Tiger gets last word on Garcia, wins Players
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Tiger Woods had the last word against Sergio Garcia by winning The Players Championship on Sunday.
Woods ended a weekend of verbal sparring with Garcia by doing what he does best — closing out tournaments, even if he let this one turn into a tense duel over the final hour at the TPC Sawgrass. Tied with Garcia with two holes to play, Woods won by finding land on the last two holes for par to close with a 2-under-par 70.
If only it were that simple for the Spaniard.
Garcia was standing on the 17th tee, staring across the water to an island as Woods made his par. He took aim at the flag with his wedge and hung his head when he saw the ball splash down short of the green. Then, Garcia hit another one in the water on his way to quadruple-bogey 7. He completed his stunning collapse by hitting his tee shot into the water on the 18th and making double bogey.
Woods was in the scoring trailer when he watched on TV as Swedish rookie David Lingmerth missed a long birdie putt that would have forced a playoff. It raced by the cup, and Lingmerth three-putted for bogey.
“How about that?” Woods said to his caddie Joe LaCava as he gave him a hug.
Woods won The Players for the first time since 2001 and joined Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Hal Sutton and Steve Elkington as the only two-time winners at the TPC Sawgrass. It was his 78th career win on the PGA Tour, four short of the record held by Sam Snead.
Lingmerth closed with a 72 and finished two shots behind along with Kevin Streelman (67) and Jeff Maggert, who also was tied for the lead until finding the water on the 17th to make double bogey. The 49-year-old Maggert birdied the 18th for a 70.
Garcia took 13 shots to cover the final two holes — 6-over par — and tumbled into a tie for eighth.
Woods made this drama possible by hooking his tee shot into the water on the 14th hole and making a double bogey, dropping him into a four-way tie with Garcia, Maggert and Lingmerth. The final two holes came down to Garcia and Woods, most appropriate given their public sniping at each other this weekend.
“That hole has been good to me for the most part,” Garcia said about the 17th. “Today, it wasn't. That's the way it is. That's the kind of hole it is.”