Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on The Players Championship, which featured a thrilling finish and a statement victory by Rickie Fowler:
Every year the golf world descends on TPC Sawgrass and every year the debate begins anew over whether The Players has achieved the coveted fifth-major status. But as Sunday’s playoff unfolded in front of an enormous gallery gathered around the Stadium Course’s 17th hole it was abundantly clear that The Players is a very good event. The best event hosted by the PGA Tour – nothing more, nothing less. Careers will always be defined by what players do at the biggest events, which has primarily been the four majors, but that standard in not exclusive to Grand Slam performances. Just ask Rickie Fowler. - Rex Hoggard
So often it seems as if PGA Tour events aren’t really won. They’re survived. With closing so difficult to do under intense pressure, it feels like there are usually two, three and maybe even four guys who lose late on a Sunday ... and there’s one guy left standing with the trophy. Rickie Fowler won The Players Championship in the best way possible. While it might not be much comfort to Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia, they didn’t lose The Players Championship. They both played admirably, well enough to win. They both closed brilliantly to get in a playoff with Fowler. They both provided high drama delivering clutch shots. Fowler just delivered more of them. It made for an unforgettable finish where it felt like we all won getting to watch it. - Randall Mell
There’s an old episode of “The Simpsons” where Homer and Bart are out-foxed by a pair of carnival workers, and the elder Simpson laments, “Well son, we were beaten by the best.” That has to be how Kevin Kisner feels after coming up short in a playoff for the second time in less than a month. Still in search of his first win, Kisner basically ran into a buzzsaw fueled by five years of disappointment in Jim Furyk last month at Harbour Town, then faced a similarly red-hot opponent Sunday at TPC Sawgrass in Rickie Fowler. Kisner made his fair share of birdies down the stretch once again, but he was up against someone who was always going to hole one extra putt.
Kisner is 31 years old, hardly a spring chicken compared to today’s youth movement but right in his prime according to traditional golf career spans. While players never know when they’ll next be on a stage like The Players Championship – just ask Paul Goydos – it seems only fair that Kisner’s recent efforts are rewarded with a win sooner rather than later. - Will Gray