The Players. Fabulous Fowler Wins

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Rickie Fowler picked up The Players trophy, winning a three hole aggregate score play-off, after a fabulous -6 under par for his last six holes in regulation, and going birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie over the last four holes.

THE PLAYERS Championship LogoA real put down to the people who earlier in the week voted him to be the worst under achiever in golf. Go Rickie.

The Players

Rickie Fowler / Getty Images

Rickie beat Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner in the play-off after they had all finished The Players tournament at -12 under par.

A final round -5 under par 67, which equaled the low round of the day saw Rickie surge to the top of the leaderboard. The guys following knew what score had been posted in the clubhouse, and responded well, at one time towards the end there were five players tied at -11 under par.

Rickie was delighted with his very popular win;

“It’s amazing, we obviously look at this tournament as one of the biggest that we play up against the Majors.”

 “I was out of the tournament after 12 holes. The last four holes, I said, ‘Let’s try and birdie the last four,’ so I one-upped myself.”

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

“This is a special week, everyone looks forward to it and I was just happy that I had a chance after my finish this afternoon to get into the play-off and to be here on 17 and get it done.”

“I played well last week (in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play) and ended up losing on Saturday in the last 16. I felt like my game was where I wanted it.”

“Unfortunately I did not play as well as I wanted to on Saturday here but we finished it off strong and proved to myself we’re back where I should be.”

Sergio commented on the loud heckling he came in for during the day, some of it obnoxious;

“It was great for the most part, obviously, some guys there that don’t deserve to be here watching golf, but that’s what it is.”

“It was probably about three or four times on every hole since the 10th hole, they shouted at the wrong time on top of the ball, so I was able to back away.”

“I putted quite good, but for the rest of the week, I gave away a lot of shots and still almost won this tournament.”

“Overall, it was another good week here at The Players so I can’t be disappointed.”

Kevin had a chance to win the tournament in regular play, but missed a ten foot birdie putt at the 18th. Ben Martin and Bill Haas were the two players who had a chance to make the play-off, they finished T4 at -11 under par.

Rory McIlroy finished T8, at -8 under par, and said he simply could not putt;

“I was obviously looking to go out there today and shoot something in the mid-60s, and that would have given me a chance.”

“I feel like I again gave myself enough opportunities out there to make some putts, and I just couldn’t.”

“The putter really let me down this week. Right from the first day I couldn’t come to terms with the greens and that was the story of the week.”

The Players. Captain Kirk Beamed to the Top

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Captain Chris Kirk has beamed himself to the top of The Players leaderboard at TPC Sawgrass.

The Players

Chris Kirk / Getty Images

Chris had a nice third round of -4 under par 68 to take possession of the top spot on The Players leaderboard with a -10 under par tournament total.

Chris said you can never feel comfortable on this course;

“I had a chance to sort of lose it a little bit today, I didn’t let it bother me, and thankfully I was able to birdie the next three to pull out a great round.”

“It’s not like you can ever get comfortable. If you have a six-shot lead at the turn, you’re not going to be comfortable playing that back nine just because of the way the back nine is.”

“You just put your head down and go get it.”

There are three players tied in second place,  Kevin Kisner, Ben Martin and Bill Haas, have all completed three rounds with a -9 under par total, just one shot off the lead.

Chris Kirk and Kevin Kisner, the two Georgia alums will be paired together in the THE PLAYERS Championship’s final group on Sunday.

Kevin is looking forward to the match-up with his old team-mate Chris;

“We’ve probably played 200 or 300 rounds of golf together, between qualifying and college tournaments.”

“We’ll have a lot of fun. Hopefully it will just be like an old qualifying round. We’ll go out and see who can make the most birdies and add it up at the end.”

“Two 31s in a row here, back nine yesterday, front nine today, which is pretty cool.”

“You know, the front, I probably missed three putts inside 15 feet, so it could have been stupid.”

Rory thinks a lot of players still have a chance to win on Sunday, he is at -6 under par, and could post a good number early tomorrow;

 “It seems like half of the Tour have a chance to win this thing.”

“I think a lot of holes on the front nine are very straight away, where there’s a lot of dog-legs on the back nine and it sort of, you can visualize shots better.”

 “I feel on the front nine, like even holes like 2 it’s, obviously you need to hit a draw there, but even 4 and 5 and 6 and 7, they’re all like pretty straight holes and I sort of get up there and I’ve got about six shots in my head that I can hit.”

“I just need to try and pick one of them and commit to them and sometimes, of the six shots, I don’t hit any of them.”

Tiger Woods faded out of contention, a +3 over par 75 was the best he could do, and he left the course without speaking to reporters.


The Players. Day 2. Two Tied at the Top

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There are two players tied at the top of The Players, Jerry Kelly and Kevin Na both had good rounds today, while some big names failed to make the cut.

The Players

Kevin Na / Getty Images

Kevin and Jerry hold a two shot lead at -8 under par for 36 holes at The Players at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

Jerry with a magnificent -7 under par 65 against Kevin’s more modest -3 under par 69 to both get to -8 under par for the tournament.

Kevin has overcome a terrible bout of “The Yips” which at times prevented him from taking the club back;

“I had the yips, that’s what it was.”

“A lot of the guys when you have that, they fall off the planet.”

“They play poorly and nobody really sees and hears about it. But the weird case was, I was playing some of my best golf and I couldn’t take the club back.”

“How does a guy not take the club back every time he hits it, and it goes down the middle?”

“I don’t know. Do you want to open up my brain and check it out? I don’t know. I try to not think about it. I got over it.”

“Having the yips, I think because I went through that, I’m a better player now.”

“I hope people get over that and see me as just a guy that’s playing well on TOUR versus a guy that couldn’t take the club back.”

Bernhard Langer is a player who could not control the putting yips, which is why he uses the Long Putter. Not sure if Bernhard will retire from golf at the end of this year, when long putters will be banned. On the other side of the coin, Bernhard holds the record for the most birdies made at the treacherous 17th in The Players, some 25 of them in his career. Ironically he also holds the record for the longest putt holed at the 17th, 59 feet 9 inches. Sadly He missed the cut here this year.

The Players

Jerry Kelly / Getty Images

Jerry carded a -7 under par 65 second round, and reported that he lives on adrenaline;

“I enjoy adrenaline, I am 48. I know it almost ravages the body as much as it helps it as you start getting older, but I would like to hang out for another couple of days and have some fun with it.”

“I figured I would have another chance at this golf course, I didn’t think it would be that long, but it’s just strange. This whole career has gone by in the blink of an eye.”

There are four players tied in third place, two shots back at -6 under par for the tournament, Branden Grace, David Hearn, Chris Kirk and the ever-present Rickie Fowler.

Rickie could have had second place on his own, but a loose shot on the par 5 16th found water, leading to a bogey.

Rickie and Ian Poulter were tied in a magazine survey with 24 percent of the vote, for the most overrated player on tour. Rickie was not worried about the comments of his peers;

“If there’s a time where I need something to kind of give me a kick in the butt, then I can think of that and it will put me in the right frame of mind to go out there and take care of business.”

 World number one Rory McIlroy stumbled a bit today, he too could have been better except for a trip to the water. He finished with a -1 under par 71 and a -4 under par total;

“A lot can happen, and I feel like I’m in a decent position.”

Tiger made the cut on the number, but Phil Mickleson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald all had to go home early.

Phil was left wondering how he ever won here;

“I was thinking to myself as I was walking around, `I can’t believe I’ve actually won here,’ you know?”



The Players. 1st Day, Four-Way Tie.

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There is a four-way tie at the top of The Players on the 1st day at TPC Sawgrass.

The Players

One of the four, Canadian David Hearn / Getty Images

For all the hype about the big guns at TPC Sawgrass the four who share the lead on the Stadium Course at -5 under par, are all middle order players, David HearnHideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na and Charlie Hoffman carded opening rounds of 65.

Playing the course backwards Charlie was bombing along, until his tenth hole, which was the 1st, where he managed to rack up a triple bogey;

“Obviously, you don’t ever want to take a triple, double, quad, whatever it is.”

“But at least I gave myself time to get them back. It’s better than doing it on the 72nd hole, I can guarantee you that.”

“I’ve made enough triple bogeys in my life, I’m not going to let it ruin my day too much.”

“And I’m probably going to make a few more in my lifetime. It’s one of those things, first round of the tournament, sort of took it with a grain of salt, knew there were plenty of birdies out there.”

David wants to stay focused, saying there is still a long way to go;

“Two of my best swings of the day were on 18 and that gave me a lot of confidence going to the front nine.”

“We’ve got a long way to go here, my focus is just to get out there again tomorrow and just to keep enjoying hitting good shots.”

Kevin is fully aware of the difficulty of this Stadium Course;

“It’s a difficult golf course, and if you’re not on top of your game, it’s going to be very difficult to score.”

“There’s some holes out there where you just have to play it safe, maybe make sure you get it in play and then when you have a chance to get aggressive you have to pull off the perfect shot.”

Hideki putted well, and was very happy with the result, reported through a translator;

“I putted very well today, that was the difference.”

 “Probably starting from last week I started putting a little bit better, and it just carried over into today. I was very happy about that.”

World number one Rory McIlroy started OK, finishing the day at -3 under par after his first round 69. He said making 14 pars was good going on this course;

“I think that’s what this course is all about, it’s about staying patient.”

“There’s a lot of pars on my card, but I was able to pick off a couple of birdies and a nice eagle on 16. I’m happy with the start, for sure.”

World number two Jordan Spieth had another of those off days, shooting +3 over par 75, he needs to find some answers, to avoid missing the cut;

“It’s just one of those days where I started maybe looking into it a little too much rather than just accepting it and going forward.”

“Just going to have to find some answers. Just a really, really poor day.”

Tiger Woods opened with +1 over par 73, he even found a creek with a tee shot on the par three 8th hole, which he did not know was there, the shot was some 40 yards short of the green he was aiming for;

“I didn’t know it was there until now, probably the highest score I could have shot today.”



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 Championship @ TPC Sawgrass · Ponte Vedra Beach, FL


Ian Poulter and Martin Laird are at the top of the leaderboard at the Players Championship after round one of the tournament at        TPC Sawgrass, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Ian and Martin both had opening rounds of -7 under par 65, and lead the field by just one shot. Blake Adams is the player who is one shot off the lead with his -6 under par round of 66.

Ian said of his round today;

“Got off to a nice start really. Hit a nice shot into the first and had a great look there. Two putts at the second for birdie. Hit a lovely sand iron, which was probably a millimeter from dropping on four, for eagle. It just didn’t seem to want to go in. So I had to tap it in. Soft bogey for me, middle of the fairway on seven. Pulled an 8-iron left and really had no shot. So that was a soft bogey. And then from 9, I had nine single putts, I didn’t realize, until someone just told me.  It was a very, very good round of golf. That’s definitely probably in the top 10 of the rounds of golf I’ve ever played. To turn around and say, that you’re going to walk off seven-under par a little bit disappointed, but if I look at the chances I had on the front nine, that could have easily been a few more. I birdied 9, 10,11, 12. All of those were decent chances, putts you would expect to hole. And had a nice birdie on 16 and 17.”

Martin was very happy with his bogey free first round effort;

” Obviously very happy with my round today. You know, going bogey-free anywhere is good, but around this golf course it feels extremely satisfying. Really the key to my round today was the putter. I putted really well. I had a few par saves that I made, but chipped the ball really well, too, which is really important around here because the greens are so small; if the wind picks up a little bit you’re going to miss some greens. Real solid day, and any time I hit a good shot, I feel like I made the putt for birdie, which is always nice when you have one of those days.”

Martin had just  had 12 putts on the front and the back nines.

Blake Adams had nine straight birdies at the start of his round;

Obviously any time you finish on nine with five straight birdies, it’s a good day. I was fortunate to get out early. Had perfect greens; I was the first group out. A little wind until about halfway through the front nine or whatever, and you know, just kind of rode the momentum of those five birdies to the back side. I was obviously trying to make more birdies on the back side, but you know, finished the way I finished, signed my card and here I am.”

The Big names did not have such an easy time of it.

Major winner Padraig Harrington was the best of them with a -3 under par round of 69. Lee Westwood continued his trend of starting slowly with a first round score of -1 under par, 71, the same score as Phil Mickleson.

Lee rued all those missed chances;

It was a bit tricky out there. The wind felt like it was switching a little bit. It was tough to club. The most disappointing thing about the day was only shooting 1-under having made seven birdies. Played really nicely. Birdied all the par 5s which you need to do around this golf course. Hit the ball well. Semi-sort of pleased with the day, really. Just a few too many mistakes. If I can eradicate those, then I should have a chance over the weekend.”

Phil is still full of confidence after -1 under round;

” I played really well today. So it was one of those days where I probably didn’t get the score out of it that I should have, but I played really well, and have a lot of confidence heading into tomorrow that when we see a little bit different course, a little bit more receptive greens, I think that I’ll be able to turn that 1 under into something quite a bit lower.”

On even are last weeks winner Rickie Fowler, Luke Donald and world number one Rory McIlroy.

Still struggling are Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, who both had +2 first rounds of 74, and will need to do some work tomorrow to male the cut.

Tiger did not have any excuses;

“It wasn’t certainly the most positive start. Any kind of momentum that I would build, I would shoot myself in the foot on the very next hole. Just one of those days.”