Clark's win diminished

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

It's the unofficial fifth major, but the latest installment of The Players Championship officially was a major disappointment.

All the dream scenarios coming into the tournament -- Tigers Woods winning a big one again, Phil Mickelson shooting for the world No. 1 ranking, young Rory McIlroy looking to continue his hot play -- quickly fizzled as Woods dropped out, Mickelson dropped off and McIlroy was nowhere to be found.

We were left with a feel-good story that was well down the depth chart coming into the weekend: Journeyman Tim Clark winning for the first time after finishing second eight times in eight years on the PGA Tour.

Canadians had little reason to cheer, too, as 2006 Players champion Stephen Ames of Calgary struggled to a third-round 79 (including a double-bogey on 17) en route to a 58th-place finish, while Mike Weir of Bright's Grove, Ont., missed the cut.

"There was a part of me that thought, 'Man, what have I been doing?' When you play that many tournaments, and when you have weeks where you feel like you've played well enough to win and you haven't, it gets a bit frustrating," Clark told The Associated Press. "You do start to wonder, 'When is it going to happen for me?'

"Luckily for me, this week I did play my best."

Give credit to Clark, who clawed his way back from seven shots down on the weekend and sank an eight-foot par putt on the final hole to ensure his victory.

Winning any event on the PGA Tour isn't easy, but one wonders if Clark simply was in the right place at the right time.

The supposed best field in golf really wasn't at its best.

Hearn's in the groove

Canadian David Hearn is in the driver's seat heading into the Nationwide Tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am this week in Greer, S.C.

The Brantford, Ont., native sits eighth on the money list ($116,953 US), currently well within the parameters to getting his PGA Tour card back.

With finishes of second and fourth in two of the past three Nationwide events (and a respectable 18th in the other), Hearn hits the course after a break in the schedule last week.

With such great play -- including playing in the final group in the Fresh Express Classic in California and the South Georgia Classic in late April -- one would think a week off wouldn't be welcome news.

"It was good to get a rest after a nice three-week stretch," a refreshed Hearn said Monday after coming off the course following a pro-am round.

Always strong with the driver, Hearn said he has been putting well and currently is ranked No. 1 for overall statistics on the Nationwide Tour.

The 30-year-old credits his work with coach Ralph Bauer for his excellent start.

"We've been working on my game to make it more fundamentally sound," he said. "A lot of years it takes me a few tournaments to get going but I feel like I've been playing a lot of really good rounds (this season)."

While he hasn't won on the Nationwide Tour since the 2004 Alberta Classic, Hearn is confident it will come. He said he felt comfortable playing in the final group on Sunday in California and Georgia and knows it's just a matter of time.

At the Fresh Express on April 18, Hearn shot a final-round 67 (4-under) but lost by a stroke to Kevin Chappell, who shot 65.

"I felt comfortable and I played well," he said. "I played my game and was happy with it, but you can't control what the other guy does."

Westwood sees red

Lee Westwood did it again.

Leading the Players Championship after 54 holes, Westwood teed it up for the final round wearing Woods' signature red.

At this year's Masters, Westwood, leading after 54 holes, wore red on Sunday. He won neither, finishing tied for fourth Sunday and second at Augusta.

Perhaps he should choose a colour more fitting a bridesmaid: Seafoam anyone?


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