The 5th Major

By: Joe Delaney news services

The 2024 Players Championship at Sawgrass will go down as one of the best and most exciting golf tournaments in its 50-year history.

It will also go down as the first TPC with a back-to-back champion. Scottie Scheffler blistered the Sawgrass course on Sunday going out in 31 on the front nine and vaulting into contention.

He then ripped the back nine with three more birdies to card an unbelievable final round 64 and take home the 4.5 million dollar first place prize. He navigated the final round bogey free and came from way back. Scheffler showed why he’s currently the number one ranked player in the world.

Blessed with great weather on the weekend, the TPC Sawgrass course was on point. Great crowds, great golf and a great finish, the tournament was just outstanding.

From the drama of the 17th hole to the fantastic finish with three golfers trying to find a birdie on 18 to catch Scheffler, it was golf at its best.

Round one began with Rory Mcllroy, Xander Schauffele and Wyndham Clark all dropping  65s on the stadium course.

From day one this was going to be a battle of the heavyweights. Scheffler and RSM winner Ludvig Aberg were two shots back.

Round two at Sawgrass was the Wyndham Clark show. After shooting a 65 in the first round, Clark showed out with another 65 to take a 4-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 2023 U.S. Open winner was on top of his game and looked smooth and confident heading into the weekend. Four shots back were Nick Taylor and Xander Schauffele.

Saturday was moving day at the Players and it did not disappoint.

The 4 shot lead that Wyndham Clark carried into the round disappeared as Xander Schauffele took a one-shot lead into Sunday with Clark right behind him one shot off the pace. Brian Harman followed at 15 under while eventual winner Scottie Scheffler was a full 5 shots back.

Notables were Rory Mcllroy at -9 along with Ludvig Aberg. With 7 golfers within 5 shots of the lead, Sunday was shaping up to be a great day for the Players Championship. And boy oh boy it didn’t disappoint.

Sunday at the Players was a day to remember. With a beautiful spring day in northeast Florida with temps around 80 and a very manageable breeze, the stage was set for some great golf.

Scottie Scheffler began the day 5 shots back and after 3 straight pars, the man found his groove. After his iron shot at the fourth found the hole for an eagle and his putter dropped a long birdies on the fifth and the eighth, he found himself in contention only one shot back. Another putt at the ninth leading to a front nine 31 and he was tied.

But Schauffele, Harman, and Clark weren’t going anywhere and it was game on for one of the most exciting nine holes of golf in TPC history.

Clark began with a bogey on the 10th that dropped him 2 shots back of Schauffele and Scheffler.

Harman sat at -17 two back. By the twelfth all four golfers were within a shot of each other. As they dueled over the next 4 holes, Scheffler went one up and finished first at -20.  His 67, 69, 68, 64 set the bar.

Could the three amigos catch him with 2 holes to play?

What followed was Sunday PGA golf at its best. Schauffele came off 2 bogies to birdie 16. That put him one back with 2 to play.

He would hit a beautiful shot within 10 feet on 17 only to watch his putt and a chance to tie slide by the hole.

Wyndham Clark was next at the island hole with a beautiful approach shot within 5 feet. He knocked it down to get within one.

To the 18th we went with the tournament in the balance. Harman would put it on the green at 18 only to watch his putt slide by and finish one back.

Next Schauffele would miss right and have a long birdie miss. He would finish one back also.

Clark coming off the birdie at 17 would hit a great second into the 18th green. With a chance to tie Scheffler,  he hit a putt that will be replayed for years to come. From about 15 feet the putt was perfect.  Within 2 feet it slightly slides to the left and then lipped in and out of the hole coming to rest back toward Clark.  No one could believe it didn’t drop.

It was a heartbreaker but a fitting end to a Players that will be talked about for years.

Scottie Scheffler takes his second tournament win in a row and his second Players in a row with a come from behind win being 7 shots back at one time on Saturday.

Great golf, great crowds, great finish, and a great tournament.