2014 Players Championship odds: Rory McIlroy gets favorite status with Tiger Woods out

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger's absence looms over the PGA Tour, but his Nike friend Rory McIlroy assumes the role of the favorite at its biggest event of the year.

There's a very good chance that Tiger Woods loses his spot as the No. 1 player in the world this week at the Players Championship. The defending champ would have been the favorite at TPC Sawgrass if not for the back surgery that will have him on the shelf for most of the season. Tiger's always the favorite, in everything he enters, because the oddsmakers know how much money rushes towards the singular superstar of the game.

But with Tiger still out and in jeopardy of losing his perch in the rankings, it's his Nike stablemate, Rory McIlroy, who will likely start the tournament as the favorite to win golf's fifth major. McIlroy began the Masters as a co-favorite with Adam Scott, a position he quickly relinquished to Scott after an underwhelming start at Augusta.

The Players Championship

There's a lot of discussion about the ascendant group of players 30 and younger, a super-talented set who's taking over the game as Tiger and Phil approach the sunset of their careers. Most of the time, all the names are grouped together and listed off to emphasize just how much young talent is on Tour right now. But there's one player who is clearly better than all the others and has separated himself, and that's McIlroy. There are a lot of marketable young players, but Rory, with two majors already in tow, has the most talent, most promise, and the best shot at becoming the dominant player of the next generation.

Now he just needs to start winning again. He's having a good season, back contending regularly after the dismal 2013 year. But he's got a pretty shaky track record on this Pete Dye course and has struggled to put four solid rounds together all year, especially up on the greens. His putting has let him down on several occasions, and he's working with Dave Stockton on tweaking his stroke to try and find something consistent and reliable. Between the PGA and Euro Tours, he should have at least one win, and probably two this year. A win would cement his status as the favorite at every upcoming major without Tiger, and with Tour struggling to get any momentum, it's time for the game's next superstar to come through.

Just behind Rory is Scott, who can actually take over that No. 1 spot after repeated failed attempts through the first quarter of the year. We haven't seen Scott since the Masters, and his form over the past 12 months suggests that he should be on or near the first page of the leaderboard throughout the weekend. It was at this venue where he first broke out, winning as a fresh-faced 23-year-old a decade ago. After that, we thought we'd see at least one major title from the Aussie well before he was 30, but he lost his game for a bit and also squandered chances when he had them at the majors. Now he's on the edge of becoming the top player in the world, and it will be shocking if he doesn't make a run at a second Players title.


Adam Scott/Photo credit: Rob Carr

Of the top eight guys favored by the oddsmakers, only Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson are Americans. There are 93 (of 144) players from the USA playing this week, but it's an event that draws the best in the world and clearly there's a lot of European power in Ponte Vedra. Masters champ Bubba Watson is a little farther down the board than expected, coming in at 28/1. Bubba said on Tuesday that this course does not suit his eye, and as a player who relies solely on shot shape and that eye, he's probably not a great option this week.

Here are the odds for this year's field, via Bovada:

Player Odds
Rory McIlroy 12/1
Adam Scott 14/1
Matt Kuchar 18/1
Sergio Garcia 20/1
Justin Rose 22/1
Luke Donald 22/1
Phil Mickelson 22/1
Henrik Stenson 25/1
Bubba Watson 28/1
Jim Furyk 28/1
Jordan Spieth 28/1
Lee Westwood 33/1
Zach Johnson 33/1
Dustin Johnson 40/1
Charl Schwartzel 50/1
Graham Delaet 50/1
J.B. Holmes 50/1
Jimmy Walker 50/1
Keegan Bradley 50/1
Rickie Fowler 50/1
Harris English 55/1
Brandt Snedeker 66/1
Graeme McDowell 66/1
Hunter Mahan 66/1
Ian Poulter 66/1
Jason Dufner 66/1
Ken Duke 66/1
Kevin Na 66/1
Martin Laird 66/1
Patrick Reed 66/1
Ryan Moore 66/1
Webb Simpson 66/1
Bill Haas 80/1
Hideki Matsuyama 80/1
Kevin Streelman 80/1
Louis Oosthuizen 80/1
Martin Kaymer 80/1
Ryan Palmer 80/1
Steve Stricker 80/1
Brendon De Jonge 100/1
Cameron Tringale 100/1
Charley Hoffman 100/1
Chris Kirk 100/1
Chris Stroud 100/1
Francesco Molinari 100/1
Fredrik Jacobson 100/1
Gary Woodland 100/1
Jamie Donaldson 100/1
John Senden 100/1
Jonas Blixt 100/1
K.J. Choi 100/1
Kenny Perry 100/1
Kevin Stadler 100/1
Marc Leishman 100/1
Matt Every 100/1
Nick Watney 100/1
Rory Sabbatini 100/1
Seung-yul Noh 100/1
Billy Horschel 125/1
Bo Van Pelt 125/1
Charles Howell III 125/1
Chesson Hadley 125/1
Daniel Summerhays 125/1
Jason Kokrak 125/1
Jonathan Byrd 125/1
Joost Luiten 125/1
Matt Jones 125/1
Pat Perez 125/1
Russell Henley 125/1
Russell Knox 125/1
Thomas Bjorn 125/1
Angel Cabrera 150/1
Ben Crane 150/1
Boo Weekley 150/1
Brian Harman 150/1
Brian Stuard 150/1
Carl Pettersson 150/1
Erik Compton 150/1
Ernie Els 150/1
Geoff Ogilvy 150/1
George Mcneill 150/1
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 150/1
Jeff Overton 150/1
Jerry Kelly 150/1
John Huh 150/1
Kevin Chappell 150/1
Martin Flores 150/1
Michael Thompson 150/1
Retief Goosen 150/1
Robert Garrigus 150/1
Roberto Castro 150/1
Ryo Ishikawa 150/1
Stewart Cink 150/1
Will Mackenzie 150/1
Aaron Baddeley 200/1
Brendan Steele 200/1
Bryce Molder 200/1
David Hearn 200/1
David Lingmerth 200/1
Jason Bohn 200/1
John Merrick 200/1
Kyle Stanley 200/1
Luke Guthrie 200/1
Morgan Hoffman 200/1
Nicholas Thompson 200/1
Richard Lee 200/1
Sang-Moon Bae 200/1
Scott Brown 200/1
Scott Langley 200/1
Shawn Stefani 200/1
Stephen Gallacher 200/1
Thongchai Jaidee 200/1
Tim Clark 200/1
William Mcgirt 200/1
Andres Romero 250/1
Brian Davis 250/1
Brian Gay 250/1
Camilo Villegas 250/1
Greg Chalmers 250/1
Jeff Maggert 250/1
John Rollins 250/1
Justin Hicks 250/1
Lucas Glover 250/1
Mark Wilson 250/1
Michael Putnam 250/1
Scott Stallings 250/1
Steven Bowditch 250/1
Stuart Appleby 250/1
Yong-Eun Yang 250/1
Charlie Wi 300/1
D.A. Points 300/1
James Driscoll 300/1
James Hahn 300/1
Josh Teater 300/1
Justin Leonard 300/1
Derek Ernst 350/1
Ted Potter Jr. 350/1
Charlie Beljan 400/1
John Peterson 400/1
Briny Baird 500/1
D.H. Lee 500/1
Darren Clarke 500/1
J.J. Henry 500/1
Johnson Wagner 500/1
Woody Austin 500/1

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