The Players. Martin Makes It His.

 

dragon logo darkTHE PLAYERS Championship

Martin Kaymer makes The Players Championship his at TPC Sawgrass.

Shot in the dark: Kaymer survives to win PLAYERS

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

 Martin survived a late mini wobble recording a double bogey on the 15th hole, after a 91-minute rain delay. He carded a par on the par 5, 16th and then sunk  clutch 28-1/2 foot par putt at the iconic 17th hole;

 “It was more than big, it was a good putt with a little bit of luck. Fortunately, it happened at the right hole. Made a couple of wrong decisions on 15.”

“There was a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations, and even though I was trying to talk about it in a way that it was only the first day, only the second day, but somewhere deep down you hope that you can bring it home.”

 

Martin finished his final round at -1 under par 71, and a tournament total of -13 under par, a one shot win over second placed Jim Furyk who had been sitting in the club-house at -12 under par. Jim had carded a magnificent last round of -6 under par 66 and was watching on TV as Martin wriggled out of danger, and had to acknowledge that putt ;

“That putt was incredible. I’ve struggled at this golf course, my results haven’t been nearly as good as I would have liked. I was on a roll coming in here and I wanted to continue it, but it’s fun to play well in front of friends and family.”

Third place belonged to Sergio Garcia, at -11 under par, following his final round -2 under par 70, he lamented his late silly mistakes;

“Just a shame, just a couple shots on the back nine. That’s what it came down to, and that’s what it usually comes down to. Unfortunately a little slip on the pine straw on 11, mis-hit it in the water, and then a bad shot on 14. We tried as hard as we could, but unfortunately we weren’t good enough.”

“You know, it’s still another good week, we keep putting ourselves in a situation to win, just came up a little bit short, but we’ve got to keep trying.”

Have to report on the Justin Rose situation, I wrote yesterday about silly officialdom, somebody must have agreed with me because Justin had his two docked strokes reinstated;

“I didn’t know that this new recall was in place. Overnight I read an article that explained the new rule and I kind of thought it applied to my case. I’m certainly surprised it’s overturned, very rarely is that ever the case. Never, ever the case.”

An hour before Justin teed off for his final round he was informed by Tour officials that the penalty was rescinded under a new decision dealing with high-definition rulings making him the first player to essentially begin a round -2 under par.

For once golf officials have used common sense to settle an issue. For me all decisions should be made from the evidence available to officials on the course, never someone calling in from the other side of the world.

Jordan Spieth did not fare so well again in a final round, but he will soon. He recorded a +2 over par last round 74 to finish it a tie for fourth place with Justin Rose.

 

The Players. Martin Caught By Jordan.

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Martin Kaymer has been caught at the top of The Players leaderboard by Jordan Spieth at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer (left) and Jordan Spieth will lead the chase at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday. (Kevin Cox/Getty Images)

Martin And Jordan / Getty Images

Jordan Spieth and Martin Kaymer will be in the final group for Sunday’s final round of  THE PLAYERS Championship, tied for the lead at -12 under par for the tournament, three shots clear of the field.

Jordan carded a third round -1 under par 71, and is still bogey free through 54 holes, the only man in the field to be bogey free for the tournament. Martin scored an even round 72,  with a bogey at the last hole dropping him into a tie with Jordan.

Both players found trouble at the par-4 18th off the tee, but Jordan recovered to roll in his par-saving putt from just inside 13 feet from off the fringe, while Martin missed his par putt from 9 feet.

Jordan, who tied for second place at last month’s Masters is pretty happy with his game right now, and even mentioned how Martin told him to have fun;

” I’m very excited about where my game’s at, it was a putt I didn’t necessarily expect to go in, putting through that fringe. “You want to hit it with the right speed and if it bounces, it bounces, if it rolls true, it rolls true. And, fortunately, that one rolled true. It was nice to see one go in and it meant a lot to me before I hit it, so that’s good news going into tomorrow.”

“ He was out there truly having fun, he came up to me after I missed the putt on 10 and we were walking down the fairway at 11, he’s like, ‘Just don’t worry about it, just have some fun. This is where you want to be,’ which was really cool for him to come up and say that at the time.”

Martin suffered at the hands of the hostile crowd, who even booed him and then cheered when he had made a mistake. Jordan spoke of the incident;

 “He handled it gracefully, just a class act, took his hat off, smiled.”

Martin is looking forward to the battle tomorrow;

“I look forward to tomorrow, Jordan is playing very good golf. At the end of the day, it comes down to if you really play with your heart and with a passion and really want to win, it comes down to the person who really, really wants it.”

Sergio Garcia and John Senden are tied in third place at -9 under par, Sergio with a -3 under par 69 and John -4 under par 68.

John has not given himself much of a chance tomorrow, saying;

“I believe that it’s up to those two guys to almost fight it out tomorrow.” 

Matt Jones, George McNeill and Gary Woodland are in the group at -8 under par, while. Lee Westwood, David Hearn and Francesco Molinari are at -7 under par. 

Justin Rose should have been on that number but after officials reviewed video of a ball moving at address at the 18th hole they generously awarded him a two shot penalty.

 An initial review of the incident in the scoring area, watched by Justin and Tour officials confirmed they saw no movement, but before he could sign his scorecard David Probyn, a European Tour official who was watching the third round from the United Kingdom, called PGA Tour officials to inform them he saw the ball move.

A third review on an ultra-magnified version of the tape revealed that the ball rocked by “a hair” Justin said.

Gentleman Justin took it well;

“It has to be the right result. Because if the ball moves, whether it moves an inch, if the ball moves a hair, the ball moved. I’m happy now, my conscience is clear, I’ll sleep better tonight, knowing that, eventually, the right decision was made.”

A very different decision was made earlier in the week when a payer brushed his ball with his putter while taking a practice swing, the ball moved, but the player was not penalized. You could see the ball move as it happened, it took space agency type equipment to see anything with Justin’s incident.

The Players. Martin Kaymer Maintains His Lead.

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Martin Kaymer maintained his lead at the top of the leaderboard at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer has hit 18 of 28 fairways through two rounds at THE PLAYERS Championship. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

 Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

Martin returned a second round score of -3 under par 69 on Friday to hold a one-stroke lead at THE PLAYERS Championship going into the weekend with a total of -12 under par. He even birdied the fearsome 17th par three island hole, and said everything is going nicely;

“Everything is coming together nicely,even though I shot 9-under par yesterday. If people want to talk negative about it, I then shot six shots worse. But you can always go in the negative. I see very positive things that I backed up that 9-under par with another decent round.”

Jordan Spieth charged after the leader, shooting a second round -6 under par 66, giving him his -11 under par total, just one shot off the lead. He struck a superb 6-iron from 184 yards on the par for 14th to within 3 feet, converting another birdie;

“It was a nice break to land and roll to pin-high, because it was a very tricky pin with quite a bit of slope around the hole.”

Someone had the temerity to ask Jordan if he got bored being in contention all the time, staying calm he replied;

“No, because I haven’t won one. You should probably have to win every time in order for it to get boring, but not even Tiger gets bored.”

 “I’d like to have a round like that the next two days, very stress‑free.”

Russell Henley is in third position, a -1 under par 71 second round leaving him on his own at -8 under par.

Of the six players I mentioned yesterday that would struggle to make the cut, three of them did, and three did not. Missing the cut were Webb Simpson, Louis Oosthuizen and Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson

Phil / Getty Images

Phil stated that he had gone soft;

“I don’t feel bad about the game, but mentally, I’m just really soft right now. I don’t know what to say, I don’t feel bad about the way I’m hitting it. I don’t feel like the misses are bad. I haven’t driven the ball this well ever, for how I feel anyway, but getting the ball to the hole, getting the shots close, getting the putts to go. I just haven’t been able to do it. So I feel like it’s more of a mental issue and I’ll go home and see if I can work on it.”

Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker both made the cut on the number, even par, with Jimmy Walker going one better and getting in at -1 under par. Rory McIlroy also made the cut on the number, even though he shot 42 on the front nine and appeared headed home early until making birdie on the 18th hole to salvage a 74 to make the cut.

Rory said he is struggling to get a score;

“I have struggled to grind, the last couple of weeks I’ve been able to do well. It’s not the position I want to be in, battling back to make the cut, but at least I’m in for the weekend.”

Adam needs to finish in the top 16 to have a chance to move past Tiger Woods to No. 1 in the world, and said he would be working hard to achieve that;

“Two rounds like today over the weekend could go a very long way. You never know what conditions will be like and what this course can do. Usually a low weekend around quality golf courses like this go a long, long way, so I’ll be grinding very hard.”

There is indeed a lot that could happen to alter the course of this tournament, not least having to play the dreaded 17th hole twice over the week-end.

The Players. Marvelous Martin Kaymer Leads

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THE PLAYERS Championship

Marvelous Martin Kaymer is leading The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

Martin opened his account at TPC Sawgrass with a record tying  -9 under par 63, which gave him a two shot lead in the tournament. He spoke about the soft conditions;

” You can be a little bit more aggressive because the greens are softer than the last few years, but it’s not an easy golf course. You have to hit a lot of fairways.  If you hit the fairways then you can go for some flags, but once you’re in the rough, especially with that grass and the Bermuda grass from the rough, it’s very difficult to judge the distances.  Then it’s a very tricky golf course.  But I hit a lot of fairways today, and therefore I could go for some flags.”

Russell Henley is in second place, two shots adrift after his first round -7  under par 65. He said playing more conservatively actually helped him with his round, along with feeling comfortable with the putter;

“Playing some of the holes a little less aggressive has helped me to stay in there and make some pars. I knew I was playing well and felt really comfortable on the greens. As long as I keep feeling comfortable with the putter, I think I can putt well on these greens.”

Third position belongs to Sang-moon Bae, a -6 under par round to kick off his tournament in fine style.  There some eight players all tied for fourth spot at -5 under par, including Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood.

Sergio won in Qatar earlier this year, and he has a good history at TPC Sawgrass;

You go through ups and downs in your life, in your career, and I’ve had really, really good times; really, really happy times. And then I’ve had times that were a little bit more down. I think it happens to all of us. You’ve got to try to enjoy those good times as much as possible and learn from the tough ones and hopefully make them as short as possible. I think at the end of the day, that’s all you can really do.”

After day 1 all the talk is really about those who will be struggling to make the cut. there some very familiar names in this bracket;  Phil Mickelson (75), Webb Simpson (75), Brandt Snedeker (75), Jimmy Walker (75), Louis Oosthuizen (77) and Adam Scott (77).

Phil got off to the slowest start of his PGA Tour career, and then had to make a 6-foot par putt on his last hole to card his 75. Phil does not know what is happening. he needed 33 putts on his round today. He did say he would come out tomorrow and play hard;

“I don’t know. I don’t know,I don’t feel like any parts of the game are bad, I just have a hard time seeing the ball go in the hole and getting it to go in the hole. It’s soft, there’s just a lot of birdies out there. Yeah, it’s a little disappointing and frustrating. I was playing well and hit a lot of greens, but it was frustrating because I was over par. I don’t know if it’s just the greens or what, but I’m not really sure what it is yet.”

“Come out and try to play as hard as I can and see how low I can shoot, but I’m not real worried about it, it’s just not quite clicking right now.”

Tiger is The PLAYERS Champion. Sergio Shoots Himself in the Foot.

Tiger Woods won The PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP at TPC Sawgrass on the Stadium Course, in the end by a canter.

Tiger Woods acknowledging his win / Getty Images

Tiger finished The PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP with a final round of -2 under 70, for a  tournament total of -13 under par. He said he was trying to get better each year;

“Each year I’m tying to get better, so far this year, I’m off to a pretty good start.”

Talking about his errant tee shot on 14, which found water;

“Just hit absolutely the worst shot I could possibly hit, but it was the only bad swing I made all day. I told myself I could still win the tournament.”

Sergio Garcia stood on the tee box at the 17th par 3 Island hole tied with Tiger at the top of the leaderboard. Two lazy tee shots later and a couple of putts and it was all over, a quad bogey deflating Sergio. His slump was so bad he double bogied the 18th as well, dropping six shots on the final two holes, crashing down to tie for eight place at -7 under par. Sergio’s tender temperament under pressure was in question again. Why did he take a pitching wedge to the 17th green, when just about everybody else used a nine iron. He came up short, and in a strange move decided to replay the shot from the tee, ignoring the easier option of walking over to the drop zone, he failed again, his tournament was all over.

Three players tied in second place, Kevin Streelman, Jeff Maggert and David Lingmerth, all at -11 under par. Kevin put together a very good last round of -5 under par, 67. Jeff was in the hunt for most of the day, he finished with -2 under par of 70. David Lingmerth was unable to improve on his third round total and finished the day with an even par round of 72.

Martin Laird, Henrik Stenson and Ryan Palmer were the next bunch of players, they completed the tournament at -10 under par.

Joining Sergio on -7 under par were; Ben Crane, Rory McIlroy, Brandt Snedeker, Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood and Casey Wittenberg.

Not sure if this tournament will be better remembered for Tiger’s second win at The Players, or Sergio’s monstrous  meltdown on the intimidating island green par three 17th hole.

The PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP. Bad Light Stops Play, In 3rd Round

After an earlier weather delay the third round of The PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP at TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, was halted because of poor light. The third round will resume at 7:10 a.m. ET Sunday with eight players still on the course.

Swede's Saturday

David Lingmerth / Lyons/Getty Images

At the close of play an unknown Swede, David Lingmerth was at the top of the leaderboard at -12 under par for the tournament. David still has one hole left to play to complete his memorable third round, at the moment he is -4 under par on the round.

Tied in second place are Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods, all at -10 under par. Henrik has completed 16 holes, and tomorrow faces the dreaded Island green of the par three 17th. Not a shot anyone would relish as their first strike of the day.

Sergio and Tiger, who were paired together for the third round have completed 14 holes, Sergio currently +1 over par on the day and Tiger is at even par. There has always been bad blood between the two players, and today was no different, they made sure they were miles apart, and there was no conversation between them at all.  During Sergio’s backswing on number two, Tigers fans let out a great roar. The commotion lead Sergio to hit a poor shot, this is how he reported the incident later;

” It was my shot to hit. He moved all the crowd that he needed to move and I waited for that. I want to say that he didn’t see that I was ready. But you do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit.”

Tiger remarked to the reporters;

” It’s not surprising that he was complaining about something.”

When told of Tiger’s comment Sergio responded;

” That’s fine. At least I’m true to myself.”

Both of these guys will be desperate to partner the leader tomorrow, another round of the pair of them together will not be conducive to good golf, from either of them, as today’s round has proved. If either of them want a decent chance to win tomorrow, they will have to be separated.

Tomorrow will be long day out on the course, lets hope that the weather does not intervene again, and we get a good result tomorrow. One thing is for sure, it will be fascinating, especially if the leaders are tightly grouped and facing the par 3 17th.

Leading the bunch on -9 under par is 49 year-old Jeff Maggert, he put together the days best round, a -6 under 66, and is quietly confident of playing this course well;

” I felt like this golf course would kind of fall in to my favor, the way I’ve been hitting the ball this year, and it was just a matter of trying to make a few putts. It’s funny, the older I get, some of the struggles that I’ve been through, I joke a little bit about that. I’m still very competitive on the inside and want to play well every week, but it’s just tough, just trying to keep it together and keep your health in good shape.”

 

The Players Championship. Sergio Surges, Castro Crashes.

Sergio Garcia surged to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of The PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP at TPC Sawgrass, while Roberto Castro, yesterdays first round hero crashed down the board.

Sergio Garcia is a past winner of The Players Championship, taking the crown in a playoff in 2008.

Sergio Garcia / Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Sergio shot a second round -7 under par 65, to surge to the top of the leaderboard with a tournament total of -11 under par.

Sergio, a past winner here, in 2008, is his own man, and fears no one, not even second placed Tiger;

“I don’t have to measure myself against anybody, I know what I want to try to do, and any given day I can shoot a round like this and any other day he can shoot a good round and beat me. Like we always say, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So there are going to be good days and not so good days, so just got to enjoy the good ones as much as possible. Fortunately for me, I’ve managed to play quite decent on this golf course, so any good thing that you can get in your head, it’s obviously positive and those kind of things always help. But it’s a different year. We’ll see if we can manage to do something similar.”

Tiger is just one shot adrift of the leader, at -11 under par, after his second round of -5 under par 67.

Tiger was pretty happy to be where he is;

I’m pretty pleased with where it’s at right now, I’ve just never been able to put it all together for this one particular week. But so far this year, I’m right there. Even though I haven’t played well in the past, I’ve still won here, actually, I’ve won here twice, technically. { Tiger was referring to the U.S. Amateur in 1994 }  I haven’t played my best here, but I’ve always felt that courses, even though it’s been a while I’ve won on them, I’ve still won on them, I know how to get around this golf course. This course, more than most, really tests every facet of your game. You have to drive the ball well. You have to hit your irons in the correct spots, and if you don’t hit your irons in the correct spots, you’re going to have some really funky up-and-downs. It’s trying to manage the ball in the correct spots, and I’ve done that the first two days.”

There are three players tied in third place, at -9 under par for the tournament; they are, Kevin Chappell, second round -6 under. Lee Westwood also with a -6 under,66, and Henrik Stenson, -5 under par second round.

Roberto Castro crashed down the leaderboard, struggling with a second round +6 over par,78, but he did make the cut.

Big name cut casualties include, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Ernie Els. Quite a star-studded list.

Tomorrow is moving day, who will move out of the reckoning ?