It was a comeback – but not the comeback that had been hyped.
2012 US Open winner Webb Simpson took the 2018 PGA’s Players Championship by four shots – seven shots ahead of Tiger Woods.
Simpson would have been further ahead had he not posted a one-over final round – the only one in the top 20 to do so – after hitting his final hole approach shot into the water. But he had been so well in front it hardly mattered.
He had started the last day of the $11m tournament seven shots ahead, having shot 66, 63, and 68 in his first three rounds.
Simpson’s record-equalling second round of 63 included an eagle and three birdies on the front nine, followed by six further birdies before the unimaginable happened; a double bogey on the 16th.
It is Simpson’s first major win since his US Open victory. This had been followed by a ban on the style of putting he and many others were then using – the so-called ‘anchoring’ style in which an extra long putter is pushed into the body to anchor the stroke. Hands and arms must be allowed to swing freely in the putting stroke, the R&A had ruled.
Simpson says it was no big deal; he simply had to work on an alternative approach. What he came up with was a somewhat improbable-looking ‘arm-anchoring’ style which is now being talked of as the way to go.
The Players Championship, which earned him just short of $2m, was his fifth PGA Tour Victoria.
Tied for second were Americans Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele, and South African Charl Schwartzel. All came in five under for the day and 14 under for the tournament.
Tommy Fleetwood was the leading English player, finishing joint seventh on 12 under. Ian Poulter, one shot further back, tied for eleventh with five others, including Tiger Woods
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