PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have never had a conversation longer than a couple of minutes, and rarely about golf. Maybe it’s because they already think along the same lines when it comes to winning tournaments.
The Players Championship was another example of how Woods rarely beats himself.
Woods was standing on the 17th tee Sunday when he looked over and saw Garcia approaching the par-5 16th green with a putter in hand, realizing he was there in two and at worst would make birdie to tie Woods for the lead.
The pin was in its traditional Sunday location, the back right corner behind the bunker. Finding land is always the priority. From there, it’s a bonus to catch the ridge that feeds the golf ball down a gentle slope toward the hole.
“The thing is, you can get baited into hitting it over there, and that’s the hard part,” Woods said. “I thought that the prudent play for me was hit it in the center of the green, even left-center, and try and hit kind of a pull-cut. It I hit a pull-cut, it’s going to have a little bit of distance to it, and it might have the shape where it might land up on top and feed down. But when I hit it, a little bit of gust came up and it stalled out.”
The ball stayed on the front of the green, leaving a difficult putt from 45 feet. Woods hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go in Sunday. This might have been the best putt that he wasn’t expecting to go in. The pace was perfect, 3 feet away, and he made his par. Mission accomplished.
Garcia, who two-putted for birdie on the 16th, was standing on the 17th tee watching Woods make his par.