In a Sunday finish with dramatics that were fitting of a major championship, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy added The Players Championship, the biggest annual PGA Tour event that is often dubbed the “Fifth Major,” to his glorious resume.
McIlroy began the final round in the penultimate group alongside Jason Day preparing to chase down 54-hole leader Jon Rahm and ending up outlasting the star-studded field to top 48 year-old Jim Furyk to capture the title at the iconic TPC Sawgrass.
“This is probably the deepest field of the year, with so much on the line,” McIlroy said. “I’m thankful it was my turn this week.”
The win for McIlroy was his 15th PGA Tour victory and he earned $2.25 million for his efforts, the largest check in PGA Tour history. McIlroy also catapulted to the top of the FedEx Cup standings with his win.
“I almost liked today because it was tough,” McIlroy said. “I knew guys weren’t going to get away from us. I knew there was some chances coming up. I stayed patient. Anytime I looked at a leader board, I was pleasantly surprised because I hadn’t fallen two, three, four shots behind.”
McIlroy has committed to play in the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club March 27-31 before he attempts to complete the career grand slam at the Masters in April.
Two-time Players winner Tiger Woods finished in a tie for 30th this week at TPC Sawgrass, but said that he felt optimistic after his final round.
“I’m excited the way I drove it,” Woods said. “I drove the ball well this week. I drove it not quite as long on the weekend with a little bit cooler temperatures, but I was driving it pretty straight, and I was able to shape the golf ball both ways with all three of my woods, which was good to see.”
Woods added that he will play in the WGC-Match Play in Austin in two weeks before heading to the Masters. Woods has won that event on three occasions but has not played in it since it moved to Texas in 2016.
Notables on the Players leaderboard included Dustin Johnson (T5, -13), Tommy Fleetwood (T5, -13), reigning Colonial champion Justin Rose (T8, -12), Jason Day (T8, -12), Adam Scott (T8, -12), Jon Rahm (T12, -11), defending Players champion Webb Simpson (T16, -10), Justin Thomas (T35, -5), Rickie Fowler (T47, -3) and Brooks Koepka (TT56, -2).
Next up on the PGA Tour schedule is the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course. Big names in the field include Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson.