Spectacular Sunday for Scottie Scheffler at Players Championship!

Scottie Scheffler won The Players Championship again posting a 64 which ties for lowest ever winning score with unbelievably dramatic finish at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida — The 50th anniversary of the Players Championship was a special occasion.

How special? It was the best of them all.

Better than Jerry Pate’s 1982 win when he nudged then PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman and designer Pete Dye into the lake for a swim?

Better than Hal Sutton’sBe the right club today!” moment?

Better than one-hit wonder Craig Perks’ cunning array of hole-outs at the finish?

Yes. The all-time No. 1 Players Championship was won here Sunday by the No. 1 player in the world, Scottie Scheffler, who also became first player to successfully defend a Players Championship title.

Nothing tops this one. Not even either one of Tiger Woods’ Players victories.


Sounds like heresy? Or rush-to-judgment hyperbole? Maybe even temporary insanity?

No less an authority than Beman himself agreed about the 50th Players.

Moments after Beman, former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and current commissioner Jay Monahan posed with Scheffler and the gold-plated Players trophy, Beman raved about the finish. He had just come off the veranda and taken a seat, then got up when the last of the ceremonies was over and carefully walked across the lawn to exit when I was able to intercept him.

Asked if he thought the 50th Players was the best-ever, Beman said, “Oh, I think it was. I think so. We had more players with a chance at the very end and everybody played great golf. It was fantastic.”

What made it so thrilling was that Scheffler was done and had a one-stroke lead over his three challengers. Each of them needed a birdie on the 72nd hole and one by one, each of them missed. The closest call was Wyndham Clark, whose 17-foot birdie putt dived nearly halfway into the cup before impossibly spinning back in soul-crushing fashion.

And, by the way, the excitement was also because of who these guys were. Chasing Scheffler, a former Masters champion, was Clark, the reigning U.S., Open champion; Brian Harman, the reigning Open Championship winner; and Xander Schauffele, the reigning Olympic gold medalist.

The PGA Tour finally got a star-studded leaderboard on the final nine holes at the 2024 Players Championship!

Beman had one more reason why this Players is the best.

The identity of the winner. He is a Scottie Scheffler believer.

“Well, this guy who just won,” Beman said with a sparkle in his eye, “he is extraordinary.” He said it a second time, slowly, for emphasis. “Extra-ordinary.” Scheffler is a closer, I offered. “He can close,” Beman agreed, nodding. “He’s got it. He’s got it.”

Again, he stressed that word to make sure its importance registered.

“It’s terrific to have him as part of golf,” Beman said of Scheffler. “He’s a great winner. Back-to-back, that’s never happened before. It was great.”

It was a great finish. What looked as if it might turn into a four-man playoff turned into Scheffler hitting a couple of wedge shots on the range when he heard a loud groan from the 18th green and figured that sounded like a missed put.

On the 72nd hole Wyndham Clarks 17-foot putt that would have enforced a play-off with Scottie Scheffler seemed destined to drop and Clark had his arm cocked, ready to produce the fistpump., but in the final revolutions the ball caught the lip and enacted the cruel 360 back towards the stricken American.

Clark was the last man standing with a chance, coming off birdies at 16 and 17 to get within one—he missed an eagle putt at 16. Clark was on the front edge of the last green, 17 feet away, in nearly the identical spot Harman had been a few minutes earlier. Harman’s putt slide left toward the lake and didn’t come that close. Halfway there, Harman already knew he’d missed.

Schauffele, playing in the last twosome with Clark, also needed a birdie to tie. He came kinda-sorta close with his 61-foot attempt but in basketball terms, since it was Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament, he needed to make a hook shot from half-court at the buzzer. He made a valiant effort and came close.

It was thus left to Clark, who put a little pace on his putt. The ball was going toward the cup’s center until it moved left at the end, caught the lip, did a 320-degree roll around the edge and spun out. It was more than halfway in. Even the “Titleist” stamp on the ball was below the top of the cup. Yet it stayed out.

There were three other days of thrills and chills that helped make this week special. Plus, Scheffler’s comeback involved him overcoming a neck injury that had him getting treatment during his round Friday and had him wondering if he’d be able to finish.

But he’s a Texan, he’s determined and coming off a win the previous week at Bay Hill, he knew he was playing well so he persevered.

He is the best player in the game. Masters champ Jon Rahm, who left for LIV Golf, might be a challenger for that title. Yet in four starts at LIV, where he has to beat 53 other assorted players, his best finish is third.

Xander Schauffele’s resume includes an Olympic gold medal, Tour Championship title and WGC victory, but he could not close the deal at TPC Sawgrass after holding the lead for most of the final round.

Scheffler is playing the best golf in the world right now and he might be more than than just the current No. 1. He might be that next special player in golf. Especially if he keeps his putter working. It was a club that held him back last year.

Scheffler began the final round five shots behind Schauffele, four behind Clark. Then Scheffler threw a 5-under 31 at them on the front nine, sparked by a 92-yard hole-out for eagle at the short par-4 fourth hole. Scheffler played his last 21 holes in 11 under par.

What did the leaders think of seeing the incredibly consistent Scheffler charging again? “Of course,” Clark said. “Just another week out here,” Schauffele said.

Not just another week, a special one. Broadcaster Mike Tirico emceed the closing ceremony on the veranda. Even he seemed somehow simultaneously inspired and drained afterward.

“Three guys on the last hole at the same time with a chance to win,” Tirico said, shaking his head carefully so his headset didn’t jar loose. “That was pretty good.”

Better than most? No, better than all of them.


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