This past weekend saw a lot of great story lines and we are here to give you the good and the bad of it. Here are our winners and losers from the past week in golf.
Martin Kaymer — As Martin Kaymer was making his way to the tee on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, clinging to a lead that had evaporated after a double-bogey on the 15th hole, we got to see exactly why the Players Championship is so great. Kaymer didn't need to do anything heroic, "just" make par on an island green par-3 and then on one of the toughest finishing holes in the game of golf. Kaymer's 30-footer for par on 17 was one of the best shots of the entire PGA Tour season, but he still needed to get in with a four on the 18th for the second biggest win of his career. Kaymer did just that as darkness was covering Sawgrass, showing that a man once ranked number one in the world is back and possibly better than ever.
Jim Furyk — For a man that has lived right around the TPC Sawgrass area for more than two decades, taking home this Players Championship trophy would be ridiculously special. He nearly did that thanks to a final round 66, just rolling the high lip on the 72nd hole for an unexpected birdie that would have landed him in a playoff with Kaymer. Even though that didn't happen, it was an impressive final round for Furyk who is still hoping to one day raise this trophy.
Rory McIlroy's back nine play — Did you know that if you combined Rory's play on the back nine this week at the Players Championship, he would have shot two rounds of 65-62? That's 17-under on the back at TPC Sawgrass, a tournament record by four shots, and the two-time major winner played the 18th hole an incredible 4-under for the week, making a birdie on it each day.
The TPC Sawgrass turtle — This thing is becoming a tradition like pimento cheese sandwiches at Augusta.
Jordan Spieth — It's hard to knock a 20-year-old who keeps getting in contention at the biggest tournaments in the world, but if he wants to be the best out there, he should be treated like the best, no matter his age. Spieth had a chance on Sunday for an enormous career achievement, but that bogey on No. 5 started an avalanche of quick swings and frustrating putts. Spieth continues to get himself near the lead after three rounds, and he's eventually going to have a Sunday where everything clicks, but his Sunday 74 tied the worst score of anyone that finished in the top-22 on the leaderboard.
Phil Mickelson — The wheels have been rattling all year on the Mickelson bus, but the bolts started to fly off when Mickelson missed his second cut in his last three starts and told reporters after his Friday round that he is mentally "soft" right now. We've waited all season for things to start clicking for Mickelson so he would be ready for the U.S. Open, but with only two starts left on his schedule before Pinehurst, it will take something major to get him in form to compete at the toughest test in golf.
Rory McIlroy's front nine play — As good as he was on the back nine at TPC Sawgrass, Rory was that bad on the front. His Friday 42 on the front was much of the reason for his poor front nine play for the week, but he was 1-over on Thursday and 2-over on Saturday before catching fire on the back. Rory has seemed to toss a bad round in just about every tournament he's played this season, and this week it was more of a bad front nine that kept him out of the winner's circle.
John Senden — Just two months ago it was Senden who was impressing us with his clutch shots at the Valspar Championship, and starting the day in third place at the Players Championship, it was Senden with an outside chance at a career-changing victory. He played mediocre for the first 13 holes on Sunday, sitting at 1-over on his round, but finished bogey-bogey-birdie-double-bogey to post a 77 and drop 23 spots on the leaderboard.
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