Martin Kaymer held his nerve to complete a spectacular wire-to-wire win at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach to claim the prestigious Players Championship crown for his first win since 2011 and a cheque for just over £1million.
The German held off a Jim Furyk charge and holed a remarkable 28-foot putt for par on the famous 17th to retain his slender lead and closed out victory at the last, as young American Jordan Spieth unfortunately faded after a good start once more.
In victory, Kaymer becomes the first European victor in America this season and earns a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour as well as invites to the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open between 2014-2016. He also earns the biggest winner's cheque the sport has to offer.
There were encouraging signs for watching European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley not just because of Kaymer's exploits; Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose all finished inside the top six in undoubtedly Europe's strongest display on the Tour this year.
It was superb from Kaymer in particular, though, as he secured his first win since he triumphed at the WGC-HSBC Champions event three years ago, and marks a timely return to form for the former world number one with the match with America now less than six months away.
He showed nerves of steel on 17 and 18 after his three-stroke advantage was suddenly reduced to one when he double bogeyed the 15th following a rain delay.
After parring 16, Kaymer's tee shot into the island green was headed for the water after it just carried the front bunker and span back abruptly before fortunately nestling in the damp second cut. His chip shot was less than impressive, and left him with a near 30-foot putt to remain in the lead.
This man, however, has experience of holing big putts in big tournaments as well as the winning Ryder Cup one at Medinah two years ago, and he once again displayed his nerveless temperament as he curled it in at perfect pace to keep his slender advantage in tact. Furyk, in the clubhouse at 12 under, could only watch on and acknowledge the brilliance.
And the 29-year-old from Dusseldorf inventively made par down the last with a two-putt from off the green to wrap up the second-biggest win of his career following his maiden major title at 2010 US PGA.
For joint-overnight leader Spieth it was a similar story to his Augusta tale last month as he jumped into the solo lead after four holes of the final round but two bogeys in the next nine saw him fall four back of Kaymer when the horn sounded, and upon resumption he continued to retreat down the leaderboard with bogeys at 14 and 15.
He responded with a birdie and two pars to finish meaning a tied-fourth finish, but another slight feeling of what might have been for the 20-year-old Texan, who only turned pro 18 months ago. Despite failing to close out the win, Spieth can be proud of his debut appearance at the Players as he once again gave a glimpse that he may one day dominate this game.
Last season's PGA Tour Rookie of the Year is almost certain to feature at Gleneagles this autumn, and the experience of playing against Kaymer in the last pairing of such a huge tournament may prove invaluable in September.
For now, though, he must not get too down beat with yet another near miss so early on in his career. If he remains patient, and continues to work hard on his game - especially his driving - it will only be a matter of time before he is celebrating his first major win, something Kaymer experienced four years ago.
He sadly failed to push on from his purple patch, until now, but this should be the catalyst for a rise up the rankings for the German, who once sat alone atop of world golf.
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