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 Makes It His.


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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.


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.”