THE PLAYERS Roundtable: What will you remember about Simpson's win?
May 13, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- May 13, 2018
Webb Simpson's Round 4 highlights from THE PLAYERS
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Each day at THE PLAYERS Championship, PGATOUR.COM’s staff writers will dive into the big issues and questions everyone is discussing.
Webb Simpson shot a final-round 73 to win by four over Xander Schauffele (67), Charl Schwartzel (67) and Jimmy Walker (67). What moment/shot/round will you remember about the winner this week?
Ben Everill (Staff Writer): For me the end of all hope for anyone else came in round three when he holed out from the back bunker on the par-5 11th for an eagle. That ball tracked on the green for a long time and never looked like missing. That’s when you know something special is afoot.
Sean Martin (Senior Editor): The putt on the 15th green in the second round, from the chipping area long of the green. He hit it too hard. His ball was headed 10 feet past the hole, but it hit the back of the cup and dropped straight in. It was his sixth consecutive birdie, and all Webb and his playing partners, Jhonattan Vegas and Tyrrell Hatton, could do is laugh. It was clear that he was in the midst of a magical round.
Mike McAllister (Managing Editor): Despite a performance in which his putter meant everything, I’m going with the hole-out from the bunker on Saturday at the par-5 11th for eagle. To me, that was the “OK, we’re seeing something special” moment.
Cameron Morfit (Staff Writer): I’ll remember Simpson rolling in that par-saving putt on 18 on Saturday. Message to the field: If you want back into this tournament, I’m not going to help.
Tiger Woods birdied six of his first 12 holes and shot 69. He finished T11, but even he sounded impressed. Was this an even bigger step in his comeback than his runner-up at the Valspar Championship?
Everill: Absolutely. This was against the best field in golf and showed the rust – and any excuses – are now gone. As far as I am concerned, Woods is starting on equal pegging with everyone now and a magic four days could be just around the corner.
Martin: It was, but you still have to wonder about his inability to finish off his rounds. He was 14 under par on Nos. 1-13 on the weekend, and 4 over on the final five holes. Yes, there are some hard holes in that stretch, but he also failed to birdie the par-5 16th both days. There are a lot of positive signs, but those finishes were a bit disconcerting.
McAllister: Yes, I’d say on this course, against the best field in golf, to produce the kind of golf he displayed on the weekend has to be his bigger confidence booster of the season. Now if he can just solve the late-round fade …
Morfit: Somehow this felt different, and more significant, than the Valspar. Tiger was flighting it how he wanted to, moving the ball both ways, putting well. He couldn’t overcome two mediocre rounds (72-71) on Thursday and Friday, but his game looks pretty sporty going into the summer.
Xander Schauffele tied for second in his first look at TPC Sawgrass, which isn't supposed to happen on such a technically demanding course. Simpson wasn't known as an ace putter. What was the biggest surprise of the week for you?
Everill: Simpson’s dominance was certainly a surprise. He didn’t just win, he killed them. The other surprise for me was Jason Day failing to find a birdie on the back nine on Sunday. Maybe he was just finally out of gas.
Martin: I think Jimmy Walker's second-place finish. It has been a tough road since he was diagnosed with Lyme disease, but he's starting to turn the corner. This second-place finish came on the heels of a T20 at the Masters and T4 at the Valero Texas Open. He's risen to No. 49 in the FedExCup.
McAllister: Two 63s that tied the course record is probably the biggest surprise. I didn’t expect the scores to be this low. The winning score of 18 under is the lowest in more than two decades.
Morfit: Simpson. I’d forgotten how good he is when he’s on.
Justin Thomas came into the PLAYERS at No. 1 in the FedExCup, but now he's also No. 1 in the world, taking over for Dustin Johnson. Thomas says he absolutely loves TPC Sawgrass. Is he your early pick to win the 2019 PLAYERS? If not, who is?
Everill: What an achievement for Thomas. Holding the FedExCup title and world No. 1 at the same time. But I would take Jason Day as my PLAYERS favorite. Winner in 2016, T5 this week and clearly in the midst of a revival back towards the top of the golfing spectrum.
Martin: Jason Day. He's rededicated to the game after a winless 2017 and it is showing. He won the Wells Fargo Championship and finished fifth this week. That's two top-five finishes in his past three PLAYERS.
McAllister: Jack Nicklaus is the only three-time champion of THE PLAYERS. Think Tiger might like to join him in the record book? A year from now, with more reps and a smoothing out of the issues he has with the game, Tiger will be in better shape to contend than he was last year. Plus, he’s already won once on a Championship Sunday on St. Patrick’s Day (2002 at Bay Hill) – and that’s when THE PLAYERS Championship ends next year.
Morfit: Patrick Cantlay has the look of a PLAYERS winner, and for a while I thought it was going to be this year. I’ll take Cantlay for 2019.