Players Championship

2024 Players: Watch a near hole-in-one brutally end up in the water

March 14, 2024
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There is nothing more brutal in sports, and life, than missing a glorious outcome by the thinnest of margins, and then watching that outcome turn nightmarish.

Enter Sam Ryder, who arrived at TPC Sawgrass' 17th hole Thursday in the Players Championship at three under for his round and landed his tee shot maybe 10 feet behind the hole on the island green, perfectly in front of the ridge, with spin. Freeze that moment in time, and you'd predict either a very good outcome (close to the hole for a birdie putt) or a ridiculously great ace.

Problem was, the ball had a lot of spin, and nothing between it and the water except a very thin strip of rough and the hole itself. Glory still beckoned, but as the little white dot shifted into reverse, another outcome entered the realm of possibility. Ryder could only watch and pray, but in Pete Dye's world, prayer only gets you so far:

Gutting. Brutal. Quintessential golf. We've all been there, but you actually have to hit a decent shot experience what Ryder just went through, so we're sorry, Sam: You've got to suffer alone.

The good news is, he bounced back quickly from his ensuing double, made birdie on 18, and finished at two under. He'll be back for more pain tomorrow.