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Woods’ Victory Nearly Inevitable

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA | The word around championship golf is that Tiger Woods is no longer intimidating to the rest of the field when the race comes down the home stretch on Sunday. Apparently the best player in the world never heard the word. Woods is not perfect anymore, if he ever had been, but he’s still way too good that even when he lets the leaders get back into the game, he simply can’t or won’t be caught. The chasers stop chasing and everyone else wilts in Woods’ heat. Woods won the Players Championship on Sunday when his closest pursuers went where Players dreams are buried at sea, the water of the island green 17th. Woods won without his best stuff and didn’t need it because those closest to him produced their worst stuff at the worst time. Sergio García, full of acrimony over a perceived slight on Saturday, stood at the 17th tied with Woods for the lead and dumped not one, but two balls in the water and went where Len Mattiace and Sean O’Hair lost their chances and where he, García, sent Paul Goydos when the Spaniard won this championship in 2008. About an hour earlier, 49-year-old Jeff Maggert, tied for the lead with Woods, drowned his hopes at the 17th with a tissue-thin 9-iron that never even came close to the green. In the end, it is Woods’ 78th PGA Tour victory in his 300th start, his fourth victory this year, and adds to his legacy that he is without a doubt the best closer in the game today and perhaps in history. Woods did all this by shooting 2-under-par 70 in the final round for a 72-hole total of 275, 13-under par at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. He beat unknown 25-year-old rookie David Lingmerth, who was tied for the lead when the final round began, Maggert and Kevin Streelman, who shot 67 in the final round. All three were tied at 11-under 277. Maggert shot 70 with a birdie at the 18th and Lingmerth bogeyed the last for 72. Woods hasn’t won a major championship since 2008 and much has been made of that gap in his resume. He now has four victories in mid-May and is the odds-on favorite to win the U.S. Open at Merion in June, a course he says he has never played.


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