Players Championship 2018: The 10 biggest meltdowns at TPC Sawgrass
Let's be honest: you're not tuning in to the Players Championship to watch the world's best paint the scoreboard red. You want mayhem, carnage, broken hearts and dreams. For players to use "Pete Dye" as an expletive, throw their clubs, make snowmen … you know, act just like the average hacker. In that regard, rarely does TPC Sawgrass disappoint. In honor of this week's tournament, here are the 10 most memorable meltdowns at the Players Championship:
10: J.B. Holmes, 2017
Forget trials on 17; Holmes' entire fourth round was a nightmare. Beginning the day in the lead, Holmes bogeyed three of his first five holes and never recovered, topping it off with a quintuple-double finish. The final damage: a 12-over 84, dropping the Kentucky native from first to outside the top 40. Worse, the pain wasn't just self-inflicted, as Holmes' tee shot on the par-3 eighth hit a spectator in the head.
9: Sean O'Hair 2007
O'Hair was the 54-hole leader but was down two to playing partner Phil Mickelson when he reached the 17th. Needing to make some magic happen, O'Hair went for the tucked pin. An aggressive line that did create magic … black magic, that is, as O'Hair dumped two balls into the lake, resulting in a quadruple bogey. Coupled with a bogey at the final hole, O'Hair went from second place to 11th, a move that cost him roughly $750,000 in prize money.
8: Russell Knox, 2016
The Scotsman was hovering around second place when he headed to the Island Green on Saturday afternoon. His standing slightly dropped by the time he reached the 18th tee box, thanks to putting three in the pond:
To his credit, Knox took the beating in stride:
Although we're a tad disappointed he didn't wear floaties and a snorkel when arriving to the hole on Sunday.
7: Robert Gamez, 1990
He won the Rookie of the Year in 1990, but the season also featured a debacle on the 17th. Gamez put four into the pond, leading to a then-17th-high 11. Thankfully for Gamez, YouTube wasn't a thing yet.
6: Jeff Sluman, 1987
This wasn't a meltdown of his own doing. In a playoff with Sandy Lyle, Sluman had a six-footer for a win and his first tour victory. As he was lining up, a spectator jumped into the lake, forcing Sluman to back off:
The righteous indignation from the 18th tower is palpable, even now.
Sluman missed the putt, and a bogey at 18 gave the tournament to Lyle.
5: Hal Sutton, 2000
Not all collapses end in defeat. Sutton held a four-shot lead over Tiger Woods late on Saturday with two holes to go. That advantage turned to one after Sutton made a triple-bogey six on the 17th. However, Sutton bounced back magnificently, making 18 makes and one birdie over his final 19 tournament holes to defeat Woods by one.
4: Bob Tway, 2005
The highest score at the 17th belongs to Tway, who was just four back in the 2005 competition when he came to the Island Green on Saturday. Then Tway proceeded to put four balls in the water. The ignominy did not end there, for, while his fifth found land, it took Tway three putts to find the bottom of the cup. The end result was a nonuple-bogey 12. And yes, we had to look up the nomenclature for "nine over."
3: Sergio Garcia, 2013
The 17th isn't easy on the heart. Tangling with Tiger Woods doesn't alleviate that pressure. Sergio Garcia came out on the business end of both in 2013. Tied for the lead with the 14-time major winner heading into the 71st hole, Garcia sent his tee shot into water. His drop, a similar fate:
Garcia carded a quadruple bogey. He would also double the final hole, ultimately leaving Sawgrass in a tie for eighth as the title went to Tiger.
2: Paul Goydos, 2008
A par on the 18th would have given the 43-year-old journeyman a career-defining moment. Instead he made bogey, and found himself in a playoff with Sergio Garcia. His aspirations drowned immediately, as Goydos' first shot in sudden death got wet.
Breaks your heart. Not the water-bound shot, the mock turtleneck shirt. How did we ever consider that acceptable golf attire?
Goydos recorded a five, giving the championship to Garcia.
1: Len Mattiace, 1998
The patron saint of Players heartbreak. Starting the day six back, Mattiace, a local boy playing in front of friends and family, made eight birdies in his first 16 holes to grab the lead. Alas, a chance at his first career win was denied after throwing three in the drink, stumbling off with a quintuple-bogey 8. He didn't toss in the towel, making birdie on the last, but he ultimately finished four behind Justin Leonard.