Adam Scott will be forced to wait for at least another week before he can revive his bid to take the world No.1 spot from Tiger Woods.
The Queenslander had to finish in the top 16 in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass to move ahead of Woods but a poor start and an ordinary finish left him out of the running.
Scott shot a final round one-over 73 which left him tied for 38th as German former No.1 Martin Kaymer revived his challenge to the world’s elite with a win in the lucrative event, albeit a shaky one.
Scott said simply he did not have the form to be competitive although he is all but certain to claim the top position shortly with the injured Woods uncertain about a return to the game.
"Overall this week I just didn’t play good enough," Scott told AAP.
"The course was demanding even though the greens were receptive it still had a lot of long rough and I found plenty of it. "I was lucky to even make the weekend. Today I played from the rough and it’s impossible to play this course out of position so I battled all day."
Matt Jones, who started the day in a share of fifth place, four shots off the pace, was the leading Australian even though he finished two-over the card to drop to six-under and a tie for 17th.
"I just didn’t hit it good enough today," Jones said. "I knew going into the round I didn’t warm up very well and I knew it would be a battle.
"Days like that eventually catch up with you and it did on 10, 11 and 12.
"I played very good for three days, I just played bad today and I know with a good round today it could have been a whole different story so I’ll go away with some positives."
John Senden, another recent Australian tournament winner, was set to challenge for the win when he climbed to third place but flopped to a disappointing five-over 77 and fell into a tie for 26th.
Victorian Marc Leishman (67) joined Senden at five-under, while Steven Bowditch finished his debut at the event at one-under and tied for 48th.
Geoff Ogilvy gave glimpses of form early but disappeared from the radar with a final round 78 to drop to 69th place.
Kaymer won the 2010 US PGA Championship but has fallen back into the field in recent times.
His victory should reinvigorate his career but it came the hard way.
The German was strolling towards an effortless victory when conditions forced a halt in play and disrupted his game.
In the end his one-under 71 final and a total of 13-under for the championship was enough to give him a one shot lead over the fast finishing American Jim Furyk.
Kaymer, 29, held a three-shot lead with just five holes remaining when bad weather caused a 90 minute delay, disturbing his momentum.
When play resumed Kaymer immediately double bogeyed the 15th hole to cut his lead to one after finding a bunker.
"Made a couple of wrong decisions on 15," said Kaymer who set about making up for the error in dramatic fashion two holes later.
At the island-green 17th, his tee shot barely cleared the water, then kicked hard left and almost rolled into the water. He chipped off the rough came up short, leaving him with a 10 metre putt which he rolled in.
"A very strange way to make a three," Kaymer said.
He hit a safe tee shot at the 18th and managed a regulation par for victory.
Kaymer’s win earned him $A1.95 million, a five-year exemption on the US tour and a three-year exemption into the Masters, US Open and British Open.
He is set to jump from No.62 to No.27 in the world.
Furyk stormed home with a final round 66 while Spain’s Sergio Garcia (70) took third at 11-under and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth shot a two-over 74 to join England’s Justin Rose (69) in fourth at 10-under.
– By Robert Grant