Injured Willett pulls out mid-round at Sawgrass

Lynette Rowe
May 19, 2017

(AP) - As if the TPC Sawgrass isn't enough of a challenge, Rory McIlroy is dealing with another dose of back pain at The Players Championship and will have it tested at the end of the week.

After returning from the first injury to the Mexico Championship, where he had the 36-hole lead and tied for seventh, McIlroy played four times in six weeks through the Masters, and then after his marriage, got right back to work.

Garcia's playing partner, Adam Scott, was out in front on six-under-par before he finished with two double-bogeys and had to settle for a 70.

Just another day at the Stadium.

At one under par McIlroy was eight shots off the pace and five behind 54-year-old Fijian Vijay Singh, who was looking to surpass the 52-year-old Sam Snead as the oldest victor in PGA Tour history with his first victory since 2008.

Garcia signed for a 73 which left him six shots off the pace set by American William McGirt and Canada's Mackenzie Hughes, with Spain's Jon Rahm and Sweden's Alex Noren a shot further back with JB Holmes and Chez Reavie.

McGirt made his first eagle with a 55-foot putt at the par-five 11th before sinking a 10-footer at the par-five 16th. "It was a matter of having a good day".

After playing just 13 tournaments previous year due to a foot injury, Poulter had 10 events this season to earn 218 FedEx Cup points or United States dollars 347,634 to remain fully exempt.

Singh would surpass the 52-year-old Sam Snead as the oldest victor in PGA Tour history with his first victory since 2008.

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Since the inception of the Players Championship in 1974 no player has successfully defended the title, with only six managing to win the prestigious event a couple of times. "I've been fortunate to be very successful here". "And then I was going to go out Wednesday and I just thought, 'Gosh, if I walk around in the heat, I'll get exhausted". His drive on No. 14 sailed well right, the ones on Nos.

It gets really jammed behind that group.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.

Poulter has slipped from a career-high of fifth in the world to 197th and was without a full PGA Tour card until fellow professional Brian Gay alerted officials to a discrepancy in the points structure used for players competing on major medical extensions.

But the rigid qualifications meant they all earned their place in the tournament and the grassy democracy designed by Pete Dye could very well leave some of the lesser-known names hanging around all week. "Obviously there's so much water here and there's no real easy recovery from the water".

Speaking about a round containing two birdies and one bogey, the four-time major victor said: "Today it seemed like the golf course should be gettable but no-one really posted any low numbers". 6, 8 and 9 after his tee shots found the rough.

"My day is kind of summed up on the first hole when I one-hopped it into the flag and it came off the green and I made bogey", Johnson said.

ISLAND ACE: Sergio Garcia thought the loudest cheer he might hear all day would be at the first tee when he was introduced as the Masters champion.

"We all know what 17 can do", Garcia said. He said playing in the heat has helped keep the area loose, but it's been an issue. He saved par from the back bunker on the 18th hole for a 72.

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