10 things to know about the Players Championship
Martin Kaymer closed, Jordan Spieth didn't, and a turtle went diving into the water for a swim at TPC Sawgrass.
What a week from TPC Sawgrass. We watched The Kid (Jordan Spieth) clean up the first three rounds, The German (Martin Kaymer) close like a champion, and The 5-Hour Energy Man (Jim Furyk) nearly pull off his greatest escape trick by sneaking into the champion's circle.
Here's everything you missed from the 2014 Players Championship.
1. Martin Kaymer is a grand champion: Kaymer isn't talked about a lot in terms of the best golfers under age 30 but he's won 10 times on the European tour and now twice on the PGA Tour. Two big ones, too, in the PGA Championship and Players Championship.
He said it best after his round on Sunday.
"The name is different. There's no major behind the tournament here, but at the end of the day, for all of us it's a major. It's the biggest field. It's a tough golf course, a very tough week, and very difficult to beat all of those guys."
Needs to work on his celebration game, though:
2. Jordan Spieth almost won, but then he didn't: Spieth has now held the 61-hole Masters lead and the 58-hole Players Championship lead at the age of 20.
That's great, and I don't want to be that guy, but he needs to close one of these out or, inevitably they'll start dancing around in his head (see: Garcia, Sergio). Though Spieth seems like he'll just shake most things off.
"It's not fun being that close and having opportunities and being in the lead on Sunday and not pulling it off. It's something that I don't feel like I've struggled with throughout my whole career, going back to junior days.
"So I don't think much of it, other than I didn't have any best stuff."
3. There was a record set at No. 17: Much to the chagrin of the alcohol-infused faithful at the Island Hole, the record of 29 balls hit in the water was broken. Barely. I mean barely.
Kaymer with one of the strangest shots ever seen. Spins back a foot from going off green and into the water. Record set: 28 balls for week— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) May 11, 2014
4. Rory McIlroy's bad round: In each of his last four tournaments McIlroy has only had one round over par. In each case it's been a bad one, however. He's 13 over in those four outlier rounds.
There were even stranger numbers at hand this week at Sawgrass. The Ulsterman played the back nine in 17 under and the front in 8 over. If he plays the front at even par he wins by four.
5. Justin Rose and the new normal: Rose got a two-stroke penalty for a ball that might have moved, then he got it changed on Sunday. I tried to sort that out here. I thought Gary Van Sickle of Sports Illustrated put it nicely here:
"The bottom line of this case is that it was a good test case for rules officials to get a handle on the new rule. After an initial bobble, they corrected the ruling. Of course, all future rulings are going to be based on the definition of exactly what is “sophisticated technology” and what can be seen by the naked eye.
"It’s still going to be a judgment call, as it’s always been in the past. If there was a question about a player’s golf ball moving, that player and his playing partners judged among themselves whether the ball was deemed to have moved. In a case like this, cameras were involved."
6. Both of your GIFs of the week were Jordan Spieth: The Kid does show some emotion out there.
7. This tweet from Richard H. Lee was the best: The poor dude basically whiffed twice on the 17th green on Sunday. His daughter was all over him.
Here's a look at his chip and putt:
8. Jim Furyk Jim Furyk'd hard but still almost won: Furyk was as jumpy on the back nine on Sunday as we've ever seen him. He pulled off his putt on No. 17 about 22 times (approximately) but finished birdie-par-par to give himself a shot at the win.
Johnny Miller took him to task for taking too much time when the horn blew for a weather delay on Sunday (h/t Brendan Porath):
9. Sergio Garcia drama is the best drama: I'm reminded of it every week, seemingly, but golf is better when Sergio is prominently involved. He was in it down the stretch and gave us the full Sergio experience: water shots, drama on No. 17 (he needed a birdie), and a birdie at the last to get within one.
It's always a show.
10. Can we just take a moment to appreciate Martin Kaymer's putt on 17 one more time?
It was unfathomable that he would make this given the way he was playing at the time. By the way Spieth's reaction (or non-reaction) is terrific:
Look how much this baby broke on 17: pic.twitter.com/lgqo2MuFx7— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) May 12, 2014
11. The most underrated video of the week: Look who's back!
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