Bunker Mentality

Winners and losers from a great Players Championship week

Bunker Mentality

Another Players Championship is in the books, but before we close things out and head down the road to Texas, it's time to take one final look at the winners and losers from this week. We're looking at you, Matt Kuchar.

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Winners

Matt Kuchar: There's no question Kuchar is the biggest winner at the Players Championship. Not only did he pick up the biggest win of his career, he now has people questioning if he's more than just a human ATM machine. At 33, he's not considered a rising star on the PGA Tour, but over the last couple of years, Kuchar has solidified his spot as one of the most consistent players on tour. But that title could be changing after today's win. With a close call at the Masters and now a win at the Players Championship, we could be looking at guy who's primed to take over the "best American in golf" title.

Martin Laird: With the exception of his second-place finish at the winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions, there was nothing about Martin Laird's recent play that made you believe he was going to contend this week. But for at least 72 holes, the Scot found his game, closing with a 5-under 67 that got him within shouting distance of Matt Kuchar late in the day. Plus, cashing a $627,000 second-place check always makes you a winner.

Rickie Fowler: Sure, he ended up missing a makable birdie putt on the 72nd hole that could've made things interesting, but after the roller coaster of emotions Fowler had last week at the Wells Fargo, nobody would've blamed him if he failed to show up with his best. And yet, he somehow found a way to make it happen, going birdie-birdie on the 16th and 17th to really make things interesting. He also led the field in GIR, and finished T6 in putting for the week, which is no easy task. Give the kid a lot of credit for the way he played.

David Toms: A year after his gut-wrenching finish at the Players, Toms managed to put together an incredibly-impressive final round, going 8-under over his final 13 holes to finish the week T-10. His 7-under round moved him up 38 spots on the leaderboard, which is decent. It just goes to show you how low these guys can go when the pressure is off.

Losers

Kevin Na: Even with the waggle (we'll get to that in a moment), Kevin Na seemed to be in complete control for most of the week ... until he reached the fifth hole on Sunday. That's where the wheels came off, as Na bogeyed six of his next nine holes to fall out of contention. He deserves a lot of credit for hanging around for much of the tournament, but when push came to shove, he couldn't stop the bleeding when it mattered.

Kevin Na's waggle: I just ... I just can't commit to writing about Kevin Na's waggle. Seriously, I just can't pull the trigger. OK, now that I got that out of my system, let's talk about Mr. Na's waggle. I understand guys like Sergio Garcia dealt with prolonged waggled in the past, but Na's is on a completely different level. Not only did he have to back off the ball on multiple occasions, he also yelled at himself for not being able to commit to the shot and "pull the trigger." Not only is his waggle slowing down play, but it's taking away from Na's game, which was pretty good for almost the entire week.

Slow play: When the average round is over five hours, you know slow play is a problem. Guys tweeted all week about the pace of play on the course, and how they had to wait on almost every tee box. Earlier in the week Tim Finchem tried to say the issue wasn't a problem, and that, if anything, weekend golfers were the real slowpokes. Sorry, Commish, but after watching this week's tournament, there's no question it's a major problem. The question is, are you going to do anything about it? Probably not.

Tiger Woods: Woods didn't necessarily play bad this week, but after claiming the Masters swing issues were fixed prior to the Wells Fargo Championship, we've now seeing eight rounds of golf that make you wonder if Woods is fooling himself. The ball striking was there at times during the week, but the putter was once again a major problem. Forget putting everything together for 72 holes, it still seems like he's having trouble getting everything on the same page for 18 holes. With the U.S. Open less than a month away, it doesn't look like he'll be a factor the way he's playing at the moment.

Jonathan Wall, Yahoo! Sports

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