“It didn’t look very good, then Rickie opened the door for me, and I was able to walk through it.”
"Surprised and sad that Rickie finished that way, but all I can do is my best,” Matsuyama said through a translator. “I was lucky to come out on top.”
“This one hurts, the hard part is having all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven’t seen me win,” Fowler said. “But I will be able to kind of hang with them tonight. I’ll be all right.”
Brave words from the hottest guy in golf these days, Rickie Fowler who broke down in tears after his playoff loss Sunday in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, overcome by emotion after he let the tournament get away from him, and the culprit was the par4 17th
He was leading Matsuyama by 2 shots in front of a another massive Super Bowl Sunday crowd of 66,330 ( record total for the week was 618,365) and the way he has been playing it looked lie he was going to win his his fifth worldwide title in nine months. Remember his win back in May at The Players Championship, then at Gullane for the Scottish Open followed by the Deutsche Bank Championship in September and then of course in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago.
After narrowly missing a 10 footer at 16th for birdie to go 3 ahead he stepped up to the tee on the 317 yard 17th. Rickie is a tiny guy folks, 5'7 maybe 145 pounds soaking wet, but these days after his work with Butch Harmon, he can simply pound the ball when he needs to.
On the 17th tee he pounded one, too far, as he blew his two-shot lead when hit it some 360 yards through the green and into the water for bogey while Matsuyama made birdie to suddenly tie for the lead.
Fowler recovered to force the playoff after Matsuyama birdie the 18th, with a 12 foot birdie putt of his own and off they went to the playoff after they both fired -4 67's -14 270.
They played the 18th twice, then halved the 10th before arriving back at the 17th where Rickie changed tactics, using a 3-wood, but with the same result, this time pulling it into the lake just short of the green. He made bogey leaving the Japanese star with a 2 putt par for the win.
Matsuyama won Jack's Memorial in 2014 for his only other PGA Tour title, beating Kevin Na on the first extra hole and you may remember he T2 here last year, a shot behind Brooks Koepka.
Canadian scores: Adam Hadwin -3 68 T17th -6 278 total while Nick Taylor, +2 73 +5 289.
(notes from BBC, pgatour.com)