March 31, 2023
The imperious Scottie Scheffler returns to the top

The imperious Scottie Scheffler returns to the top

American Scottie Scheffler holds up the trophy after winning The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach – ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Some might venture that a smile from Tyrrell Hatton on a golf course is as rare as a £2.25m second prize, but no one could doubt what this extraordinary record of equaling all nine holes here meant to the Englishman. in Sawgrass.

Nothing stopped the imperious Scottie Scheffler, the American who cruised home to beat Hatton by five shots to return to world number 1 by lifting the Players’ title and cashing the £3.75m winning check. He was followed at every hole by his 88-year-old grandmother, Mary. Make sure this was Scheffler’s procession.

However, from where Hatton stood in the field after bogeying in the ninth, his achievement in finishing second and earning his biggest payday for almost £1 million defied belief.

“He was five under on the 10th hole and I think he was tied for 34th,” Hatton said. “I was struggling with a block fade, which is just not a good shot in a left-right wind. But it was just a pretty crazy two hours and I’m really happy with the way it played out.

Tyrrell Hatton - AP Photo/Eric Gay

Tyrrell Hatton – AP Photo/Eric Gay

“Yes, it’s all about winning, but if you had told me that it would only be Scottie in front of me, I would have been very, very pleased.”

The evidence was written all over the face of the 31-year-old from Buckinghamshire after his incredible second-place finish on the 18th. By then, he had made six birdies in eight holes, starting the charge with a 20-foot shot on the 10th and hitting his Four-foot tee shot on the notorious 17th hole.

Hatton pushed his drive deep into the trees on the par-4 18th hole and appeared to be blocked from the green. But with a four-iron on a “dubious” pine thatch lie, he gamely aimed for the lake to the left, before vanishing it back to 10 feet.

“It was risky, but at the time I wasn’t going to give up and I didn’t even consider doing it,” he said, before poking fun at his own reputation as an angry golfer. “You don’t see me smile a lot when I play golf, so it was very good, although maybe I was a little lucky.”

Hatton duly converted the birdie to make it five straight birdies to close out his 65 and then his caddy, Mick Donaghy, joked that his boss had been in a similar position on Saturday’s final hole and conjured him up by inches on that occasion. “So this one wasn’t that good,” the Scotsman said, expressionless.

Mick Donaghy and Tyrrell Hatton - Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Mick Donaghy and Tyrrell Hatton – Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

In addition to the big windfall, which overshadowed his winning run at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Hatton granted himself a place in Sawgrass history by joining a group that also includes Rory McIlroy, who played the inside half of the Stadium Course. in 29 shots.

Furthermore, no Englishman has ever finished higher at the PGA Tour’s flagship event. Hatton is back in the top 20 in the world and has come a long way to secure a spot in the top 50 on the PGA Tour’s FedEx points list, which next year will compete in controversial “designated events” with his bags. $20 million, limited, uncut fields.

Scheffler is sure to be among those “made men”. This comfortable success was impressive indeed, as his unrivaled ball-striking allowed him to navigate this windy and decidedly treacherous event. The five birdies he made in the eighth killed the competition as he shot a 69 for a total of 17-under. All four of Scheffler’s rounds were in the ’60s, a remarkable feat in this field.

In 13 months and 27 events, the 26-year-old has won six tournaments, including the Masters. The Texan will head to Augusta in three weeks so that his defense is extremely confident. He was matched with Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy in the opening two rounds and saw them withdraw due to illness and miss the cut respectively.

The number 1 spot has been swinging back and forth among this trio for the past few months, but for now there is one undisputed champion. The 20 foot putt on his last summed up the majesty of him, before falling into the arms of his wife Meredith.

“Long day, tough day, but I did a really good job staying patient and getting things sorted out as fast as I could,” Scheffler said. “Having my family come here to watch, including my amazing grandmother, makes this so special.”

Norwegian Viktor Hovland (68) and another American, Tom Hoge (70), finished tied for third, both earning £1.2m, while Justin Rose enjoyed another good week following his win at Pebble Beach last month. past, tying for third place. seventh at eight under par. Rose’s double bogey on the 17th proved costly, as did Aaron Rai’s seven in the same short rough.

The Englishman scored a hole-in-one in round three there, but Pete Dye’s meanest creation, as is often the case, got his emphatic revenge with this quadruple bogey. If Rai, the 28-year-old from Wolverhampton, had par-three, he would have finished tied for fifth and earned roughly £700,000. As he was, he came in tied for 19th and earned roughly £200,000, a half-million spread.

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