Jason Day wins the Players Championship

05.15.16 day final putt

Jason Day taps in on 18 for the win.

Jason Day won the Players Championship on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass, going wire to wire for his tenth career PGA Tour title.

What Happened

Day entered Sunday with a four shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama, and to be perfectly honest, it seemed pretty clear that the only way Day was going to lose this tournament was if he came back to the field. There were a few charges early, namely from Ken Duke, and after some loose approaches by Day, it looked possible that he was going to do just that. He bogeyed the par-4 6th hole and when he got to the par-5 9th, he had a ton of trouble around the green.

05.15.16 day flub 9

05.15.16 day flub 9 x2

After another bogey, the lead was trimmed down to two shots, but he quickly rebounded with a birdie on 10 and with the players behind him cooling off, Day was able to extend the lead back to four shots with this birdie on the par-4 12th.

05.15.16 day putt 12

From there, it was smooth sailing for Day, leading to his third win of the 2015-16 season.

Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Jason Day -15
  • 2. Kevin Chappell -11
  • T3. Justin Thomas -10
  • T3. Matt Kuchar -10
  • T3. Colt Knost -10
  • T3. Ken Duke -10

What The Win Means For Day

Day now has eight wins in the last fifteen months, and somehow it feels like we’re not giving this enough attention. I mean, look at this list of accomplishments from Golf Channel’s stats GOAT Justin Ray:

There really isn’t a whole lot else to say about what he’s done. He’s simply the best player in the world right now, and it doesn’t even feel like it’s all that close. The particulars:

  • Earns $1,890,000 for the win.
  • Picks up 600 FedEx Cup points, moving into first place ahead of Adam Scott.
  • Extends his lead in the Official World Golf Rankings to 2.47 points over Jordan Spieth and 4.54 points over Rory McIlroy.

Course Setup

Kyle Robbins did a good job recapping the complaints about the course setup on Saturday for SB Nation, so before you read this, that’s a good starting point if you missed anything from the third round. Here’s what I honestly think happened.

After the opening round where Day tied the course record with a 63 and a bunch of other guys went low, everyone was cool. But then, Colt Knost went out on Friday and did the same thing, and since the governing bodies always seem to have this obsession with scores in relation to par, they decided that something needed to be done. Mother nature helped a lot with gusting winds and low humidity, which the PGA Tour couldn’t have really predicted I guess, and that led to the carnage we saw on Saturday. It wasn’t just that the greens were baked out and too fast; it was that the players were putting into these ridiculously tucked pins that made it nearly impossible to keep the ball close to the hole. The entire setup went off the rails, and it felt tricked out.

Players like Billy Horschel mentioned after the round was that the greens were still receptive on approach shots, but that the guess was the greens were running about 15 or 16 on the stimp, which is an insane number. Sergio Garcia’s 8 on the fifth hole was a perfect example of this. The first putt was as good as anyone could have expected, and it went way too far past the hole and it all unraveled from there.

Yes, the course was the exact same for everyone, but can anyone honestly say that they watched that broadcast on Saturday and enjoyed themselves? Day’s group was the last one on the course and because of the setup, it took them nearly six hours to finish their round. SIX HOURS. I hate slow play as much as anyone, but with the conditions and how much was on the line, I can’t even blame them for taking that long.

Ultimately, what caused this whole thing is that the ball simply goes too far. A lot of the players, Day in particular, was able to hit wedge or 9-iron into a ton of holes this week, which is always going to yield lower scores and make people feel like the course is playing too easy. Then, it goes too far the other way in an attempt to protect par.

Day was able to hit 2-iron/gap wedge into 18 on Sunday because the 2-iron went 308 yards from the tee. We’re actually at at a point where the ball is going so far that TPC Sawgrass appears to be too small, and that’s insane.

Spieth’s Missed Cut

Russell Knox on 17

Russell Knox put three balls in the water on 17 on Saturday, the second of which was the kind of shank that weekend hackers would be embarrassed to hit even if no one was watching. Seriously, look at the pro tracer of the shot. I’m sure you can tell which one is the second ball.

05.14.16 knox trace 17

Russell Knox on 17.

You know what, though? He handled it in a way that I definitely could not have; playing to the crowd after getting one on the green and putting out before tweeting about it ahead of the final round.

05.14.16 knox reax 105.14.16 knox reax 2

Great stuff.

Best Moments

Shots

#TourSauce

Attire

Rickie's shoes.

Rickie’s shoes.

Broadcast Moments

05.13.16 miller wave

Johnny says hello

Don’t Hit It There

Byeong-hun An's ball in a tree.

Byeong-hun An’s ball in a tree.

05.14.16 blixt lie

Jonas Blixt with a tough lie.

05.14.16 chappell lie

Kevin Chappell

 

Just Like Us

Parting Shots

  • Notables to miss the cut: Kevin Na, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Byeong-hun An, Matthew Fitzpatrick, J.B. Holmes, Danny Willett, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Luke Donald, Brandt Snedeker, Andy Sullivan and Henrik Stenson.
  • Injury report:
    • Jason Kokrak, Chris Stroud and Chris Kirk all withdrew at some point on Friday, but none provided a reason.
  • I honestly have no idea how Hideki shot 67 on Saturday, and have even less of an idea about how Duke went out and posted 65. If they had ended the tournament right there and given Duke the trophy, I would have understood.
  • Happy to see Justin Thomas get back into contention with a great round of 65 on Sunday.
  • On Rory’s week: it’s truly a testament to his ability that no one thinks he’s playing all that well, and he pretty much always finishes inside the top-15 whenever he tees it up. The 64 on Friday was crazy good, but the putter and wedge game right now just isn’t where it needs to be to win tournaments, especially if Day is going to do what he did this week.
  • Just going to leave this here:

Next Week

The PGA Tour heads back to Texas for the Byron Nelson, where Steven Bowditch defends against a decent field headlined by Spieth and Sergio Garcia. You should also pay attention to the European Tour, as Rory’s foundation is putting on the Irish Open with a superior field at the K Club.

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