The Loop

Falling Flat

Players 2021: A few pros struggled mightily with the annual Jimmy Fallon bit at the Players Championship

March 09, 2021

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Fool us a third time ...

There's a reason there is no "third" time, because by now we've gotten it. What the hell are we talking about, you ask? No, not Tiger Woods' famous "better than most!" putt, but the annual Jimmy Fallon bit at the Players Championship.

The running joke cooked up by the "Tonight Show" host first made an appearance at TPC Sawgrass in 2019, when no one in the media center was the wiser. It started with Adam Scott claiming he had just recently attended a Reba McEntire concent instead of practicing at Augusta National. Soon after Henrik Stenson joined in, then Justin Thomas, and, perhaps most surprising, Tiger Woods. Everybody had a hand in "Drop it in":

"Drop it in" made its return in 2020 at the short-lived Players Championship, and immediately many members of the media were on to Fallon. Something about Adam Scott reserving a table at Chili's just didn't seem to add up.

We don't mean to ruin the joke, but we can already tell Fallon is giving it a third try in 2021. It started with (technically) defending champion Rory McIlroy opening his press conference by saying he gets "another bite at the cherry" this year. Justin Thomas followed suit by comparing himself to an iPod nano—"I just keep shuffling," he said. Jon Rahm, when asked if he feels the 17th hole at the Stadium Course is intimidating or not, said, "Simple truth is, we have the meat."

The jig was officially up when Dustin Johnson essentially botched the whole operation. The point is to "slip" in the phrases so that they go undetected. Johnson did not do a very good job of that when he was asked how having COVID has affected him and his lifestyle.

"I've never been known to skip on the dip," said Johnson.

Yeah, that, uh, doesn't make sense. Nor did Collin Morikawa's "khakis with the pleats and feet in the cleats keep butts in their seats" quote from the very next presser. Sorry, Jimmy, but we're not falling for it this year.