You Oughta Know: The Players Championship

By May 12, 2012, 11:02 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Heading into the final round of The Players Championship, here are some things you should know.

1. Rickie Fowler is in position to win for the second consecutive week. Fowler shot 6-under 66 on Saturday to trail Kevin Na by three shots.

Fowler won last week at Quail Hollow for his first PGA Tour win. David Duval, the 1999 Players champion, was the last player to earn his first pair of PGA Tour wins in consecutive weeks. In 1997, Duval won at Kingsmill and Disney as the first of 11 wins over three seasons.

Tiger Woods was the last player to win on the PGA Tour in back-to-back weeks, winning the 2009 Buick Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Fowler would also become the youngest champion here at 23 years, 4 months and 30 days. Adam Scott, who won in 2004 in his second try, is the current youngest champion.

2. The odds do not favor 54-hole leader Kevin Na. Of the 38 players to have at least a share of the lead in The Players after three rounds, just 16 have gone on to win. None have won since Stephen Ames in 2006. 

Since the move to May in 2007, no 54-hole leader has won. Here's how far back the May winners of The Players were after three rounds.

2011 - K.J. Choi, 1

2010 - Tim Clark, 2

2009 - Henrik Stenson, 5

2008 - Sergio Garcia, 3

2007 - Phil Mickelson, 1 

3. The leaderboard is American-heavy, with the top five players all representing the United States. An American has not won this championship since Phil Mickelson in 2007.

Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson both live in Sea Island, Ga. Neighbor and Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has won a pair of Players titles, taking the trophy in 1992 and 2003.

4. Players history tells us but a handful of competitors have a chance to win on Sunday. The largest final-round comeback in championship history is six shots, completed by Raymond Floyd across the street in 1981 at Sawgrass Country Club. 

Two players have come from five back on the final day to win at the Stadium Course – Justin Leonard in 1998 and Henrik Stenson in 2009.

Only five players are within five shots of the lead.

5. A pair of major winners are in contention for their first Players title.

The 2007 Masters champion, Zach Johnson, could become the seventh man to win the Players and a green jacket. Phil Mickelson was the last to complete the double when he won here in, yes, 2007.

Ben Curtis is resurgent after winning the Valero Texas Open. The British Open winner from 2003 would become the ninth Players champion to also have been Champion Golfer of the Year.

6. Barring an unlikely charge from far off the lead, the 2012 Players champion will be the 20th different person to win in the last 20 years. Dating back to 1993 when Nick Price began the streak, no player has won here twice. 

Davis Love III, a winner in 1992, took the 2003 title for his second Players Championship.

John Hancock Pivotal Moments

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”