Players' Championship: Webb Simpson had to "battle through" for TPC Sawgrass win

Tuesday, 15 May, 2018

Webb Simpson has always been one of the most underrated players on the PGA TOUR.

Tiger Woods pulled out all the stops during his 69. "Today I felt more comfortable with my overall warm-up". If this version of Tiger is posting those numbers off the tee, he's going to win multiple tournaments throughout the rest of 2018.

270-Webb Simpson 66-63-68-73. "But I've got to do some work between now and then, hopefully put together one good event". Numerous fans flocked to this group thinking that the victor would come out of this group.

Simpson, who used an anchored putting stroke prior to the rules change, and actually snapped his old belly putter over his knee one off-season (he kept the parts, however, for posterity), putted like a fiend using an arm-lock style at TPC Sawgrass. Four-time Major victor McIlroy is going to be one of the all-time greats but he misses cuts like anyone else, which Tiger did not do.

He missed an 8-foot par putt that caused him to flip his club, ended up with a disappointing bogey and limped home with a double at the famed 17th. However, he has won the tournament in the past.

You would hardly know it based on his positive reaction after he tied for 11th at the Players Championship, shooting a final-round 69 after earlier being in a tie for second place behind eventual victor Webb Simpson. After the weekend, there is no doubt that Tiger is back.

Woods took advantage of warm temperatures, soft greens and little wind by making birdies at three of the first four holes.

The fairytale storyline was to come to an abrupt ending, a effect both of Simpson's unwillingness to reverse and Woods' own failings.

"There's been some tough moments along the way", said Simpson, whose father died in November. I was too closed minded and just tried to learn a lot about putting and what's important.

Koepka, who was in his third start back after from a long injury layoff caused by a torn wrist ligament, started the final round 17 shots behind Simpson.

Woods and Spieth will play alongside each other over the final round, with Woods delighted after his lowest score by three shots this year.

Justin Thomas also has cause for celebration going into Memorial after becoming the 21st different golfer to become world No. 1 following his joint-11th finish at the Players. Simpson stalled with six straight pars before a first birdie of his round at the par-four seventh that took him to 20-under. The first challenge came from Woods, who was charging up the leaderboard, while the leader was still waiting his turn to get onto the course. David Lee who had a final round pairing with Webb Simpson would struggle. Simpson did however lead the field in driving accuracy, finding the fairway 82.14% of the time. This week, he never went to sleep without at least a share of the lead.

It was all but a given that Simpson would win after he blitzed the course over the first three days. He holed his second shot on the par-5 16th for an albatross, birdied the 17th but parred the closing hole when a birdie would have given him the course record.