Webb Simpson has what it takes to tame TPC Sawgrass, win Players

PGA Tour 2018: Live leaderboard for The Players Championship final round

PGA Tour 2018: Live leaderboard for The Players Championship final round

The Players Championship might have ended in disappointment for Tiger Woods, but the 14-time major victor believes he is close to finally winning a tournament again.

"There's no way I would have predicted I would be at this point the beginning of the year, the way I was just coming back and just trying to get a feel for it and then hopefully have a schedule", he said.

Tiger himself is to blame for the PGA Tour's depth.

There wasn't any argument that Bryson DeChambeau entered the week on fire with three top-four finishes in his last four starts and should have commanded attention in his maiden voyage.

The North Carolina native was never headed since sharing the lead on day one and then storming five shots clear of his rivals on day two in shooting a course record-equalling 63.

Others surged at various times during the day but all, like Woods, eventually faltered as Simpson ground out one solid hole after another. Playing four groups ahead of Simpson, he moved early, with birdies at the third, fourth and fifth.

By the time the 42 year old stood on the 13th tee, having picked up six shots with some dazzling artistry and bewitching putting, the deficit had shrunk to just four.

World number one Dustin Johnson fired an even par round of 72 to finish tied for 17th, meaning his 64-week stay at the top of the rankings will come to an end.

Justin Thomas left the TPC Sawgrass as the No. 1 player in the world.

"I hope he doesn't go home and just hit golf balls". "That's when J. Wood, Matt Kuchar's caddy, told me Tiger is only four back". His round could have been much closer to the 65 he shot Saturday.

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This time, as Tiger Woods charged up the leaderboard at the Players Championship, a long overdue 80th PGA Tour victory really did look within reach. Alongside Woods was Sawgrass specialist Ian Poulter, who shot 69.

I could have stuck Jordan Spieth in #Play72 above since his quad on the final hole knocked him from T17 to T41.

Despite the double bogey, however, it was a buoyant Woods who spoke to Steve Sands after his round. On his final hole he hit a shot in the water but at that point, it didn't matter.

Woods was 11 under on the front, including a scorching 10 under during the weekend after making the cut on the number.

I sat up here and said let's give him the starts, let's give him the summer, let's give him the year, let's see if he can gain some of the freedom he needs.

Woods finished at 277, 11 under par and seven shots back of Simpson and three back of second-place finishers Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffel.

On Sunday, he frequently had to make putts for pars.

Although Simpson's accuracy and ball striking were impressive throughout the week, it was his prowess on the greens that played the key role in his victory. He finished with a tap-in for double-bogey 6 on 18 after his pumped-up approach shot flew the flag and the green and found the water.

Congratulations to Webb Simpson, the 2018 Players Champion.

While clearly taking confidence from some vintage play Woods will be less than pleased at not finishing off either of his weekend rounds, both of which could have been spectacular. Please feel free to join in the conversation in the comments section below.

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