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The Players Championship 2016 odds: Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth favored at Sawgrass

The favorite at TPC Sawgrass this year is someone who has historically not played well there and does not enjoy the course.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In what was an incredible year for golf, the most dramatic tournament of 2015 was probably The Players Championship. History was made elsewhere with Jordan Spieth and others, but Rickie Fowler's amazing charge late on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass was as dramatic as it gets. Whatever you think of The Players, it's place in the game as the "fifth major," and TPC Sawgrass itself, this was the bonkers close we don't get enough of and could really use again this week.

The Tour has been on a bit of a cold streak since the Masters, so the biggest event in May needs to deliver something. We may never get the kind of Fowler show we saw last year, but we need ... something. A few big names in the hunt on Sunday. A late surge from a superstar. Spieth going low in his first start since that ignominious Sunday at Augusta. This is going to be a wild summer, starting now. The Olympics have compressed the schedule and added another cool event worth watching. And then this 2016 sprint will end with the Ryder Cup, the most fun event in the game. But we need to be shocked back to life after a string of sleepy tournaments, and The Players is the place for it to happen.

Rory McIlroy, who, to say the least, does not love this TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, starts the week as the 8/1 favorite to win his first Players. McIlroy is coming off a final-round 66 at the Wells Fargo Championship, but again, that was on a Quail Hollow track that he's owned in his short career. His work at TPC Sawgrass is much different. He's never really contended at The Players, and this is definitely one of the "hate" courses in his self-admitted "love-hate relationship" with Pete Dye designs. At one point, he even passed on the event entirely back in 2011 -- a slap in the face to the PGA Tour and one of the deepest fields and the richest purse of the season.

McIlroy, however, is trying to figure out new ways to attack TPC Sawgrass and his results have improved in recent years. He admitted on Sunday at Quail Hollow that he does not enjoy the advantage over the field here that he does at most other events -- his distance off the tee. It's hard to just bomb away here and not get penalized for those that go slightly wayward. His driving advantage is mitigated and he needs to rely more on wedge game and putting, which are often the weak spots of what many consider to be the most talented player in golf. Earlier in his career he refused to admit this and change strategies, and he continued to pay for it at Sawgrass. Now he's accepted or resigned to a more tempered and conservative strategy that can keep him in contention.

Even with that sketchy history and his admitted distaste for the layout, the oddsmakers are still making him the favorite. Some places have him as a co-favorite with Jordan Spieth, but Jeff Sherman of the Las Vegas SuperBook has Rory as the slight favorite. That may change by the time the first tee ball is struck on Thursday morning. The third member of the "Big Three," Jason Day, is right there with Spieth at 10/1. This is a full field event that can produce a random winner thanks to all the big numbers out there taking some of the superstar talents out of play. Here are your odds to win this year's Players (via Sherman and

Player Odds to Win
Rory McIlroy 8/1
Jordan Spieth 10/1
Jason Day 10/1
Rickie Fowler 15/1
Justin Rose 20/1
Dustin Johnson 25/1
Adam Scott 25/1
Sergio Garcia 25/1
Henrik Stenson 25/1
Hideki Matsuyama 25/1
Bubba Watson 30/1
Phil Mickelson 30/1
Branden Grace 30/1
Danny Willett 40/1
Louis Oosthuizen 50/1
Patrick Reed 50/1
Matt Kuchar 50/1
Zach Johnson 50/1
Billy Horschel 50/1
Brooks Koepka 60/1
Paul Casey 60/1
Brandt Snedeker 60/1
J.B. Holmes 60/1
Daniel Berger 60/1
Chris Kirk 60/1
Charley Hoffman 60/1
Kevin Na 60/1
Jimmy Walker 80/1
Justin Thomas 80/1
Kevin Kisner 80/1
Russell Knox 80/1
Bill Haas 80/1
Marc Leishman 80/1
David Lingmerth 80/1
Kevin Chappell 80/1
Martin Kaymer 80/1
Byeong Hun An 80/1
Danny Lee 100/1
Luke Donald 100/1
Jim Furyk 100/1
Jason Dufner 100/1
Rafael Cabrera Bello 100/1
Jamie Lovemark 100/1
Gary Woodland 100/1
Russell Henley 100/1
Ryan Moore 125/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 125/1
Tony Finau 125/1
Graeme McDowell 150/1
Field (all others) 7/2

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