The Players: Birdies and Bogeys

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The Players: Birdies and Bogeys

May 09, 2015

Photo By: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Photo By: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Photo By: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Photo By: Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/getty images

Photo By: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Photo By: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Photo By: Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

Photo By: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Photo By: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR/getty images

Photo By: Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/getty images

Photo By: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR/getty images

Birdie: Rickie Fowler

He's long been accused of having more style than substance, and in a way, this shouldn't change that. Fowler's close at TPC Sawgrass was as stylish as it gets, with a back-nine 31 that included him playing his last six holes in six-under par. The difference, of course, is that it was all a byproduct of Fowler's lesser-known grit, perhaps fueled by a recent player poll in which he was named the most overrated player on the PGA Tour. With three birdies Sunday on the famed par-3 17th to win the Players, this should settle any questions of whether there's enough game to back up the hype. -- Sam Weinman

Photo By: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Bogey: Chris Kirk

The 54-hole leader looked to make a Players title the next logical step in a career that also saw him win a FedEx Cup Playoff event last year.  The problem is Kirk floundered on Sunday. He made consecutive bogeys on the front nine to lose the lead, then did the same thing on the back nine to shoot 75 and finish T-13. -- S.W.

Photo By: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Birdie: Kevin Kisner

The unheralded University of Georgia product entered the week with only a single top 3 in a PGA Tour event to his name, and started this tournament sluggishly enough that he was in danger of making the cut on Friday. But he showed major grit in not only qualifying for the weekend, but in making consecutive birdies on 16 and 17 to force himself into a playoff. A lipout on 18 cost him the outright win in regulation and he was eventually outlasted by Fowler, but for a guy who had never sniffed such an environment before, he looked right at home.-- S.W.

Photo By: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Bogey: Bill Haas

With a T-4 finish at TPC Sawgrass, Haas picked up his first top 10 in a Players. But what must be maddening for the tour veteran is how close he came to winning. After three straight birdies on holes 14-16, Haas moved to 11-under par and had a chance to join the playoff had he holed his 30-foot birdie putt from just off the green. The real culprit, though? Fowler missed two putts from inside three feet on the second and ninth holes that would have changed the complexion of his Sunday. -- S.W.

Photo By: Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/getty images

Birdie: Sergio Garcia

For the third straight year, Garcia forced himself into the mix in a tournament he won in 2008. And while he did squander a two-shot lead on the back nine, it was still admirable how he rallied when he needed to late. That was especially true after Garcia was forced to block out some negative comments from the crowd while standing on the 17th tee. He responded by not only knocking his ball on the green, but then rolling in a lengthy putt for birdie that earned him a spot in the playoff. For a guy known for a fragile psyche, it was a resilient display at a crucial point. -- S.W.

Photo By: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Birdie: Tiger's short game

For a second straight event, the yips -- or whatever you want to call them -- didn't plague Woods like they did in his first few starts of the year. Woods' short game wasn't as sharp as it was at the Masters, but he hit a variety of good shots, from a bellied chip-in for birdie on No. 17 on Thursday to full-swing flop from an extremely difficult downhill lie on No. 7 on Friday. It wasn't vintage Tiger, but it was enough to avoid that dreaded "Y"-word coming up again. -- Alex Myers

Photo By: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Bogey: Tiger's big mistakes

Woods' 18 birdies placed him among the leaders for the week, but blowup holes kept him near the bottom of the leader board. He made two double bogeys on Thursday, two more on Saturday, and added his first-ever triple bogey at the Players on Sunday at the 14th hole, which quickly erased the three birdies he'd made over the four previous holes. As Woods pointed out after, TPC Sawgrass is a place where "it can get away from you quickly." Now he'll have to work quickly on his game if he's going to contend at next month's U.S. Open. -- A.M.

Photo By: Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

Birdie: 17th hole

The famed par 3 is always in the spotlight at the Players, but it seemed to produce even more excitement than usual. Friday produced remarkable recovery shots from Will Mackenzie and Matt Kuchar, and Sunday saw Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, and Kevin Kisner all make birdies there to earn a berth in the playoff. Fowler and Kisner would add birdies in the extra session, providing even more drama for the most electric hole in golf. -- A.M.

Photo By: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Bogey: Golf's new rivalry

The top two players in the Official World Golf Ranking, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, received extra buzz coming into the Players with their Thursday-Friday pairing. But McIlroy brushed aside the hype over golf's new rivalry at his pre-tournament press conference and then went out and beat Spieth, who missed the cut, by seven shots over the first two days at TPC Sawgrass. McIlroy finished T-8 to add to his recent strong run that includes a win at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and a fourth-place finish at the Masters behind Spieth. We'd love to see an actual rivalry develop between these two young stars, but it's just not there yet. -- A.M.

Photo By: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR/getty images

Bogey: Phil Mickelson

The glimmer of hope for Phil Mickelson during a prolonged rough patch was the fact he turned it on at just the right time to finish runner-up at each of the past two majors -- his lone two top 10s since the start of 2014. But Mickelson didn't have the same timing at golf's unofficial fifth major. Mickelson made a double bogey on No. 18 on Thursday, a triple bogey on the same hole on Friday, and missed the cut by five shots. -- A.M.

Photo By: Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/getty images

Birdie: Michael Hartford

On Wednesday, Pat Perez's caddie won the Players Caddie Challenge in honor of Bruce Edwards by hitting his only attempt on the par-3 17th hole to three feet, seven inches. The rest of the week, he guided Perez to one of the best performances of his career. But back to Hartford's shot. Only three pros hit it closer on 17 during the tournament -- and they all had at least two cracks at it. -- A.M.

Photo By: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR/getty images

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