Poulter completes a surprising turnaround at Players

The Players Championship - Is it a major, is it just a really big event, or is it a separate entity that doesn't fit into a specific category?

"I've enjoyed it and hopefully this is just a stepping stone to pressing on for the rest of this year".

"It was a big shock to the system to hit one of those nasty shanks when I've hit it as good as I have all week, but the fourth shot was pretty special, from one of the worst shots I've ever hit to one of the very best", he said.

During the final round of the Players Championship at TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on Sunday, the 21-year-old carded three birdies while going bogey-free to wrap up the day at 3-under par. In his 19 starts since October, he had missed the cut seven times and withdrawn from a further four tournaments because of a lingering back injury.

"I'm disappointed not to play this week, as the AT&T Byron Nelson is in my adopted hometown, but look forward to playing the event in the future".

Poulter stayed on Kim's heels throughout the final nine holes until a shanked approach shot into the trees right of the fairway on the closing hole ended his chance. At 21 years, 10 months and 16 days, Kim is the youngest victor of the tournament considered the fifth major on the PGA Tour.

"I think it was hard to kind of get it close, and obviously, the opportunities on the back nine were 11 - I hit a decent shot into 10 and had a decent look there, but took advantage of 11", Poulter explained.

He earned $1.89 million, along with a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a three-year exemption to the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, and most likely a spot on the Presidents Cup team later this summer. He only got into the tournament a few weeks ago when the PGA Tour realized a clerical oversight regarding his return from a foot injury past year. I think I've still got some work to do. He followed with a short birdie on the 17th and a long par from just off the 18th green.

"From that moment (when Choi won the 2011 Players Championship), I was dreaming that I really want to be in this tournament", Kim said. "The putter is not quite doing what I would like".

"I got close there on 11 once I made birdie, and obviously I wanted to try and put a little bit more pressure on, but it was tough to get it close [to the hole]", Poulter said.

However, even though he failed to earn his first tournament victory since 2012, there was still plenty of positives for the Englishman to take away. "Everything the guys - Thomas, Paul - have done to improve the course makes me want to jump back on a plane to the UK". Could Jason Day repeat as victor?

He played last four holes in just eight shots, starting with the first albatross in TPC Sawgrass history when his 8-iron on the par-5 16th hole caromed off the bank of a bunker and ran into the pin before dropping for a 2.

  • Julie Sanders