With 107 starts since his last victory, Simpson said to win such a big event was special - particularly after a putting tip from former victor Tim Clark at this event previous year played a crucial role in the result.
Playing partner Danny Lee of New Zealand quickly cut Simpson's lead to five with birdies at the second and third. None could do enough to catch Simpson during a week of low scoring at the final Players Championship in May.
Simpson's only big mistake didn't even matter. When he was forced to switch, Simpson went through a period where he struggled mightily on the greens, an affliction that terminates many a golfing careers.
The only way anyone other than Simpson could win, was if Simpson started making bogeys and doubles, which he refused to do.
With Simpson a few groups behind him continuing to play conservatively, Tiger maintained his aggressive style and almost made eagle at the par-5 11th before settling for a birdie to get to 13-under and into the top three.
FedExCup leader Justin Thomas is projected to move to world No. 1 after closing with a 6-under 66 to finish in a tie for 11th.
Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele finished in a tie for 2 at 14 under, while a pair of Jasons- Day and Dufner-were a stroke further back in a tie for 5.
Last Saturday, he was eight under for his first 12 holes. He shot 15-under through 36 holes; three players were tied for second.
However, his momentum stalled after he bogeyed the par-4 14 and then hit a double-bogey at the par-3 17th, although he maintained he did not mishit either shot. Si Woo Kim opened with the best score of a defender with 67 on Thursday but faded playing his final three rounds three-over for T63. With the U.S. Open around the corner, and the Ryder Cup on the horizon, this could just be the tip of the iceberg.
But this ultimately was all about Simpson, who had missed the cut in four of his previous eight appearances at the TPC Sawgrass and had gone 107 starts on the PGA Tour since his most recent victory in Las Vegas toward the end of 2013.
Finally, I was delighted to see Sweden's Joakim Lagergren clinch his first European Tour title by winning a play-off at the Sicilian Open. The 42-year-old badly miscued an approach to the 14th, which triggered his first bogey since the same hole a day earlier. Among the first-time players is Xander Schauffele, who won the Tour Championship past year. His last major victory, of course, was in that event a decade ago and it does seem a tall order for him to deliver again at that level. "I'm so relieved and I'm so happy at the moment, I can't describe it in words. So hopefully if I keep on top of it will just slowly go away". His T2 included a bogey-free 68 in the final round is his best finish at THE PLAYERS.
Jordan Spieth, his playing partner Sunday, said: "He'll win sometime soon enough". He finished at 16-under 268. Simpson stalled with six straight pars before a first birdie of his round at the par-four seventh that took him to 20-under. Simpson is one of the shortest hitters on the PGA Tour and averaged only 280.5 yards off the tee for the week.
"My wife was with me every step of the way".