"I was 1-under through 7, feeling pretty good with 9 coming up and 11, but dropped a shot at 8, and there's so much noise in front of us with Tiger, and you wonder what everybody is doing".
Always confident but never overly so, Simpson did work through some jitters early on Sunday.
He can make room in that trophy case for the crystal from The Players Championship, his first victory since the governing bodies made him change the only putting style he ever knew in college and as a pro.
The late stumble couldn't dim his joy in the victory, his fifth on the US PGA Tour and his first since 2013.
"It's amusing how those things happen", Simpson said. He stirred packed galleries into a frenzy on Mother's Day while wearing his traditional red shirt.
Overnight leader Webb Simpson from the United States won by four shots.
Simpson's seven-stroke lead after 54 holes was more than useful but the 32-year-old is due enormous credit for his nerveless approach to Sunday.
Although Simpson and others were given more than two years to get used to the change before it was written into law on January 1, 2016, the adjustment proved hard.
From there Woods pitched to four feet to set up another birdie and move into a tie for second place alongside Danny Lee, and the pair found themselves just four off the pace when Simpson bogeyed the 10th after missing the green with his approach.
Woods said Spieth's shot did not impact him, and it was simply the wind.
Lee therefore finished -12 overall which was good enough to finish tied seventh for the event at TPC Sawgrass. His 91 FedEx Points saw him jump to 119th from 148th in the points standings. "I thought I was going to have a hard time keeping it up top, and I spun it off the ridge". "There was so much noise up ahead of us, with Tiger", he said.
Woods had his best round on the Stadium Course with a 65 despite playing the final six holes in 1 over.
"I hit the ball well, I controlled it and I made some putts".
Thomas is the 21st player to hold the top spot since the rankings began in 1986, and at 25 the fourth youngest behind Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. You know, to win a major championship and a few other TOUR events.
He was tied for second at one point, still four shots behind, but that was as close as he got.
He picked up six birdies but dunked his tee shot into the water at the island-green par-three 17th for a double-bogey.
Woods ended up tied for 11th at 277 along with Koepka, Australia's Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, England's Ian Poulter and Chesson Hadley, from Raleigh like Simpson.
He said: 'I played so well this weekend.
A double-bogey at the final hole was just a blip for the 32-year-old Simpson, who signed for a final-round 73 and an 18-under par total of 270 at TPC Sawgrass. When Simpson recorded another bogey, at the 10th, eyes flicked towards Woods.
And there were 1754 birdies for the week, breaking by 136 the record from 1996.
Last year, Clark offered a tip to Simpson about using the claw grip while running the shaft of the putter up his left arm. "The scoreboard doesn't affect me at all, I'm just out here playing golf and seeing what I can get".
The low point was 2016 at the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs, when he started to get short with his caddie, and they sat in the vehicle in the parking lot at Bethpage Black talking about how to move forward.
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