The 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson held onto most of his seven-stroke lead today in The Players Championship to win the coveted title and nearly $2 million. He played smart, conservative golf until the last hole. But it didn’t make much difference when his six iron on the par four hole rolled across the left side of the green and into the water. So, he had to settle for a double bogey six and a four shot win with a one-over par round of 73 and a 72 hole total of 280–18 under par. Three players finished in a tie for second: Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel and Jimmy Walker.
Tiger Woods started the day with a gallant effort, as yesterday, being 6 under par after thirteen holes. But he bogeyed the next hole. Then, on the scary little par three 16th hole, Tiger did what TV commentators say he has never done before in this event. He hit his first shot into the water to finish with a double bogie five. Surprisingly, his first shot was considerably short of the green as it splashed in the H2O. Tiger finished his round with a respectable 69 for 11th place. He said afterwards that he hit the ball extremely well from tee to green his last two rounds. I think this means we can expect Tiger to continue making progress in his pursuit to regain some of tremendous form of yesteryears. I thought his golf swing looked as good as ever in recent years. The main thing for me is that he is maintaining his spine angle better throughout his swing. No more of that dipsy-doodle business with his upper body (most visibly his head).Simpson carried through today just as I thought he would. This guy can manage his game as good as any. And he sure is one of the best putters on Tour.
But Simpson’s win may cause the elites who decide the rules of the game to rethink their change regarding the long putter. They recently outlawed anchoring the upper end of the club shaft of the long putter to the chest with (for right hand putters) the left hand. So, Simpson avoids that infraction by sort of anchoring the upper part of the shaft to his left forearm. It remains to be seen if the U.S.G.A. and Royal and Ancient will revisit that in the future.
The rules of golf are always changing. It’s just the nature of the game. As I’ve said on this blog before, one of the six times I played in The Masters I played with The Squire, legendary Gene Sarazen, in the three-par contest the day before the tournament starts, on Wednesday. We got to talking about the rules of golf. Gene said, “I quite reading the Rule Book a long time ago because they keep changing it.”
Anyway, Webb Simpson is a credit to the PGA Tour and the game it serves. Keep going Webb.