If you tuned in to see golf’s top players battle for The Players victory on Sunday you ended up pretty disappointed. How did the top 10 players in the world finish the tournament yesterday?
So, who were the top 10 finishers at The Players and what was their world ranking going into the week?
What happened? Did the course changes take away the advantage of the long ball? The players that came to the top were those who could play the short game and stay out of trouble this week. Winner Si Woo Kim lead the field in scrambling. So that might be it.
But, if we look back at recent past champions we see that the big hitters have often done very well. 2016 winner Jason Day finished that year ranked 15th in driving. In 2015, winner Rickie Fowler finished the year T39. 2013 champion Tiger Woods finished 49th in driving for the year.
There are been some shorter drivers who have done well recently too. 2014 winner Martin Kaymer was 50th in the world in driving that year and beat Jim Furyk who was 155th. 2012 champion Matt Kucher finished the year 128th in the world with his driver.
No question the course humbled many of the best players in the world this week. There isn’t anything new about that. Jordan Spieth, one of golf’s best players over the last three years, missed the cut this week for the 3rd year in a row. The TPC Sawgrass course continues to be a unique test of golf. It has been a love it or hate it course from the day it opened. It has always demanded a bit of luck to go along with the player's skill. And, of course, there is the infamous 17th hole that can ruin an entire round’s effort with one poor shot.
Were the new and still firm greens an issue? Does the course take the driver out of the bag more than most courses? Perhaps. But the best players in the world have proven in the past that they can adjust when necessary. This week it appears they just didn’t get it done. Those players that did adjust were able to shine. The TPC Sawgrass course continues to be controversial. It always will be and it will continue to give us some unique champions. Nothing wrong with that.