Upon further review
Players 2023: Island 17th claims another leader, stars eyeing weekend off, and 6 other things to know from Round 2
Collin Morikawa looks on from the fourth green during the second round of the Players Championship.
Well, this figures. Twenty-four hours ago, we were celebrating the fact that we weren’t going to experience last year’s nightmare of long weather delays that pushed the Players Championship finish into Monday. And then on Friday … we get a weather delay. And not just a short stoppage, but a suspension of the second round that will bleed well into Saturday.
With dark clouds gathering for several hours and thunderstorms in the offing, the horn to stop play came at 4:27 ET with a sizeable portion of the field still on the course at TPC Sawgrass. The good news is that the forecast for the rest of the weekend looks excellent, with little chance of storms, so it’s very likely they’ll get the tournament in by late Sunday.
Still, before play was stopped, there were some serious gusts of wind on Friday afternoon, and they may have played a part in the disaster that first-round leader Chad Ramey suffered at the island 17th hole. After starting on the 10th, Ramey arrived at his eighth hole of the day, the 17th, with a two-shot lead. But his tee shot landed in front of the pin, and with the green very firm, his ball rolled over the back and into the water. (J.J. Spaun did the same thing on the very next shot.)
Then, from 90 yards at the drop zone, Ramey again flew his shot too much, and his now-third stroke found the water. Hitting his fifth, this time Ramey put the ball to 19 feet. But he missed the putt and the quadruple-bogey 7 on his scorecard dropped him to a couple of strokes behind. Another bogey at No. 1—Ramey’s last hole before play was suspended—put him two shots back of the clubhouse leader Ben Griffin (71), and he was four behind the eight-under marks of South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout (through 14) and Canadian Adam Svensson (through 11).
There are some big stars in danger of missing the cut, including World No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who was six over for the tournament through 10 holes of Round 2 when play was suspended. The featured threesome already was down to he and No. 2 Scottie Scheffler because No. 1 Jon Rahm had to withdraw before the start of the round with an undisclosed illness, snapping the tour's longest active made-cuts streak at 25. Scheffler has fared the best of the three, standing at six under through 28 holes.
In other highlights and lowlights …
° The clubhouse leader, Griffin, was so despondent about his game that he quit to join the mortgage business, only to have some “angel” financial backers help him spur a revival that now has him contending in the PGA Tour’s flagship event.
° After several years of struggle, Jason Day continues his promising comeback—he’s T-8 after a second straight 70—while looking forward to a likely return to the Masters after missing it last year when he dropped out of the OWGR’s Top 100.
° Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa is the highest-placed star at six under through 11 holes, though he’s one over in the round.
° Will Gordon made the biggest climb in Round 2, shooting up 63 places with a 67 to be T-8.
° The current cut line would have to move to two over, but if it does, 56-year-old Jerry Kelly would be the oldest player in championship history to make the weekend.
° Max McGreevy suffered one of the wildest (bad) swings we’ll ever see from a pro—20 shots!—when he carded 89—with two triple bogeys and three doubles—after scoring 69 in the first round.