Tiger Woods triumphs as Sergio sinks in Players Championship (+video)
Tiger Woods won his second career Players Championship Sunday. It's also Tiger Woods' fourth win this season, coming at the expense of Sergio Garcia.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.
One bad tee shot made Tiger Woods appear vulnerable. One clutch par putt and a critical birdie made him look invincible.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Tiger Woods through the years
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Woods closed out The Players Championship on Sunday like he has so many other tournaments: hitting big shot after big shot down the stretch.
His latest unflappable finish helped him secure his fourth victory of 2013 and capture the richest prize on the PGA Tour for the first time in a dozen years.
"I know a lot of people ... thought I was done," said Woods, who has never won four times this early in a season. "But I'm not."
This one had to be special. Not only did he win on Mother's Day for the second time in his career with girlfriend and Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn in attendance, but Woods also won the final showdown against Sergio Garcia after a weekend filled with tense stares and sharp words.
Woods and Garcia were tied for the lead with two holes to play before heading in opposite directions. 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 any satisfaction in beating Garcia again, Woods kept that to himself.
"We just go out there and play," said Woods, who earned $1.71 million and pushed his season total to over $5.8 million in just seven tournaments. "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 par-4 14th hole for double bogey. But his short game bailed him out to save par on the 15th and make a sand-save birdie on the 16th. He was solid on the final two holes for a 2-under 70.
"The shot that turned the tide was the putt on 15," Woods said. "To go double bogey-bogey would have been huge. But to save a putt there and get some momentum going to the next three holes was big."
Garcia's finish was messy.
The Spaniard was standing at the 17th tee, staring across to the island green as Woods made his par. He took aim at the flag with his wedge and hung his head when he saw the ball splash 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.