Tiger Woods' biggest statement comes after play in bold step


If capturing a U.S. Open at age 26 did not earn Simpson fame, a Players Championship six years later is unlikely to do so either.

And although the former US Open champion saw his advantage cut to four shots with eight holes remaining, a closing 73 was enough to secure a fifth PGA Tour title and the winner's cheque of nearly £1.5million.

Simpson gave the shot straight back in finding a greenside bunker at the par-three eighth, and as he headed to his final nine holes his biggest threat wasn't Lee but two-time Players victor Woods.

His only big mistake didn't even matter.

A poor approach to the par-4 10th led to a bogey, and while Simpson's lead was still strong, it was down from seven shots to four.

"I played so well this weekend; unfortunately, I just didn't cash in", said Woods, who finished tied for 11th, seven shots behind eventual victor Simpson.

Woods could have made it much more suspenseful by making birdie at the hard 14th, a hole that has given him trouble in recent years.

Although Simpson and others were given more than two years to get used to the change before it was written into law on January 1, 2016, the adjustment proved hard.

"It was tough", Simpson told Steve Sands of NBC.

Reflecting on his win, Simpson said: It feels great. "This win means everything". "I've won there eight times and I would like to get there with one more chance".

The 32-year-old struggled after the January 2016 ban on anchoring the long-handled which he used to win the 2012 US Open.

"I didn't know if he'd ever putt well again, " said Paul Tesori, Simpson's caddie since 2010. "This was the hardest one by far". He stayed solid throughout the tournament and never looked like he was going to give up the lead.

TPC Sawgrass belonged to champion Webb Simpson, who brilliantly controlled this prestigious tournament, but it was Woods who dominated most conversations in the aftermath.

It was a case of what could have been for Woods, who would have needed something particular special over the last four holes to catch Simpson, but instead his momentum stalled on the 14th. Woods appeared to be in a position to make a birdie after piping his drive 354 yards down the middle of the fairway, and he was left with a wedge shot to the green.

So Pete Dye's wicked layout embracing doubt-inducing water, smart bunkering and obtrusive tree planting gave The Players Championship a victor who was last in driving distance but first in driving accuracy. It was the first time Woods has hit a ball into the water on 17 in 13 years and it resulted in a damaging double bogey and dropped him to 11-under par. Woods shot an 11-under score of 277 for the tournament and finished tied for 11th. Brooks Koepka became the eighth player with a 63 on Sunday, making an albatross 2 on the par-5 16th. Nine players who made the original cut did not make the secondary cut after Saturday's round, but they still were paid for their efforts.