Hideki Matsuyama has played the Waste Management Phoenix Open four times in his career -- each of the last four years. In that span, he now has two wins and two top-five finishes.
Matsuyama took down Webb Simpson in a four-hole playoff with a birdie on the final hole, and he now has half as many trophies as golfers who have beaten him at TPC Scottsdale.
After a thrilling 18 holes of regulation that saw both golfers get to 17 under (Simpson shot a 64, Matsuyama a 66), neither golfer could get anything going in the playoff. Six drama-filled pars between them in the first three holes as both players left birdie putts for the win short. Then, on the fourth playoff hole (the drivable 17th on the course), Simpson caught a bad break.
He banged a drive onto the green but it rolled to the back right. The pin was on the back left. The green had a curved posterior, though, and Simpson did not have a straight line to putt. He might have been better off chipping over the sand and back edge of the green rather than putting. Instead he left himself a lengthy birdie putt with Matsuyama already staring at a 12-foot birdie of his own.
That left the door open for Matsuyama's second-straight Phoenix Open win. He found the bottom of the cup, and he knew it even before it fell. For somebody who has struggled with the flat stick over the course of his career, Matsuyama was a picture of perfection in the playoff. He hit a tough five-footer for par on the hole before and looked anything but unconfident.
The duo actually had eerily similar days. Both played bogey free. Both made birdie at No. 15 in regulation. Both made eagle at the par-5 third hole. It was a great show on a day when some monstrous names went low.
With the win, Matsuyama has passed Shigeki Maruyama with the most wins by any Japanese player in PGA Tour history.
Phil Mickelson (T16) faded coming home with a 40 on Sunday after getting within striking distance of the lead early in the day.
Jordan Spieth (T9) really got it going on Friday as he went out in 31 and looked destined for something in the low 60s. But two bogeys and a double coming in took him out of contention for good despite a solid 67-67 weekend. Spieth has reached the point of his career where if he finishes outside the top 10, it's more of an eyebrow-raiser than if he wins.
Rickie Fowler (T4) closed like this was the 2015 Players Championship all over again.
This year in Phoenix he played the final six in a thrilling 4 under and notched his second-straight top-five finish. It was good to see him mix it up on the weekend after a ho-hum start to 2017.