PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' Who's happier than Tiger Woods to be in the final group at The Players? And how will Alex Cejka handle playing alongside the world's No. 1? These thoughts and more after the third round at TPC Sawgrass: NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol no doubt has seen his share of gymnastics through all the Olympic Games hes overseen. Im betting he did a back handspring worthy of a solid 9 on the judges cards when Tiger Woods landed in the final twosome Sunday.
Tiger would probably admit hes swung it better in his lifetime. But last I checked: its still a game of golf, not a game of swing.
On Thursday, The Players felt like the Bob Hope ' sort of a bland birdie fest. It feels a whole lot different now, doesnt it?
I get that its not a major because you cant get an 11th Commandment, a fifth face on Mount Rushmore, a fourth musketeer, or a fifth major. But your interest will be at major levels Sunday if its close when they come to the 17th, dont you think?
Retief Goosen said hitting fairways will be paramount. As hard and fast as the greens will be, you wont be able to get to the hole unless youre in the fairway.
Tiger will probably putt well because he always seems to on Sundays at big events. But will more of those putts be for birdie or par?
Wondering if Tiger will think about a 2-iron stinger at 18 Sunday.
Escaping the shadow cast by Tiger is difficult, but it may not seem so daunting for a guy who escaped communist Czechoslovakia as a boy.
Colleague Steve Sands made an interesting point: Cejka had better enjoy chatting with his caddie, because Tiger on Sundays doesnt make small talk with his playing partners. He ices them.
If Cejka has a seven-shot lead coming to 17, you still wont turn it off, will you? Big leads arent safe until the tee ball at 18 finds dry land.
Based on the left-handed swipe Tiger made at 11, Im guessing he could shoot mid- to low-80s with Phils clubs.
If Tiger wins tomorrow, itll be read in some quarters as an indictment of the competition as much as a tribute to his iron will.
It feels like a major when the leader shoots level par and stretches the margin from two to five.
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