What We Learned: The Players Championship

By Jason SobelMay 13, 2013, 1:38 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. This week, our writers weigh in on Tiger Woods' second-career victory at The Players Championship and the fascinating dynamic between Woods and Sergio Garcia.

The rivalry between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia that appeared imminent back in 1999 has never developed and never will. Well, not in the traditional sense, at least, with the two players trading haymakers on major championship stages throughout their careers. Since the 1999 PGA Championship, Woods’ career has soared while that of Garcia – perfectly acceptable on its own merits – has listlessly paled in comparison, his lifelong major title odometer still stuck on zero. And yet, following this weekend’s events, from the incident on the second hole on Saturday to the back-and-forth comments through the media to Tiger’s win in the wake of Sergio’s collapse, there is no more intriguing potential set of playing partners on the planet than the two of ‘em. 

Sure, I’d accept the chilly stares of Woods and Phil Mickelson or the buddy-buddy duo of Woods and Rory McIlroy, but if you’re asking for the one final twosome that I’d love to see at each of the year’s final three majors, it’s easily Woods and Garcia. Their chilly relationship is fascinating; their inability to mince words publicly is intoxicating. Pro wrestling fans pay good money for this type of drama – and it’s fake. (Whoops, sorry for the lack of a spoiler alert.) Tiger and Sergio will never become a rivalry, but that’s OK. It’s still more entertaining than any other combination of pairings. Let’s hope we’re treated to more icy glares and cursory comments again sometime in the very near future. – Jason Sobel

Apparently, we should get used to seeing the white flag flying on the PGA Tour again.

Don’t get me wrong, Tiger Woods looked really good again Sunday winning The Players, but the rest of the Tour is looking as if it is just going to go into surrender mode again. Yes, Woods was solid all week at The Players, and yet just as he did in his last victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, Woods made himself uncharacteristically vulnerable with the lead down the stretch. He opened the door to challengers. At Bay Hill, Rickie Fowler wasn’t ready to take advantage when Woods gave him an opening. Fowler plunked two balls in the water at the 70th hole in his surrender. At the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course Sunday, Sergio Garcia did one better. He showed he was not ready for the challenge, plunking three balls in the water, two at the 17th and one at the 18th.

Yes, Woods is gaining back his winning mojo, but for somebody who roots for drama, it’s disappointing to see yet another failure to step up to the tremendous challenge Woods presents. Are we on the verge of marveling at more Woods greatness as he resurrects his run at Nicklaus' record? Or is somebody going to step up to the challenges he presents? – Randall Mell

The Players Championship may never enjoy “fifth major” status, but there is no denying TPC Sawgrass’ ability to identify a worthy champion and ignite a gallery. With the help of more user-friendly hole locations on the back nine on Sunday, the Stadium Course delivered the key component of a memorable championship – two-way traffic. With four players tied for the lead with four holes to play, there were equal amounts of heroics (Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia at the 16th hole) and heartbreak (Garcia and Jeff Maggert at the 17th hole and David Lingmerth at the 14th) to qualify as a memorable championship – be it a major or otherwise. – Rex Hoggard

The 17th hole at the Stadium Course will continue to live in infamy.

Every year, players descend upon TPC Sawgrass for the PGA Tour’s flagship event, and the opinions often read like a predetermined script: some like its position on the course, others tolerate the hole but would rather see it elsewhere in the rotation of holes, and a chosen few would just as soon sink the island green to the bottom of the lake surrounding it.

Yet once again, the 137-yard hole played a pivotal role in determining the tournament’s outcome Sunday, as some of the game’s best players were vexed by a wedge shot to a relatively sprawling green. The penultimate hole crushed the hopes of Sergio Garcia, who won the title in 2008 on the very same hole, while also costing 49-year-old Jeff Maggert a shot at what would have been the biggest win of his career.

So while some in the field will continue to rue its very existence, the fact remains: hokey or not, fair or unfair … the 17th hole at Sawgrass isn’t going anywhere. Will Gray

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm