Woods has the last word at Sawgrass

By Rex HoggardMay 13, 2013, 1:41 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Sometimes David doesn’t beat Goliath.

With respect to 5-foot-7 Swede David Lingmerth, it wasn’t a fair fight. Not when Tiger Woods, by his own definition, is driving it well, flushing his irons, scrambling when needed, putting with consistency and healthy. By any definition, a five-tool freight train.

Perhaps not since his last top 10 at TPC Sawgrass (2009) has Woods been as prepared to suffer the slings and arrows of the quirky north Florida layout or the pointed barbs from Sergio Garcia.

“I feel like I'm driving it well, hitting it well with my irons, my distance control is good, short game is really solid, and I'm making my share of putts,” Woods said.

Of course, that blunt and chilling assessment came on Friday, when the faux major leaderboard resembled those of the bona fide Grand Slam variety. It wasn’t until Sunday dawned that Woods showed the world the full display of his arsenal.

The world No. 1 began the final round tied with rookie Lingmerth and Sergio Garcia, who solidified his status as Woods’ nemesis with a surreal episode early in Saturday’s second round.


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He began his march to his second Players Championship trophy, and his first this decade, with a 10-footer for birdie at the first. By the time he turned he was a layup clear of the field and cruising.

It was quintessential Tiger – build a lead, play prevent defense on the closing nine and watch contenders fall away. But the 14th hole awaited. Woods played the par-4 14th in 3 over for the week, missed the fairway every day and when he popped up his tee shot into a water hazard late Sunday afternoon the normal game plan just wouldn’t do.

His double bogey at the 14th hole dropped Woods into a tie with Lingmerth, Garcia and Jeff Maggert at 12 under. One by one, however, they dropped away. They always do.

First it was Maggert, the 49-year-old senior-in-waiting, who dropped his tee shot in the watery abyss surrounding the 17th hole, followed by Lingmerth’s bogey at the 14th hole after missing the green with his approach shot.

But it will be Garcia’s pile-up at the island-green penultimate hole that will be remembered.

The Spaniard, who a day earlier sparked a heated give-and-take when he complained that Woods pulled a club on the second hole just as Garcia was hitting his second shot and prompted the crowd to react, missed his tee shot at the 17th and found the water. In a scene reminiscent of the movie “Tin Cup,” Garcia took his next shot from the tee box and again found the hazard.

Rinse, repeat, lose.

Garcia has now won a Players on the 17th hole – having beaten Paul Goydos in a playoff on the hole in 2008 – and now lost the PGA Tour’s flagship event there.

“That hole has been good to me for the most part. Today it wasn’t,” said Garcia, who took a quadruple-bogey 7 on the hole.

Garcia completed what was a challenging week with another tee shot into the drink at the 18th hole for a double bogey to tie for eighth. That’s a full sleeve lost in two holes and a good amount of public support in two days.

On Sunday morning following the completion of the weather-delayed third round, Garcia was asked if he would rather have been paired with Woods – they were tied at 11 under through 54 holes – for the final turn. His answer seemed to sum up the spat.

“I'm not going to lie, he's not my favorite guy to play with,” Garcia told Sky Sports. “He's not the nicest guy on Tour.”

On a week that started with Vijay Singh suing the Tour over his run-in with the circuit’s anti-doping policy, Garcia’s comments simply seemed to feed the contentiousness.

The only thing missing was a much-awaited announcement on anchoring, but that can wait for another day.

For Woods, his 78th Tour victory – in his 300th Tour start – was every bit the statement victory. One top-10 finish in his last decade at TPC Sawgrass had created a wave of second-guessing that seemed to reach a crescendo this week.

“We were on a mission,” Woods’ caddie Joe LaCava said. “He is too good of a player not to play well here.”

How good?

For the week, Woods was first in par-5 scoring (4.25), third in greens in regulation (76 percent), 19th in fairways hit (67 percent) and 38th in strokes gained-putting on his way to a closing 70 for a 13-under total and two-stroke victory over Lingmerth (72), Maggert (70) and Kevin Streelman (67).

Woods pulled away with a birdie at the par-5 16th hole, found the middle of the green at the graveyard that the 17th hole had become and marched up the 18th fairway looking like a new man before a friendly reminder from LaCava jarred him back to reality.

“He said to me, ‘This is what patience will do for you,’” LaCava said following Woods’ approach into the 72nd green. “I wanted him to know there was still work to be done.”

In many ways, Woods’ Players victory had the look of a precursor of what is to come. His game plan on the Stadium Course was to play control golf, miss in the right spots and plod the field into submission.

On Sunday, he hit just one driver and, other than the 14th hole, looked in control at a golf course that hasn’t always had a friendly-confines feel to it. With respect to the so-called “fifth major,” The Players looked strangely like a U.S. Open tuneup. If he can beat the best at TPC Sawgrass with fairway woods, wouldn’t Merion, which will measure in under 7,000 yards, succumb to a similarly measured approach?

“It's a great question,” Woods said when asked if a similar strategy will work next month in Philadelphia. “I've never played Merion. It sounds good in theory. But I don't know. We happened to get a dry, hot week where the ball was traveling. You've got to play the golf course for what it gives you.”

Merion can wait, for the first time in a decade Goliath took the honors at TPC Sawgrass.


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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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.


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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.


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Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.