Woods was one of 22 players who had to finish their final rounds on the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass on Monday due to a suspension of play the day prior.
Tiger captured the one prestigious event that had eluded him in his five seasons on Tour by carding a 2-under-par 34 over his final nine holes for a final-round composite of 5-under-par 67.
Its special to win this championship, said Woods. Its not a major. But to win you have to beat the best field of the year on a very tough course. I'm just fortunate enough to come out on top.
At 14-under for the tournament, Woods finished one shot clear of Vijay Singh, who was temporarily tied for the top spot until a triple bogey 7 at the 14th cost him a chance for the million-dollar first-place prize.
Bernhard Langer finished in third place at 12-under. The two-time Masters champion notched five birdies and three bogeys over his final nine holes for a final-round 68. Langer was in search of his first stateside victory since donning the green jacket in 1993.
Its Langers third-career top-3 finish at The Players without a win. The only European player to ever win this event was Sandy Lyle in 1987.
Jerry Kelly double bogeyed the final hole to drop from a share of third place into solo fourth. Still, the $288,000 he collected was nearly double his previous career-best paycheck on the PGA Tour.
I leave here disappointed, Kelly said. Yeah, good check, good week. So what? We all want to win, and thats it.
Before the beginning of the final round, Kelly ' who led Woods and Singh by two shots ' said Tiger would have to do something special to beat him.
Such was not the case on Monday.
Woods woke up with a one-shot lead over his playing companion, Kelly, and his rival, Singh. Following a three-hour weather delay on Sunday, Woods birdied the 1st, chipped in for eagle on the par-5 2nd, and the completed his day by converting a blind birdie putt in the dark at the par-5 9th.
Last year at this event, Woods and Hal Sutton were forced to complete their final seven holes on Monday. Though Tiger cut a three-stroke deficit to just one, Sutton eventually prevailed.
At 10:00am ET, Woods set out for a bit of redemption. After nearly spinning in his approach shot to the par-4 10th, Woods tapped in for birdie to immediately stretch his advantage to two shots.
That was as close as Kelly would get to Tiger for the rest of the day. After missing only five fairways off the tee over his first three rounds, the 54-hole leader went from accurate to erratic.
Kelly missed six of the seven fairways on the back nine; none bigger than the one he failed to hit at the par-4 18th. After finding the gnarly right rough, Kelly tried to force an iron to the green. The long, thick grass turned the face of his club over, resulting in a hooked approach into the water.
I was trying for the miracle shot a little bit, he said. I learned youve got to play your game and not play for second, not play for third, just play you game all the way through. And I did that up until 18.
Tigers stiffest ' and only competition on Monday ' came from Singh. The transplanted Floridian, who lives just five miles from the venue in Ponte Vedra Beach, birdied the 11th and 13th holes to tie Woods for the lead at 13-under-par.
Tiger quickly retook sole possession of the lead by sinking an eight-foot birdie putt on the 12th to move to 14-under. Woods caught a break on that hole when his tee shot kicked out of the rough and into the fairway, thus allowing an opportunity to shoot for the flag.
The tournament was ultimately determined by one shot at the par-4 14th. Brimming with confidence, Singh snap-hooked his tee shot into the water. He knew it as soon as he hit it, dropping his club on the follow-through and kicking it while it lay on the ground.
Having to hit his third shot from the tee box, Singh posted a triple bogey and fell four shots back of Woods at 10-under.
Made one bad swing and thats all it takes, said Singh. I was feeling really comfortable out there. You cannot make mistakes like that. And that was it.
Singh bravely tried to mount a comeback. Just off the green in two on the par-5 16th, Singh used the toe of his putter to pop in an eagle from the collar of the fringe. He then stuck his tee shot on the treacherous par-3 17th to within four feet and converted the birdie putt.
Following a clutch par save at the 18th, Singh signed for a round of 4-under-par 68 and waited on the sidelines at 13-under.
Despite a birdie at the par-5 16th, Tiger wasnt out of the woods just yet. He still had to navigate the 17th, which he double bogeyed in the second round. Just trying to find land on the island green, Tiger hit a 9-iron. His ball caught the putting surface, and then kicked hard left into the greenside rough. His ball stayed dry by a mere foot.
I knew when I hit it, I hit it the ball the right distance. From there, it is up to the bounce. I hit it soft over there and it rolled (to the fringe), and I got a horrible lie over there. Woods said.
Woods chip shot came up six feet short of the hole; however, he rammed home the par putt to remain two up with one to play.
At the 18th, Tiger opted for a 2-iron. Thursday, he hit 3-wood into the water. This time he avoided the hazard, but found the penal left-hand rough. Knowing he needed only a bogey to win, Woods successfully laid up and then placed his third shot 25 feet below the hole.
With the engraver already carving his name into the side of the trophy, Woods allowed the man to finish the job by two-putting for victory.
After eight Tour starts without a win, Woods has now triumphed in successive weeks (Bay Hill Invitational). He also claims the top spot on the seasonal money list. The $1,080,000 first-place check pushed Woods to over $2.25 million for the year.
As the Florida Swing comes to a halt, Woods will head back to his residential home in Orlando for a little rest, before starting again his preparation for the Masters Tournament in next week. Woods will be trying to win his fourth consecutive major in Augusta.
You can't really look at the fact that I have a chance to win four consecutive majors,' said Woods. 'I'm going to treat it just like I do every major. I'm going to try and win the golf tournament.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*This was Tiger Woods 26th career PGA Tour victory. Hes now tied with Henry Picard at 19th on the All-Time PGA Tour winners list.
*This is the eighth time in Tigers career that he was won in back-to-back starts.
*Woods joins Jack Nicklaus as the only men to win all four majors and The Players Championship. He and Nicklaus are also the only men whose PGA Tour win-count is more than their age. The 61-year-old Nicklaus has 70 career wins. The 25-year-old Woods now has 26 Tour titles.
Full-Field Scores from The Players Championship