Garcia makes hole-in-one at Players' famed island-green 17th

He was one of nearly two dozen players to find the water on the day, but the only one to do it after the player before him had an ace.

He is also looking forward to being introduced on the first tee as Masters champion.

And Garcia has never been more popular in returning to competition at this week's Players Championship.

Garcia certainly couldn't believe it himself, as he wasn't totally sure it was in until the crowd reacted the way they did. Until he reached one of the most famous holes in golf, that is.

But, Garcia, always solid with the irons, took advantage of Alice Dye's island of wonders, and knocked the ball home. This event, after all, has had a habit of bringing out the best in the 37-year-old. It was only the eighth ace on 17 in tournament history.

Want your voice heard? "I hit a lot of fairways today and I'm starting to hit it a lot closer with the irons", said Day. He said his head was "up in the clouds, and when I woke up, I was 4-over after six [holes]", but he was obviously happy with his finish, which included a birdie at the 16th.

He's a nice guy, I think I'm a nice guy, and we can all get along fine. Garcia, who shot 73, went from 3-over to 1-over with the ace.

Spieth was so annoyed by a poor lie he got in a sand bunker on the first hole because it was poorly raked, he pulled his cellphone out, took a picture and sent it to a PGA Tour rules official.

That was certainly the message that Players Championship fans, some of whom may have given the formerly major-less Spaniard a hard time in years past, imparted to the newly crowned Masters champion during a nine-hole practice round on Wednesday at TPC Sawgrass.

Cody Gribble was believed to be the last player who had been in that bunker, which his caddie, Bobby Hudson, apparently failed to provide a proper raking job. "And then I was going to go out Wednesday and I thought, gosh, if I walk around in the heat I'll get exhausted".

"But, for me, what has meant the most has been to see the reaction from players and their support to me".

He came up short in both categories with 155 FedEx Cup points and Dollars 317,010, but Gay - who was also playing on a medical exemption after back problems - came to the rescue by discovering a difference between the way points were allotted this season compared to a year ago.

"I would love to tell you what it's going to feel like but I'm not going to know until Thursday", Garcia said.

"You don't know whether to say "be good", "go" or "sit" because it's such a tricky hole, but it was a pretty good yardage for me to hit a solid 52-degree (wedge) and fortunately it worked out flawless for me and went in".

  • Stacy Allen