No stranger to adversity, Tiger Woods overcame a hard-fought battle and staunch criticism from a perennial rival to take the win at the Players Championship this weekend at TPC Sawgrass.
Woods played a consistent game all tournament that benefited from an epic collapse by Sergio Garcia, his closest competition for the final 2 days and the most outspoken player regarding Tiger’s course etiquette.
It was Garcia who complained to the media after Saturday’s round that his fairway shot on the second hole was marred by the crowd’s reaction to Tiger’s approach shot about 50 yards away. However, upon review of the controversial swing, it was determined that he swung well after the noise unexpectedly erupted upon Tiger pulling his 5 wood from his bag. Woods unpleasantly dismissed the accusation, claiming that the course judge had given him the green light to shoot with the understanding that Garcia already taken his swing.
The men took this disdain for one another into the final day of competition, driving them to fight neck and neck for the majority of the day, until Garcia’s fate took a turn for the worse. Going in to the hole tied with Woods, Garcia’s tee shot on the 17th, which is notoriously one of the hardest holes in America since the green is nearly surrounded on all sides by water, splashed down short of his mark. In a moment reminiscent of the film Tin Cup, his next shot repeated the misery and also ended up in the drink, causing him to finish 4 over par for the hole. Another double bogey for Garcia on 18 and a missed birdie attempt by David Lingmerth sealed the win for Woods with a -13 score of 275.
The victory is Tiger’s 4th on the PGA tour this year, and comes in his 300th career tour event. Though I wouldn't secure the win as the return of the prodigal son, it is certainly a confidence booster for Woods and will give him some much needed momentum going into the US Open tournament being held June 13th through 16th. Woods’ performance in that Major event will be a much more definitive indicator of his return to form, despite having never seen the course commonly referred to as “Tiger-proof” in competition.
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