Nuoto

Le foto del nuoto e degli sport acquatici

MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vivienne Koch of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vivienne Koch of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vivienne Koch of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vivienne Koch of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vivienne Koch of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vivienne Koch of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Evangelia Platanioti of Greece performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Grecia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Evangelia Platanioti of Greece performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Grecia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Evangelia Platanioti of Greece performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Grecia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nada Daabousova of Slovakia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Eslovaquia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nada Daabousova of Slovakia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Eslovaquia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nada Daabousova of Slovakia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Eslovaquia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nevena Dimitrijevic of Serbia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nevena Dimitrijevic of Serbia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nevena Dimitrijevic of Serbia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Swietlana Szczepanska of Poland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Polonia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Swietlana Szczepanska of Poland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Polonia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Swietlana Szczepanska of Poland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Polonia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nevena Dimitrijevic of Serbia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nevena Dimitrijevic of Serbia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Nevena Dimitrijevic of Serbia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasiliki Alexandri of Austria performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasiliki Alexandri of Austria performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasiliki Alexandri of Austria performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasiliki Alexandri of Austria performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasiliki Alexandri of Austria performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasiliki Alexandri of Austria performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Gladys Jaccard of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Gladys Jaccard of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Gladys Jaccard of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Gladys Jaccard of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Gladys Jaccard of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Gladys Jaccard of Switzerland performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Suiza, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasilina Khandoshka of Belarus performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Bielorrusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasilina Khandoshka of Belarus performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Bielorrusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasilina Khandoshka of Belarus performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Bielorrusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasilina Khandoshka of Belarus performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Bielorrusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasilina Khandoshka of Belarus performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Bielorrusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Vasilina Khandoshka of Belarus performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Bielorrusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Linda Cerruti of Italy performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Italia) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Linda Cerruti of Italy performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Italia) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Linda Cerruti of Italy performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Italia) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Linda Cerruti of Italy performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Italia) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Linda Cerruti of Italy performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Italia) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Linda Cerruti of Italy performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Italia) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Linda Cerruti won the bronze medal. (Hungría, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Silver medal winner Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine, gold medal winner Varvara Subbotina of Russia and bronze medal winner Linda Cerruti (L-R) of Italy pose with their medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría, Italia, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Silver medal winner Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine, gold medal winner Varvara Subbotina of Russia and bronze medal winner Linda Cerruti (L-R) of Italy pose with their medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría, Italia, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Silver medal winner Yelizaveta Yakhno of Ukraine, gold medal winner Varvara Subbotina of Russia and bronze medal winner Linda Cerruti (L-R) of Italy pose with their medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría, Italia, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Silver medal winner Svetlana Koleshnichenko of Ukraine, gold medal winner Varvara Subbotina of Russia and bronze medal winner Linda Cerruti (L-R) of Italy pose with their medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría, Italia, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Silver medal winner Svetlana Koleshnichenko of Ukraine, gold medal winner Varvara Subbotina of Russia and bronze medal winner Linda Cerruti (L-R) of Italy pose with their medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría, Italia, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Silver medal winner Svetlana Koleshnichenko of Ukraine, gold medal winner Varvara Subbotina of Russia and bronze medal winner Linda Cerruti (L-R) of Italy pose with their medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría, Italia, Ucrania) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia poses with her gold medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia poses with her gold medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia poses with her gold medal during the awarding ceremony of the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Subbotina won the gold medal. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Subbotina won the gold medal. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Subbotina won the gold medal. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Subbotina won the gold medal. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Subbotina won the gold medal. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
MTI118. Budapest (Hungary), 20/05/2018.- Varvara Subbotina of Russia performs in the women's synchronized swimming solo free final of FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest, Hungary, 20 May 2018. Subbotina won the gold medal. (Rusia, Hungría) EFE/EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary HUNGARY OUT
Philippe Coutinho was on hand as La Liga champions Barcelona launched their home kit for the 2018/2019 season at the Montjuic swimming pool.
Coutinho helps unveil Barcelona's new home kit
Philippe Coutinho was on hand as La Liga champions Barcelona launched their home kit for the 2018/2019 season at the Montjuic swimming pool.
Philippe Coutinho was on hand as La Liga champions Barcelona launched their home kit for the 2018/2019 season at the Montjuic swimming pool.
Coutinho helps unveil Barcelona's new home kit
Philippe Coutinho was on hand as La Liga champions Barcelona launched their home kit for the 2018/2019 season at the Montjuic swimming pool.
Philippe Coutinho was on hand as La Liga champions Barcelona launched their home kit for the 2018/2019 season at the Montjuic swimming pool.
Coutinho helps unveil Barcelona's new home kit
Philippe Coutinho was on hand as La Liga champions Barcelona launched their home kit for the 2018/2019 season at the Montjuic swimming pool.
Arsène Wenger's 22-year term as Arsenal manager has now officially finished with the end of his tenure marked with a win over Huddersfield. Despite Wenger only just having officially left the club, rumours surrounding who will replace him have been swirling for some weeks. There are plenty of names in the mix: legendary former players like Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry; big-name managers like Carlo Ancelotti and Max Allegri; and young coaches, like Mikel Arteta, unproven in managerial roles. According to odds from Betfair, Arteta comfortably leads the pack with Brendan Rodgers and Allegri jointly second favourite. We'll be tracking the race as it unfolds on this page until the next Arsenal manager is appointed. Who's winning the race to replace Wenger? The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 10/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons: The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 10/1 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 20/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Luis Enrique Odds: 20/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons:A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 20/1 Pros: A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 50/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Eddie Howe Odds: 40/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 40/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Patrick Viera Odds: 20/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 17 and via Betfair.
Next Arsenal manager odds: how the market has changed and who is now favourite to replace Arsene Wenger
Arsène Wenger's 22-year term as Arsenal manager has now officially finished with the end of his tenure marked with a win over Huddersfield. Despite Wenger only just having officially left the club, rumours surrounding who will replace him have been swirling for some weeks. There are plenty of names in the mix: legendary former players like Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry; big-name managers like Carlo Ancelotti and Max Allegri; and young coaches, like Mikel Arteta, unproven in managerial roles. According to odds from Betfair, Arteta comfortably leads the pack with Brendan Rodgers and Allegri jointly second favourite. We'll be tracking the race as it unfolds on this page until the next Arsenal manager is appointed. Who's winning the race to replace Wenger? The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 10/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons: The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 10/1 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 20/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Luis Enrique Odds: 20/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons:A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 20/1 Pros: A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 50/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Eddie Howe Odds: 40/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 40/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Patrick Viera Odds: 20/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 17 and via Betfair.
Arsène Wenger's 22-year term as Arsenal manager has now officially finished with the end of his tenure marked with a win over Huddersfield. Despite Wenger only just having officially left the club, rumours surrounding who will replace him have been swirling for some weeks. There are plenty of names in the mix: legendary former players like Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry; big-name managers like Carlo Ancelotti and Max Allegri; and young coaches, like Mikel Arteta, unproven in managerial roles. According to odds from Betfair, Arteta comfortably leads the pack with Brendan Rodgers and Allegri jointly second favourite. We'll be tracking the race as it unfolds on this page until the next Arsenal manager is appointed. Who's winning the race to replace Wenger? The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 10/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons: The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 10/1 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 20/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Luis Enrique Odds: 20/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons:A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 20/1 Pros: A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 50/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Eddie Howe Odds: 40/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 40/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Patrick Viera Odds: 20/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 17 and via Betfair.
Next Arsenal manager odds: how the market has changed and who is now favourite to replace Arsene Wenger
Arsène Wenger's 22-year term as Arsenal manager has now officially finished with the end of his tenure marked with a win over Huddersfield. Despite Wenger only just having officially left the club, rumours surrounding who will replace him have been swirling for some weeks. There are plenty of names in the mix: legendary former players like Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry; big-name managers like Carlo Ancelotti and Max Allegri; and young coaches, like Mikel Arteta, unproven in managerial roles. According to odds from Betfair, Arteta comfortably leads the pack with Brendan Rodgers and Allegri jointly second favourite. We'll be tracking the race as it unfolds on this page until the next Arsenal manager is appointed. Who's winning the race to replace Wenger? The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 10/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons: The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 10/1 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 20/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Luis Enrique Odds: 20/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons:A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 20/1 Pros: A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 50/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Eddie Howe Odds: 40/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 40/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Patrick Viera Odds: 20/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 17 and via Betfair.
Five-time Olympic swimming champion Katie Ledecky has smashed her own 1,500m freestyle world record by five seconds
Five-time Olympic swimming champion Katie Ledecky has smashed her own 1,500m freestyle world record by five seconds
Five-time Olympic swimming champion Katie Ledecky has smashed her own 1,500m freestyle world record by five seconds
Five-time Olympic swimming champion Katie Ledecky has smashed her own 1,500m freestyle world record by five seconds (AFP Photo/François-Xavier MARIT)
Five-time Olympic swimming champion Katie Ledecky has smashed her own 1,500m freestyle world record by five seconds
Five-time Olympic swimming champion Katie Ledecky has smashed her own 1,500m freestyle world record by five seconds (AFP Photo/François-Xavier MARIT)
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsene Wenger replacement: Definitive guide to the runners and riders for the new Arsenal manager
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsene Wenger replacement: Definitive guide to the runners and riders for the new Arsenal manager
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsene Wenger replacement: Definitive guide to the runners and riders for the new Arsenal manager
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsene Wenger replacement: Definitive guide to the runners and riders for the new Arsenal manager
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Arsene Wenger replacement: Definitive guide to the runners and riders for the new Arsenal manager
Arsenal's announcement that Arsène Wenger will step down as manager after 22 years in charge sent shockwaves through English football. Despite widespread acceptance that a parting of the ways was the correct decision, nobody anticipated the timing of the news. After days of tributes and retrospectives on Wenger's reign, attention turned to who Arsenal would choose to succeed the most successful manager in the club's history. Would it be a legendary former player, a youthful head coach with big ideas or a charismatic manager with stature and gravitas? The search is on, and here is everything you need to know about the process. What are Arsenal looking for? Who better to ask than chief executive Ivan Gazidis? In his press conference at the Emirates the day Wenger's departure was announced, he outlined some of the attributes Arsenal value in a manger (without giving too much away, of course). Gazidis said: What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club, I want to see someone who can continue that for our fans and our fans want to see that, someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. I also think there is a significant piece in Arsenal Football Club in how the candidate represents the club and I think it’s important to Arsenal fans. So those qualities. Gazidis also spoke about the importance of a coach who gives opportunities to young players, before adding: I think we’ve got to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar screens. And that doesn’t mean that we have to make an another appointment that not everybody is thinking about and talking about. But it does mean we need to be bold in the appointment and get the person that we believe is the right person. Another priority for Arsenal is finding a candidate who can heal the divisions in the fanbase. Although most supporters were unified in their belief the time was right for change, the last five years and more have been marred by in-fighting among Arsenal fans. So much so that they have become their own online 'meme'. Apathy overtook anger this season, with thousands of season ticket holders staying away and leaving their seats empty. While Arsenal will not make a populist appointment simply to appease the masses, they will want to avoid a corrosive character who will re-open old wounds. Our man Jeremy Wilson reports that Arsenal are exploring 'a range of younger head coach-style options', and want someone 'with the coaching track-record to bring out the best in the existing squad while also progressing the club’s younger players'. Re-uniting the fan base will be one of Arsenal's priorities Credit: Reuters What have Arsenal done previously? One of the most intriguing aspects of the story. Arsenal have not needed to appoint a manager since 1996, so when trying to second guess their intentions we are starting from scratch. New head of football relations Raul Sanllehi oversaw several managerial changes at Barcelona, while new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has seen coaches come and go at Borussia Dortmund. This is Gazidis' first experience of the process, however. Arsenal as a club do have a history of making the kind of left-field, 'bold' appointments Gazidis spoke of. Wenger himself famously arrived from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, George Graham was manager of second division Millwall while 1971 double-winner Bertie Mee was a physio. Arsenal surprised everyone with the appointment of Arsene Wenger Credit: ALLSPORT That could be music to the ears of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has had success in another sporting venture by appointing a young up-and-comer. His NFL franchise the LA Rams were stagnant under long-serving coach Jeff Fisher, but their fortunes have been revived by Sean McVay - the youngest coach in NFL history. Some clues for Arsenal fans there, perhaps. Who are the key decision makers? Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat will all have a say, with Matt Law reporting in the Daily Telegraph last month that the trio each have their preferred candidates, which could be a source of tension. Ultimately, it will be down to Gazidis to present Kroenke with their recommendations who will sign off on any decision. Kroenke could be assisted by son Josh, who spent three months in London this year familiarising himself with Arsenal operations. The younger Kroenke is thought to be a key ally of Gazidis, and his opinion could prove important. Father and Son: Stand and Josh Kroenke Credit: Getty Images What do the betting markets suggest? The odds on next Arsenal manager were quite volatile in the weeks before the announcement, as is usually the case in markets with low liquidity (not many bets being matched). The news that Thomas Tuchel is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain has seen him fall out of the running, while Massimiliano Allegri and Zeljko Buvac have moved to the front of the market. Neither favourite looks a cast-iron certainty, however. There have been nibbles on Eddie Howe and Carlo Ancelotti at bigger prices. Change in Arsenal manager odds Buvac is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger What now for Arsene Wenger? Wenger has said he will take a four or five week break at the end of the season to review his future. The Frenchman has expressed a desire to continue working, and will be at the World Cup in Russia as a television pundit. Those who know Wenger say he is still full of enthusiasm and vitality, and the 68-year-old is in good health. There are long-running links to the France job, though Wenger's love of day-to-day work on the training ground could put him off international management. Wenger has said it would be 'difficult' emotionally to manage another Premier League team, but hopes he has not managed his last match in the Champions League. All that suggests he might be open to a European club job. What next for Arsene Wenger - the departing Arsenal manager's possible destinations The contenders Mikel Arteta Odds: 1/3 Pros: The emotional bond fans felt towards Wenger could be maintained with the appointment of a former player, with supporters rooting for 'one of their own'. Not many players are offered jobs by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal as soon as they retire so Arteta is obviously a smart cookie. Will have learnt so much in two years under Guardiola and potentially has a very a high ceiling. A club man who will defer to the new structure and hierarchy. Cons: No managerial experience. Arteta has also played alongside several members of Arsenal's squad - how will that affect his ability to make ruthless and difficult decisions? Possible that fans will have little patience with a rookie. Brendan Rodgers Odds: 6/1 Pros:Coaches attractive and progressive football, and has an impressive history of developing young attackers. Led Liverpool to within touching distance of their first title since 1990, and has done all that could be asked of him (and a bit more) at Celtic. Cons:The teeth, the tan, the catchphrases. Arsenal became a running joke in the late-Wenger years, and Rodgers also lends himself to parody. Would be deeply unpopular with the fans, something likely to count against him. His Liverpool side were also beset by defensive weaknesses, the very area Arsenal urgently need improvement. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Massimiliano Allegri Odds: 13/2 Pros: A proven track record at the highest level of European football, Allegri has guided to Juventus to successive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals. Like Wenger, is a highly respected figure within football who would be a classy public face for the club. Already has experience of succeeding as a much-loved manager (Antonio Conte) and won over the Juve fans who were unhappy with his appointment. Would bring a more pragmatic approach to Arsenal's football. Cons: Liverpool and Spurs have bettered Arsenal in the past two seasons with coaches who have a clear playing identity or 'philosophy'. Allegri is not quite like that. The Italian said "You think tackling, passing & running wins in football. Footballing discussions in Italy is all about tactics and theory, you’re ruining the game. You don’t look at players or skills, but only formations. This is what damages our football." His tactical flexibility is a virtue, but there is a school of thought it is best served fine-tuning elite teams. Arsenal are more of a project at present. Carlo Ancelotti Odds: 14/1 Pros: A safe pair of hands who could steer Arsenal through what some believe could be a difficult transition. Essentially, he would ensure the club avoid a 'Moyes' situation. Has managed in England before, winning the double with Chelsea in 2010. A friendly and avuncular figure who the fans would warm too. Cons: Too similar to Wenger in his methods. Arsenal watchers have long felt their players suffer due to a lack of prescriptive coaching, with Wenger leaving them to find their own solutions. Ancelotti is also more of a manager than a coach, and a laissez-faire approach could result in more of the same. Luis Enrique won the treble at Barcelona Credit: Getty Images Luis Enrique Odds: 12/1 Pros: Has a crystal clear idea of how he wants football to be played, and won the treble at Barcelona. Enrique has a working relationship with Sanllehi, and unlike other names on this list has experience of managing a big European club. Cons: A disastrous spell at Roma is a black mark on his CV, and reports suggest he will make huge financial demands both contractually and in the transfer market. Enrique can also be a spiky and abrasive character who had frequent run-ins with the press at Barcelona. While Wenger was no stranger to the odd moan, he was also a master of charm in press conferences. Moreover, while it would be ridiculous to say managing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is 'easy', it does make his work at the Nou Camp difficult to assess. Zeljko Buvac is a surprise candidate Credit: Reuters Julian Nagelsmann Odds: 14/1 Pros:A possible dark horse who ticks plenty of Arsenal's boxes. Was appointed Hoffenheim head coach at the age of 28 in 2015, leading them away from relegation trouble in his first season and qualifying for the Champions League in his second. Coaches a dynamic, energetic style based on fast recoveries of possession and looks a huge prospect. Would fit into Arsenal's structure seamlessly, and is another networked German. Cons: The move might be two or three years too soon for him. Nagelsmann might be better off developing elsewhere. Zeljko Buvac Odds: 20/1 Pros: Known as 'The Brain', Buvac is a highly-regarded coach with an intimate knowledge of Arsenal and the Premier League working as Jurgen Klopp's No.2 at Liverpool. Buvac would not demand a transfer warchest - his priority would be getting Arsenal training methods up to speed and extracting the most out of a talented, if unbalanced, squad. Would bring ideas and necessary organisation to Arsenal's play. Cons: Has not managed since 2001, does not speak English and has never dealt with media commitments. It seems slightly strange that a 57-year-old has not gone it alone before if he really had managerial ambitions. A significant section of the fanbase would greet him with scepticism. Eddie Howe Odds: 25/1 Pros: See Rodgers. There is no faulting his work at Bournemouth, and Arsenal just might be attracted to the idea of swimming against the stream and appointing an English manager. Cons: It would feel a bit 'Moyes-ey'. A spell at Burnley did not quite work out for Howe, raising suspicions he might be uniquely suited to Bournemouth. No big club experience. Like Rodgers, his teams also leak cheap goals. Who will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Joachim Löw Odds: 33/1 Pros: He's a world champion, and has also built a successful team around Mesut Özil. With Per Mertesacker as head of the academy and Arsenal's recent purchases from the Bundesliga, there are obvious connections. Tactically fluid. Cons: Löw has not managed at club level since he left Austria Vienna in 2004, and the demands of a top club job are very different to guiding a team through a summer tournament. Leonardo Jardim Odds: 33/1 Pros: Some of the brightest talents in European football have passed through Jardim's hands at Monaco, and he stitched them together in a stylish team that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Is used to working at a club that cuts its cloth accordingly in the transfer market, selling their best players for huge fees and reinvesting in the squad. Arsenal will not plan on losing players at the frequency of Monaco, but they also have to be realistic about their place in the financial pecking order. Only 43 years old, too. Cons:Far from a compelling personality, Arsenal might want more from their figurehead. Will Arsenal's scouting be as fruitful as Monaco's? Could Patrick Vieira be the man to succeed Arsene Wenger? Credit: AP Patrick Vieira Odds: 33/1 Pros: See Arteta, but with the added advantage of managing a team of his own (New York City in the MLS). A club legend who could galvanise the fan-base, and who will have the instant respect of the players. Cons: His abilities as a coach are very difficult to ascertain. While Vieira's ability as a player is undisputed, he also had a difficult relationship with the club during summer sagas that saw him push for a move, particularly when Real Madrid came calling. Would he do the same as a manager? Odds correct on May 15 and via Betfair/Paddy Power.
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Webb Simpson dominates Players Championship to secure brilliant four-shot victory
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Webb Simpson dominates Players Championship to secure brilliant four-shot victory
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Webb Simpson dominates Players Championship to secure brilliant four-shot victory
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Webb Simpson dominates Players Championship to secure brilliant four-shot victory
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Webb Simpson dominates Players Championship to secure brilliant four-shot victory
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Webb Simpson dominates Players Championship to secure brilliant four-shot victory
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Webb Simpson dominates Players Championship to secure brilliant four-shot victory
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.
Webb Simpson dominates Players Championship to secure brilliant four-shot victory
Players Championship leaderboard It is fair to call Webb Simpson’s victory here “Tigeresque” and not simply because his Players Championship glory was utterly dominant. The American barely displayed a trace of nerves, despite a player of the stature of Tiger Woods, himself, making inroads into his lead. Impregnable and impervious. In true Tiger-style, Simpson sucked the atmosphere out of the competition and the fight out of his rivals. Simpson could even afford the comfort of hitting his approach into the water on the 18th. By then his double-bogey was an irrelevance. On 18-under Simpson had won by four anyway and his pursuers could only doff their visors to a major champion without a title in five years who suddenly recalled the location of the winner’s enclosure. As well as the $2m winning cheque, there was also the prospect of a third Ryder Cup appearance for Simpson to celebrate. Alas, it was a difficult week for Europe, with only Tommy Fleetwood finishing in the top 10. The Englishman re-emphasised his quality with a tie for seventh on 11-under after a 68. Despite fading over the latter holes to finish with a 69, Woods more than suggested that barring injury or personal capitulation, he will also be in Jim Furyk’s side in Paris and it was the 14-time major winner who led the plaudits to Simpson. Webb Simpson celebrates with his wife Taylor after clinching victory Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Simpson’s achievement - with Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffel and Jason Dufner in second on 14-under - should not be underestimated and neither should it be dismissed as a one-off. Do not forget that the 32-year-old won the US Open in 2012 and challenged Luke Donald for the US money list title in 2011. As a confirmed and highly talented “belly” putter, Simpson’s career was derailed by the anchoring ban. Initially, he tried to master the short putter, but having utilised the longer version since his teenage years he just could not succeed. American success in the majors It was only after a conversation with South African Tim Clark, the winner here in 2010, that he re-employed the elongated stick and jammed it under his arm in the guise of Matt Kuchar. The effect has been stunning. Simpson has followed up a raft of top 10s with the second biggest win of his career, which included a course-record tying 19-under. This wicked Pete Dye creation is not the easiest place to hold a big lead, but he did so in almost nerveless fashion, allowing the record seven-stroke deficit only to shrink to four shots at any one stage. Woods, Dufner and Danny Lee were the most valiant of pursuers and inevitably the spotlight fell on the first-named of that trio. He was infuriated to double-bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie for 11th in a group with England’s Ian Poulter, but there can be no doubting what he brought to the weekend show. The 42-year-old made the cut “on the number” and was tied for 68th on Saturday morning. The third round 65 could have and should have been a 63, perhaps a 62, but at the very least it highlighted his well-being. And the crowds responded in vast numbers and with the Tiger roars of yesteryear. Yes, they were warranted. After requiring only 11 puts on the front half during his 65 on Saturday, Woods needed only 10 this time. He one-putted the 11th and 12th as well and at the stage anything seemed possible. It was not to be. Tiger Woods got the galleries excited before his challenge fell away Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote “For a while it was really special out there,” Woods said. “It’s weird, not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.. If I would have had the game I had this weekend at the beginning of the week, maybe I could have given Webb a run.” Indeed, he could have and this was only his eighth comeback event after all those years of agony and while some of the hype has been over the top, nobody would have envisaged him being high on this leaderboard just a few months ago. Neither Woods nor Simpson should be written off anytime soon. In all the excitement that was also a new world No 1 crowned. After 15 months Dustin Johnson finally relinquished the throne to Justin Thomas, who shot a 66 to finish on 11-under. 12:07AM Webb Simpson is Players Champion He started the day with a seven-shot lead and he ends it with four. In honesty, Webb Simpson's victory was never in doubt at any point during the final round. Total domination, even if he did go round over par for the day. The margin had already been built. The champion. 12:03AM SIMPSON VICTORIOUS He has done it. Webb Simpson ends with a double-bogey to finish on -18 and win the Players Championship by four shots. A brilliant performance on the final day. 11:57PM Wet ending Would you believe it? Webb Simpson has just overhit his second shot on the 18th and seen his ball roll into the water beyond the green!! It won't matter at all, but not quite the perfect finish. The good news is he can make a 9 and still win. pic.twitter.com/2LTVCdsPZs— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:56PM New world No 1 Confirmed (after Dustin Johnson finishes -10): Not so small side note: Justin Thomas goes to No. 1 in the world Monday morning.— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 13, 2018 11:54PM Costly error A simple putt goes astray on the 18th, which sees Jason Dufner drop out of that group on -14 and join the gaggle on -13 instead. So it will be Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele who share the second-place prize money. 11:49PM Wide margin So Webb Simpson has SIX SHOTS to play with as he approaches the 18th tee. 11:48PM Great putt Lovely. Webb Simpson holes a cracker to secure a par on the 17th. He stays -20, while Xander Schauffele finishes with a birdie to become the fourth player on -14. Soon. ��#THEPLAYERSpic.twitter.com/syMUWDGcY3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 11:42PM In the middle Nice and safe from Webb Simpson, right into the heart of the island green on the 17th... 11:40PM Leaving it late Quite some late charge from Charl Schwartzel as the South African birdies the last to finish -5 for the day and -14 for the tournament. That's level second at the moment. 11:38PM It gets better A fully deserved win is heading Webb Simpson's way and he is guaranteeing it in style, birdying the 16th to move to -20. Tiger Woods has just offered some thoughts on his day: I got myself up there. I think I got within four of the lead at one point. But it just didn't happen. I played so well today - even better than yesterday - and got nothing out of it. I really played well this weekend. I felt really good with the putter this entire week. If I had played the last five holes in three or four under par I could have been right there. 11:32PM Oh Danny boy No! Tiger Woods had some late water and so did Jordan Spieth. Now Danny Lee joins them as he aims for the pin on the 16th and ends up with a splash. Things have not gone well for the Kiwi on the back nine. 11:29PM Going nowhere The leaderboard has barely changed in the last hour. Webb Simpson out front on -19, Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker on -14, and four players on -13. That was the state of play at 10.30pm and it is still the state of play now. 11:24PM Tiger: over and out A par at the 18th finishes Tiger Woods' action. He ends on -11. It had looked far more promising about an hour or so ago, but the signs for the future are there. Could he win another major? Don't see why not. Credit: ap Woods' playing partner Jordan Spieth ends with a quadruple bogey for -6 after finding the water on the 18th. 11:20PM Walking away Can Jimmy Walker find a birdie at the 16th to move alone to -15? Nope. Another one fails to land. No one has gone lower than -14 all day aside from Webb Simpson. 11:11PM More places, more cash A strong finish from South African Charl Schwartzel with a third birdie in five holes moves him to -13. There's a lot of money at stake for every place here. 11:08PM Steady and brilliantly unspectacular This is expert stuff from Webb Simpson. He's not attacking any flags because he knows there is no need whatsoever. The middle of the green will do and he finds it again on the 15th to set up what should be another solid par. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods misses his bogey putt and drops two shots to go to -11. 11:03PM Tiger goes swimming Deary, deary me. It had all begun so well today, but Tiger Woods has just stuck his tee shot into the water on the par-3, 17th. "The wind came back into me," he seems to say to his caddie. A sad end to his final round... Tiger Woods has found the water at the par-3 17th. pic.twitter.com/Var1WP92hN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 10:57PM That inevitable feeling It's just not happening for Tiger Woods in these final few holes. Another birdie putt just slides away and he remains -13. Behind him, Webb Simpson is judging things beautifully, taking no risks and ensuring his par on the 14th with zero fuss. Victory is coming. 10:52PM Too Var back It won't be enough to trouble Webb Simpson, but Harold Varner III taps in his birdie putt at the 17th to move into the bunch of players tied for fourth on -13. No one has been able to apply any sort of real pressure onto the leader though and Danny Lee is in plenty of bother after a wayward tee shot on the 14th. 10:45PM Step by step Another par for Webb Simpson on the 13th. Nothing too difficult. Nothing too silly. Nothing too ambitious. And then trophy and a cheque for almost $2million will be his. Jimmy Walker misses his put for birdie to reduce the five-shot lead at the top. 10:34PM Who wants it? This is just about staying alive. Danny Lee drops a shot after that drive into the water to slip to -13 and Tiger Woods misses his birdie shot to remain -13, but Webb Simpson fails to convert a very simple birdie chance which means no damage caused for those chasing him. 10:27PM Soggy ending Oh dear. Is that it for Danny Lee? The man currently sitting in second place drives his ball well left of the fairway and straight into the water on the 12th. His charge could be done and dusted. Meanwhile, Jimmy Walker completes his hat-trick of birdies to join that tie for second on -14. 10:24PM Joining in the fun A couple of new names have quietly joined the ranks of those on -13 with Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele both birdying the 11th and 12th. There are four players in that tie for fourth place. 10:20PM Simpson pulling away Missed putts all round for the chasing pack: Danny Lee misses his for birdie (-14), Jason Day (-13) misses his for birdie, Tiger Woods misses his for par to drop back to (-13)... BUT Webb Simpson makes his for birdie to move to -19. 10:12PM Big hitter Tiger Woods has just driven the ball 354 yards at the 14th. That's the second-longest drive of the day. 10:10PM Queuing up Well, it's not only Tiger Woods putting pressure on Webb Simpson. Danny Lee is also -14 and Jason Dufner has just birdied to join them in a three-way tie for second. 10:08PM 11 shots? Long way to go, but: Tiger was 11 back to begin the final round. The largest final round deficit overcome to win in PGA Tour history is 10 shots by Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 9:59PM Is it happening??? Webb Simpson misses his par putt at the 10th and he slips back to -18! 9:56PM There it is Tiger Woods sinks the birdie and there is now no on between him (-14) and leader Webb Simpson (-19). Tied for second. -6 thru 12.@TigerWoods is on fire. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/iiqozcfR8a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:50PM Prowling (... and other such animal cliches) Tiger Woods is playing quite brilliantly today. Easily the best since returning to the circuit. He has just played a sumptuous chip shot right next to the pin on the 12th and another birdie must surely await... 9:48PM Ingurlund How are the English contingent doing? Tommy Fleetwood is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Ian Poulter is -3 for the day through 12 and -11 overall. Justin Rose is in the clubhouse after finishing -6 for the day and -9 overall. Matthew Fitzpatrick is in the clubhouse after finishing -1 for the day and -5 overall. 9:41PM The Tiger is roaring What an effort from Tiger Woods for an eagle at the 11th as he sticks a monster 25-yard putt a few inches wide of the mark. That allows him the simplest of birdie putts to move to -13. Danny Lee then misses a very gettable birdie putt on the ninth, before Webb Simpson holds his nerve to drain a six-footer and maintain his five-shot lead heading into the back nine. The eagle *just* slides by for Tiger. Another birdie and he's T3. #LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/hiTCOwIPzU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:36PM Best in the world So Justin Thomas has finished his great final round -6 and ends the Players Championship -11. He looks destined to be crowned world No 1 before he departs this evening. Here he is: I've put a lot of hard work in. I know you don't get a trophy for it but it would be something that would be really cool. I hope to keep it for a long time. If [Dustin Johnson]wants to make some pars coming in [on the back nine] that wouldn't upset me. 9:26PM Simpson slips up This is tricky for Webb Simpson. He needs to sink this 12-footer for par... but somehow it stays out. The ball did a full 360 around the lip of the hole, but doesn't drop and the leader slips back to -19. Can anyone take advantage? Danny Lee remains five shots back. 9:21PM Ouch A seven-foot birdie putt goes begging for Tiger Woods. 9:12PM On the way to glory A first birdie of the day for Webb Simpson means he improves his score to -20 and further reduces the chances of him somehow blowing his march to the title in Sawgrass. Jason Day then chips in from the bunker on the ninth for an eagle to move to -13. 9:04PM Here they come... A birdie for Tiger Woods ensures he finishes the front nine in 32 and moves him to -12 where he briefly joins Jason Dufner... only for Dufner to then sink another birdie and drop his score to -13. Tough lie? No problem for Tiger. �� He opens with a 4-under 32 @THEPLAYERSChamp.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/8MhQ0Oxi6a— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 9:02PM New world No 1? Another birdie at the 16th sees Justin Thomas move into a tie for fourth at -11. Should he finish in that position, he will become the new world No 1 unless Dustin Johnson finishes third or higher. Johnson is currently -10. And Thomas has just stuck his tee shot to within six foot of the cup on the par 3, 17th... 8:55PM Joining the pack Hello Ian Poulter. The Englishman birdies the ninth to take his place among the cluster of people at -11 waiting for Webb Simpson to slip up. 8:49PM Pars will do He's not exactly struggling, but Webb Simpson is far from his fluent best so far today. A fifth par in the opening five holes will do though. That's the benefit of a having a five-stroke lead. There is a huge pack behind the leading duo of Simpson and Danny Lee, and Jason Dufner is the first to stick his neck out with a third birdie of the day to move alone to -12. 8:36PM The chasing pack Nothing doing for Jordan Spieth today. Seven pars in a row means he stays -8, while Tiger Woods knocks in a tricky par putt to remain -11 alongside Brooks Koepka, Jamie Lovemark, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Xander Schauffele. 8:32PM Who is Danny Lee? The identity of the man chasing Webb Simpson is somewhat surprising considering Danny Lee is ranked just 186 in the world and is on a fairly awful run of form. Of the 12 events he has played in 2018, he has only made the cut four times and he has not finished in the top 10 since last October. Another par on the fourth matches Simpson's par at the same hole. 8:22PM Kiwi pressure Not quite for Tiger Woods as he slips a birdie putt just wide of the hole at the sixth. A missed opportunity, especially considering Webb Simpson has just played a wonderful recovery shot out of the bunker to salvage par at the third. New Zealander Danny Lee is doing what he can to put pressure on the leader with another birdie to move -14 and reduce the deficit to five strokes. 8:13PM I Love the way you move Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day, sinking another birdie putt to move -7 for the day and -12 overall. That puts him seven behind Webb Simpson, who misses his birdie effort and stays -19. His playing partner Danny Lee claws a shot back at the second to move one shot closer on -13. It's all happening. 8:09PM Timing it to perfection? Tiger Woods is -12 in his last 30 holes. He has 1 bogey in that stretch.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 8:08PM The surge is on Ooooooooh yes. Tiger Woods sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt for his third successive birdie! He celebrates with the merest flick of a hand. Not even a hint of a smile. He's into a tie for third. 8:05PM No 1 fight There has been a fine recovery from Justin Thomas after his double-bogey at the seventh, with three birdies in his last four holes. That has seen him move to -10 as he looks to put pressure on Dustin Johnson for the world No 1 spot. Johnson is also -10. 7:57PM Par will do Webb Simpsonmakes par at the first to stay -19. That's all he needs to do. Anything other than total capitulation should be enough to see him home. 7:52PM Game on Is the charge on? Tiger Woods with another birdie to join seven others at -10. Chesson Hadley has moved one better alongside Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark on -11. A bit of news from the foot of the table, where Sergio Garcia rounded off proceedings with a disappointing triple-bogey at the 18th to finish +4 for the day and level par for the tournament. Roll it in, @TigerWoods. -2 thru 4.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/SfAhq3Rxap— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 7:46PM Top of the pile Here comes Webb Simpson standing at the first tee. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty sparse crowd around the runaway leader, with by far the biggest support following Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods around the course. Simpson steps up and creams his first drive down the middle of the fairway. 7:41PM Roar No 1 Tiger Woodsholes his first birdie of the day at the third and he is now -9. He couldn't could he? Everyone will be hoping for a big collapse from Webb Simpson to make this competitive. 7:39PM We have movement Jamie Lovemark is having a cracking day and it's just got even better with another birdie to move to -11. Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, has birdied two of his opening four holes and is now -10. Everyone is now out on course aside from the final pair of Webb Simpson and Danny Lee. 7:22PM Update 7:21PM Shut up SHOUTING 'GET IN THE HOLE' AFTER LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SHOT TIGER WOODS HITS IS THE MOST TIRESOME THING IN THE WORLD OF GOLF. 7:19PM Steady start Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth failed to find the green with their second shots at the first hole. But both kick things off with par. Near the top of the leaderboard, Jamie Lovemark and Chesson Hadley have moved to -10. 7:10PM Hit the dech Disaster for Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai maestro was flying high tied for third at -11, but they QUADRUPLE BOGEYED the 17th to plummet down the leaderboard. He is now -7 with one hole to play 7:05PM The greatest Here they are. Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are go, go, go. Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth. Play well. ��#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/mGHFUXnIGd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:57PM Wilted Rose Not quite to be for Justin Rose, whose superb round ends with a whimper and a bogey at the 18th. That's a shame and means he finishes -6 for the day and -9 overall. A fine effort nonetheless. 6:49PM Tiger time I have no desire to speak ill of young children. So I shall just post this here without comment... Everybody wants a piece of @TigerWoods.#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/P3UeB8Bov3— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 6:45PM Congestion up ahead As the men who were sitting pretty overnight prepare to get their final rounds under way, they will note that they have been joined (and surpassed) by all manner of people. Alex Noren has just sunk his seventh birdie of the day to move into a tie for third at -11. Not such good news for Justin Thomas, who is looking to get back on track after sticking his drive into the water on the seventh and taking a double-bogey. 6:39PM Moving on up Justin Rose misses his putt, which means a par for him on the 17th. Barely anyone is dropping shots today and American trio Jamie Lovemark, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer have all moved -9. 6:34PM Rose on the march Justin Rose is flying. A sixth birdie in seven holes sees the Englishman move to -10 and he has the glorious par 3, 17th ahead of him. Up he steps... Oh what a shot! A cracking effort to stick the ball within six feet of the hole. Another birdie could be on the cards. 6:28PM No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Noren Hello Alex Noren. The Swede began this final round at -4, but has just secured three consecutive birdies at 11, 12 and 13, to move -10. World No 1-chasing Justin Thomas is also enjoying life right now and has become one of eight men at -9. The number of players within 10 shots of the lead has grown to 13, having started the day at seven. 6:14PM Feeling good There are some seriously low scores on offer out there today. Hot on the heels of Brooks Koepka's 63, Kiradech Aphibarnrat has just sunk back-to-back birdies to move to -8 for the day and -11 overall. Here's a reminder of the late tee times: -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) 6:09PM Course record Brooks Koepka’s birdie putt for 62 at the last lips out, which means he ties the course record with a 63 and heads to the clubhouse tied for third on -11. 6:03PM Kiss from a Rose Justin Rosehas just nailed his sixth successive birdie. The Englishman is now -9 with four holes to play. Keegan Bradley has birdied and eagled the first two holes to join him at -9, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat's day gets better and better. He is now -7 for the day and -10 for the torunament. 5:53PM Albatross in action This is what it looked like: Here it is!@BKoepka one-hops in his second shot at the par-5 16th for an ALBATROSS!!#LiveUnderParpic.twitter.com/WkILTIl7VQ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:51PM It gets better Brooks Koepka has just followed up that albatross with a birdie at the 17th. He's -9 for the day!!! That puts him eight shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Justin Rose has birdied his last five holes and is now -8 for the tournament. 5:44PM ALBATROSS ALERT Brooks Koepkawas already loving life at -6 for the day, but HE'S ONLY GONE AND HOLED A 207-YARDER FOR AN ALBATROSS!!!!! Here is Koepka at the 523yd, par-5, 16th. Shot one: 307yd. Shot two: 207yd. The maths don't make sense, but the result is an albatross to take him -8 for the day and -10 for the tournament. He's in third place. ALBATROSS!@bkoepka holes out from 208 yards on No. 16. It's the second albatross on 16 in @THEPLAYERSChamp history! pic.twitter.com/GTvJqArXXb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 13, 2018 5:38PM The best in the world Among the various subplots at play today is the battle for the world No 1 ranking. It is currently held by Dustin Johnson, but fellow American Justin Thomas is snapping at his heels and could snatch top spot by the end of the day depending on various complicated scenarios. Johnson is -10 and does not tee off for another two hours, but Thomas is already out there and has begun with a birdie at the first and an eagle at the second! He's now -8 for the tournament. 5:31PM Rose-tinted glasses A bit of news from lower down the leaderboard, where Justin Rose has just birdied 9, 10 and 11 to move -6 for the tournament. It's lovely conditions out there and most of the guys are flourishing. That doesn't apply to Jason Kokrak though, who has bogeyed three of the first five holes today. 5:15PM Rat attack Oh my word, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is flying. He's just birdied the ninth as well, which means he's gone out in 30 and is suddenly -9 for the tournament. That puts him tied for fourth on the leaderboard. Credit: getty images 5:12PM Rat-a-tat-tat Kiradech Aphibarnratis having a stormer. Following an eagle on the second and a birdie at four, he has also just birdied seven and eight to move -5 for the day and -8 overall. Quite a start to the day for the man from Thailand. Oh, and Ryan Moore has just joined him at -8 after three birdies and an eagle in five holes!!! He's 13 holes into his final round. 5:01PM Simpson's to lose The omens look good for the man at the top of the leaderboard: Webb Simpson leads by 7 shots entering today. The largest 54-hole lead lost in PGA Tour history is 6 shots, done on seven occasions, most recently by Dustin Johnson at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 Notable final round scoring average ranks this season on #PGATour: Jordan Spieth - 1st Justin Thomas - 4th (can become World No 1 today) Webb Simpson - 7th Jason Day - 36th Tiger Woods - 71st Dustin Johnson - T-47th Danny Lee - T-203rd— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 13, 2018 4:49PM What's going on? So it's a couple of hours until anyone you would think has a shot at winning this thing begins. But there has been plenty of action already today lower down the leaderboard. American Ryan Moore has been the biggest mover and is -5 through 11 to go -7 for the tournament. Quite some finish from him. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-4 through seven) and EmilianoGrillo (-3 through four) have also joined Moore at -7 for the tournament. 4:41PM Head of the field Here is your leaderboard after three rounds, with tee off times (all time BST): -19: Webb Simpson (7.45pm) -12: Danny Lee (7.45pm) -10: Dustin Johnson (7.35pm) -9: Jason Dufner (7.35pm), Jimmy Walker (7.25pm), Xander Schauffele (7.25pm), Jason Day (7.15pm), Charl Schwartzel (7.15pm) -8: Jordan Spieth (7.05pm), Tiger Woods (7.05pm), Tommy Fleetwood (6.55pm), Ian Poulter (6.55pm), Harold Varner III (6.45pm), Matt Kuchar (6.45pm), Patrick Cantlay (6.35pm) Tiger Woods is 11 shots off the lead Credit: getty images 4:28PM Day of destiny Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the final round from Sawgrass. Some of the lesser lights are already out on course, but it will be a while until the big names get their quest for glory under way. More on that to come. For now, here is a snippet from our man James Corrigan on yesterday's action: Not even all the frenzy and noise created by Tiger Woods posting a 65, his lowest score of the year and his lowest ever at The Players Championships, could distract Webb Simpson from his record-breaking Sawgrass purpose here. Yes, there was plenty of movement on moving day, most notably from Woods and Jordan Spieth who also lit up the third round with his own 65, but as far as Simpson was concerned he was not going anywhere but further away. A 68 lengthened his lead from five shots to seven and despite the Stadium Course’s propensity to make circumstances change very quickly, it is very difficult to see the 2012 US Open champion blowing this advantage, the largest after 54 holes in the tournament’s 44-year history. Simpson’s 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. Fellow American Danny Lee is his nearest challenger on 12-under following a 70, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dustin Johnson, on 10-under in third after a 69. The world No 1 knows he is guaranteed to hold on to top spot in the rankings if he finishes in the top three, but the big-hitter is not the type to play it safe. Woods will believe he has a shout, despite being 11 behind and many of his admirers will share his confidence after witnessing him slice through the field in the impervious manner of yesteryear.