Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. • A weekend filled with sharp words between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia came down to one last showdown Sunday in The Players Championship, this one staged across the water in a tiny, terrifying section of TPC Sawgrass.
Tied for the lead with two holes to play, Woods kept his shots on land and made two pars.
Garcia hit three balls into the water for a quadruple bogey-double bogey finish.
If there was special satisfaction in beating Garcia again, Woods kept that to himself. What mattered was having a chance to win, closing it out like he does so often, and capturing the richest prize on the PGA Tour for the first time in a dozen years.
“We just go out there and play,” Woods said. “I had an opportunity to win the golf tournament when I was tied for the lead today, and I thought I handled the situation well and really played well today when I really needed to. And that’s something I’m excited about.”
Woods allowed the final hour to turn into a tense duel by hooking his tee shot into the water on the 14th hole for double bogey. But his short game bailed him out to save par on the 15th and make a critical birdie on the 16th, and he was solid on the final two holes for a 2-under 70.
If only it were that simple for the Spaniard.
Garcia was standing on the 17th tee shot, staring across to the island green to watch Woods make his par. He took aim at the flag with his wedge and hung his head when he saw the ball splashed down short of the green. Then, Garcia hit another one in the water on his way to a quadruple-bogey 7. The meltdown was complete when Garcia hit his tee shot into the water on the 18th.
“It’s always nice to have a chance at beating the No. 1 player in the world, but unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to this week,” Garcia said.
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.
Woods finished on 13-under 275.
Tiger Woods -13
David Lingmerth -12
Kevin Streelman -11
Jeff Maggert -11
Martin Laird -10
Henrik Stenson -10
Daniel Summerhays -4