PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods didn't run away and hide on Sunday, but tightened up over TPC Sawgrass' final three holes to win his second career Players Championship title on Sunday.
Woods fired a 2-under 70 to outlast David Lingmerth, Jeff Maggert and Kevin Streelman by two shots. Here are 5 Things to take away from Woods' 78th career PGA Tour victory:
• • •
1. FOUR! Fans and players alike are used to watching Tiger Woods pull away on Sunday, especially on the back nine.
And Sunday started on that script, with Woods running out to a two-shot lead as he stepped up to the 14th tee box.
And then he did something no one is used to – he popped up a drive that hooked into a lake along the left side of the fairway. He failed to get up-and-down from just in front of the green for bogey, falling back into a four-way tie for the lead with Sergio Garcia, David Lingmerth and Jeff Maggert at 12 under.
“When I hit it (the pop-up hook), I’m like, ‘OK, here we go. You haven’t hit a shot like this all week, so forget it. . . . Let’s make a bogey and let’s get this thing into the clubhouse,’” Woods said. “The next shot was probably the best shot I hit all week.”
But an impressive up-and-down on the par-4 15th, a tap-in birdie at the par-5 16th, a two-putt par from 47 feet at No. 17 and a methodic par at No. 18 allowed Woods to keep the field at bay.
“The shot that turned the tide was the putt on (No.) 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.”
Woods’ play on the par-5s was also crucial. He was 12 under on those holes this week. He also finished sixth in scrambling.
This is only Woods' second career Players title – his other coming in 2001. It is also his fourth win of the 2013 season, the quickest he’s accomplished that feat in a single season.
Woods now has 78 PGA Tour wins, four off the record of Sam Snead. That includes wins in his 100th, 200th and now 300th starts on Tour.
(Check out Woods' equipment from the week right here)
• • •
2. SPLISH SPLASH: Sergio Garcia has had some good memories at the par-3 17th at the Players Stadium course.
The best one, of course, came in 2008 when Garcia celebrated a Players title on the famed island green after defeating Paul Goydos in a playoff.
The worst one might have come on Sunday.
Finding himself tied with Woods for the lead at 13 under, Garcia put two balls into the water at No. 17 to end his tournament hopes. Struck with a pitching wedge, the first tee ball splashed short of the green. The second with the same club did the same thing. Garcia would quadruple-bogey the hole.
“That hole has been good to me for the most part,” Garcia said. “Today is wasn’t.”
Garcia then double-bogeyed No. 18, finding the water off the tee to finish at 7 under and in a tie for eighth. Garcia now has four top-10s at the Players in 14 starts.
As for whether the situation with Tiger Woods at the second hole on Saturday, and the back-and-forth that ensued prior to the final round, Garcia said he wasn’t mentally affected.
“Was it a distraction? Maybe a little bit,” Garcia said. “But I mean, it really distracted me at that time, then after that you kind of move on and you try to figure things out.”
Only when it came down to crunch time Sunday at No. 17, a hole Garcia has figured out on many occasions, he failed to solve it this time around.
• • •
3. YOUR MASTERS CHAMPION: Adam Scott fired a final-round 1-under 71 to finish T-19 at 5 under in his first start since winning the Masters.
After three weeks off, nothing seemed to be missing from Scott’s game, even with a third-round 75 that saw Scott miss eight greens and half of his fairways. That is, nothing except for his green jacket.
Scott is already having separation anxiety with his prized possession since leaving his home in the Bahamas for the Players earlier this week.
“I don't wake up and think I've won the Masters, but when I walk in the closet and I put the green jacket on every morning, I do,” Scott said on Wednesday. “I've enjoyed that. I've missed it the last couple days. It's the first couple days I haven't had it with me, so that's been a lot of fun just wearing it around the house.”
Scott won the 2004 Players, and was even introduced as that instead of as Masters champ on Thursday. That was a little disappointing for Scott, but if there’s one thing he shouldn’t be upset with is the state of his game. His top-20 showing at the Players was his 15th such finish dating to last year’s Players, where he was T-15. He’s made the weekend in his last 20 professional events dating to last year’s Memorial Tournament, which will be his next start on Tour.
Scott has yet to return to his native Australia post-Masters despite being tempted. His reason? He still wants to keep winning golf tournaments, and now that all that elation has somewhat worn off, Scott can focus on doing just that.
“I was floating around on the clouds the last three weeks,” Scott said before later adding, “I want to keep focused while I can and try to make this my biggest year yet, and I think we can rustle up some celebration when I get home at the end of the year.”
And now that his 2013 Players has concluded, he’ll also being having a little reunion . . . with his green jacket.
“Can’t wait for that,” Scott said.
• • •
4. MAN OF STREEL: Not many players on Tour have a resume stronger than that of Kevin Streelman the past couple of months.
Since winning the Tampa Bay Championship on March 17, Streelman now has three top-10s, including a T-2 finish at the Players. It was the best finish at TPC Sawgrass in five starts for Streelman, who shot 11-under 277.
His final-round 67 included six birdies to go along with just two missed fairways and 25 putts.
“I just hit it great,” Streelman said. “I was smart on my putts. I didn’t attack really fast putts and had a couple good looks and was able to (take) advantage of those.”
• • •
5. SHORT SHOTS: Roberto Castro, who held the lead after a first-round 9-under 63 to tie the course record, finished at 5 under, closing his tournament with 78-71-71. . . . Defending champion Matt Kuchar finished T-48 after shooting rounds of 71-68-75-76 for an even-par 288.
-- Nick Masuda contributed to this report