As the ball fell into the water on Tiger Woods’ first shot on the 14th hole, his hopes of winning The Players Championship appeared to be sinking fast on Sunday.
Instead, it was Woods’ rival, Sergio Garcia, who met his end in the water — twice on No. 17 and again on No. 18.
The final round of The Players was billed as a slugfest after Woods and Garcia sparred verbally over an incident in the third round Saturday at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course.
Despite Woods being at the top of the leaderboard for almost the entire day, his double-bogey on the 14th hole pulled him back to the pack. Because of it, Woods and Garcia were tied at 13-under as Garcia teed off the 17th hole.
Garcia proceeded to hit the ball into the water twice and left the hole with a quadruple-bogey on his scorecard. It became worse when he hit his first shot on the 18th hole into the water. He plummeted from 13-under to 7-under over the final two holes of the tournament.
On Saturday, Garcia claimed that Woods wasn't paying attention and caused cheers in the gallery while Garcia was hitting a shot from the fairway on the par-5 second hole.
Woods, who finished with a 13-under 275 on Sunday, outlasted all challengers as Jeff Maggert also hit his tee shot into the water on No. 17 to make double-bogey. David Lingmerth, a Swede who now lives in Jacksonville Beach, shared the 54-hole lead with Woods and Garcia, and he missed a birdie putt on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff with Woods.
Lingmerth finished in a tie with Maggert and Kevin Streelman for second — two shots behind Woods.
After winning in 2001, Woods now becomes one of only five golfers to claim two Players Championship victories at TPC Sawgrass — joining Fred Couples, Steve Elkington Davis Love III and Hal Sutton.
It was also Tiger's 78th PGA Tour victory overall, which puts him four behind Sam Snead’s record 82 wins. Woods claimed $1.71 million with the victory.
“The whole idea is to continue winning golf tournaments,” Woods said after accepting the trophy. “The records will take care of themselves in the end.”
This year, Woods reached four PGA Tour victories quicker than he has in any previous year.
“Each and every year, I keep trying to get better,” Woods said. “So far this year, I’m off to a pretty good start.”