by a mile… The world No. 6 is riding a streak of eight straight starts worldwide with results in the top 15, highlighted by a win at October’s THE CJ CUP @ Summit.

Odds: 22-1
World Rank: 6th
Field Rank: 6th
Last Six: 13, 10, 3, 12, 18, 6
Best at Sawgrass: 1st (2019)


4. Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Jon Rahm during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass Stadium on Mar 14, 2021, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Ben Jared / PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

It says a great deal about the world No. 1 that he has six straight Tour finishes of T21 or better, and it still feels like he has been a mild disappointment lately… It has been two months since was in the thick of a tournament from beginning to end, but Rahm still finds himself leading the Tour in strokes gained: off-the-tee, greens in regulation, and strokes gained: tee-to-green. That is the kind of dynamic shotmaking that is typically seen in a PLAYERS Champion… A victory would make Rahm the second Spaniard to land in the Sawgrass winner’s circle, with the first being Sergio Garcia’s playoff triumph in 2008… Rahm has improved his finish in all four of his attempts in this event, culminating with a T9 last year where a third-round 67 had him just four off Lee Westwood’s 54-hole lead.

Odds: 12-1
World Rank: 1st
Field Rank: 1st
Last Six: 17, 21, 10, 3, 14, 2
Best at Sawgrass: 9th (2021)


3. Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler Wins 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill GC
Scottie Scheffler hits a tee shot on the 11th hole during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill GC on Mar 6, 2022 in Orlando, Fla. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox via Getty Images)

Looking to ride a hot player? They don’t get any hotter than the 25-year-old Ryder Cup hero Scheffler. He finally broke through for his first Tour win three weeks ago at the WM Phoenix Open. He needed just two more starts to do it again, using a gritty Sunday in brutal course conditions to the title at last weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. Sandwiched in between those two victories is a T7 against an elite field at the Genesis Invitational, where he shot a 66 in round 1 and a 65 in round 3… The FedExCup points leader is now a career-high No. 5 in the world rankings, and ranks inside the top 20 in four of six strokes gained: statistics (4th in strokes gained: total)… If there is anything resembling downside it’s that he has only played two rounds at TPC Sawgrass, missing the cut in his debut a year ago. We have a difficult time believing that means much of anything in Scheffler’s case.

Odds: 28-1
World Rank: 5th
Field Rank: 5th
Last Six: 1, 7, 1, 20, 25, 2
Best at Sawgrass: MC (2021, Debut)


2. Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas Wins The PLAYERS Championship
Justin Thomas plays a shot on the 16th hole during the final round of The PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on Mar 14, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

If Thomas is successful in his championship defense this week, he would join a list with absolutely no one else who has taken THE PLAYERS in back-to-back years. He would also be the first to win a second PLAYERS since Tiger back in 2013… Do things line up well for the world No. 8 to contend? On one hand, you could point to the fact that Thomas’ last victory was this event 12 months ago, which for him feels like an eternity. However, after a lengthy funk following that win, Thomas is nearly back to his best. In the 2022 season, he has finished in the top 20 in all six of his starts, including a solo-third at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, a T5 at the WM Phoenix Open, and a T6 in his most recent start, two weeks ago at the Genesis Invitational… In addition to his win last year, the current Tour leader in birdie average also finished T11 in 2018 and T3 in 2016, the latter coming in spite of a third-round 75… This is not the week to fade him.

Odds: 14-1
World Rank: 8th
Field Rank: 8th
Last Six: 6, 8, 20, 5, 5, 3
Best at Sawgrass: 1st (2021)


1. Collin Morikawa

Collin Morikawa TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS Championship
Collin Morikawa on the 17th green as Dustin Johnson looks on during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass Stadium on Mar 12, 2021, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Stan Badz / PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Nobody in this field encompasses the profile of a future PLAYERS Champion than Morikawa, a 25-year-old wunderkind that has five times the Tour victories (5) and twice as many major championship victories (2) as he does PLAYERS starts (1)… The reigning Championship Golfer of the Year has placed inside the top seven in all four of his starts this season, and has been unreal statistically, leading the Tour in scoring average, and placing inside the top 8 in five of the six strokes gained: categories… You would think that one where he isn’t top 8 would be putting, per his reputation, but he is currently 4th there… When Morikawa makes putts, it’s not really even fair for the rest of the Tour… We think the world No. 2 takes his first PLAYERS title this week and reaches world No. 1 for the first time.

Odds: 14-1
World Rank: 2nd
Field Rank: 2nd
Last Six: 2, 18, 62, 5, 5, 1
Best at Sawgrass: 41st (2021, Debut)


Next Five: Will Zalatoris, Shane Lowry, Sam Burns, Sungjae Im, Max Homa


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