Tiger Woods wins the PLAYERS Championship

Tiger Woods practicing at TPC Sawgrass

Tiger Woods practicing at TPC Sawgrass (Photo credit: ltbeyer)

Tiger Woods won the 2013 PLAYERS Championship on Sunday after a round in which several players appeared to have a chance to come away victorious. It’s his second victory at TPC Sawgrass, his fourth win of the season, and gets him to 78 career PGA Tour wins, a scant four wins behind Sam Snead for the all-time record of 82 wins.
 
What Happened
 
Four birdies on Sunday gave Woods a two-shot lead over Sergio Garcia and David Lingmerth as he approached the difficult par-4 14th. Woods drove his ball into the water on the left-hand side and had to take a drop, eventually leading to a double bogey. Woods made birdie on the 16th, as did Garcia, while Lingmerth made par.
 
After watching a par on the island 17th by Woods, Garcia stepped up and proceeded to donate one to the water, ending his chances of becoming a two-time PLAYERS champion. Of course, in typical Sergio fashion, he plunked one more before making a quad-bogey 7, while Lingmerth hit a tremendous approach to the right of the flag, but couldn’t capitalize. Woods made par on the 18th, and waited for Lingmerth to finish out. When Lingmerth’s birdie putt ran by the hole on 18, Woods had his fourth win of the 2013 season.
 
Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Tiger Woods -13
  • 2. David Lingmerth -12
  • T3. Kevin Streelman -11
  • T3. Jeff Maggert -11

What The Win Means For Woods
 
More FedEx Cup points, more money earned, and more world ranking points for Woods. More than that, getting closer to Snead’s record for most PGA Tour wins, and doing it while Garcia went down in flames, is what matters most to Woods here. People talk about Woods wanting to pass Jack Nicklaus for career major wins, but the Snead record is important to him too. Outside of that, we won’t see him again until the Memorial in a couple of weeks, and there’s no doubt that he’s setting himself up well for the U.S. Open at Merion.
 
Merion is a course that is short and tight, and the way that Woods was playing this week, taking less off the tee and attempting to play his way around the course instead of bludgeoning it, seemed like a conscious effort in preparation for Merion. He’s looking great, the best I’ve seen in years, and it’s very obvious that he’s the most dominant player in the world right now.
 
The Tiger Woods/Sergio Garcia “controversy”
 
My take on what happened on Saturday and bled into Sunday is pretty simple: get over it and move on. Do I think Woods pulled a club out of his bag with the intention of hearing the crowd roar and throwing Garcia off? No, it’s ridiculous. Do I think Garcia has a right to be upset? Absolutely, I do. Both players alluded to the fact that they don’t really like each other, and that’s fine. There’s no rule that says you have to like all of the players that you play with. We’re always asking athletes to speak their minds and tell us what they really think, something Garcia has never had a problem doing and Woods usually doesn’t either when presented with a chance to counter attack. This only became a big story because of the names involved, but really, this shouldn’t have blown up the way it did. Both players appear to be over it, and now we should be too.
 
Other notes

  • Notables missing the cut: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Phil Mickelson, Robert Garrigus, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Nick Watney, Francesco Molinari, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Scott Piercy, Keegan Bradley, Billy Horschel, Bill Haas and Thorbjorn Olesen.
  • Dustin Johnson withdrew with a back problem after Thursday’s opening round. For a guy who is promoted as a great athlete, he’s certainly a little brittle, isn’t he?
  • Great finish for Ryan Palmer, who considered pulling out of the event on Thursday night after learning that a childhood friend passed away due to a car accident. Palmer decided to stick it out and ended up at -10, finishing tied for 5th.
  • Jeff Maggert should be thinking about the Champions Tour at age 49, but his performance this week lends credence to the idea that the window for players to win on the PGA Tour has been extended in recent years.
  • I’m pretty sure that Matt Kuchar mismatches his clothes on purpose.
  • I was going to write something this week about the lawsuit that Vijay Singh has brought to the PGA Tour, but I realized that I just didn’t care.
  • On Garcia: Obviously the loss hurts, but realistically, we can’t be surprised that it happened. I’ve been on the record frequently that I’m a big fan of his, but man, that was tough to watch. It’s going to be really interesting to see how he rebounds after this one.
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