Webb Simpson Runs Away From Contenders At The Players

Grant SmithMay 15, 2018

While Tiger would give it a good run, the tournament belonged to Webb Simpson.

And now Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, has notched the second-biggest victory of his career. A closing 73 was sufficient to take the trophy by four, at 18 under par.

South African Charl Schwartzel (67) and Americans Xander Schauffele (67) and Jimmy Walker (67) tied for second on 14-under. But only for a moment, as Webb Simpson slammed the door on all hopes on the back nine, winning going away by four strokes - his first victory since 2013.

Round 2, when the Woods group played before the coverage window, was up just 13 percent from previous year but did see a nice Friday evening peak of a million viewers from 5:30-5:45 p.m.

Earlier Woods had threatened to achieve the impossible. It was just the second such score on the 16th hole in 37 years of the The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass - and the fourth double eagle in the event's history overall. But he didn't, and Simpson regrouped with a birdie on 11 and a bunch of pars down the stretch.

It would, however, be the highwater mark of Woods's challenge.

After it came up short and rolled off the front of the green, Woods elected to putt and left it 8 feet short, then missed the par putt.

As a result, the 27-year-old earned a NZ$530,000 pay day. Further trouble arrived at the 17th, where Woods found water from the tee.

He followed that up with a 69 on Sunday to end at -11 and tied-11th for the tournament. "I'm on the right path now, and I really just wanted a weekend tee time here", said Spieth. "It's weird; not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot 3-under par is just weird, because I played much better than that", Woods said. I want to see him play rounds of golf under tournament conditions and expose himself exactly like he did this weekend.

Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors' picks. But now I feel like I've got my playing feels back and I'm playing tournament golf. Now I feel like I've got my playing feels. "Didn't know. But now I feel like I've got my playing feels and I'm playing tournament golf and I've got it".

Simpson, who is now $1.98m richer, can eye a Ryder Cup return - he represented the U.S. in 2012 and 2014 - plus the belated fulfilling of promise that was obvious when he prevailed at the US Open six years ago.

He pointed to his tee shot at the 242-yard, par-3 eighth, which landed a little more than 30 feet from the hole; his second shot at the par-5 ninth, which stopped on the fringe from almost 270 yards out; and his approach shot at the par-5 11th, before landing on the putting surface and leaving him a lengthy eagle putt. When Simpson recorded another bogey, at the 10th, eyes flicked towards Woods. Even the careless finding of a lake at the last was irrelevant.

He led the field in putting during his four-shot victory at The Players Championship, and that wasn't just one great week. The Englishman finished equal seventh.

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