The Spaniard won The Players Championship in 2008 in a playoff on the 17th hole. Paul Goydos came up short and in the water, Garcia found the green.
This wasn’t a playoff.
Garcia, however, went at the flag and posed over the shot until he saw the splash.
“As the ball was in the air I was thinking, ‘Please be right,’ because it was straight at it,” Garcia said. “It was probably 3 feet left of the hole. When it splashed, you think, ‘Well, hopefully I hit a good shot after this and make 4 and still have a chance on the next.’ It’s pretty much as simple as that.”
Only it wasn’t that simple. His next shot bounced off the mound framing a bunker and caromed back into the water. He wound up with a quadruple-bogey 7. Adding to his misery, Garcia put his tee shot into the water on the 18th for a double bogey.
To say such mistakes never happen to Woods would be to ignore the final hole at Dubai in 2001, when he went for the green on the 18th hole and found water for a double bogey to lose by two shots. He has lost tournaments down the stretch. More often than not, the other guy beats him.
Back to Nicklaus, talking about Augusta National, though it can apply to other golf courses and situations.
“If you’ve got a 50-50 chance of doing it, I wouldn’t be doing it,” Nicklaus said about high-risk shots. “If you’ve got a 90-10 chance, think real hard about it, and try to make sure you eliminate the 10.”
(Nicklaus said he has never talked to Phil Mickelson about this.)
Woods made a mistake on Sunday when he hit a pop-hook into the water on the 14th, leading to double bogey that gave hope to about a half-dozen players, at least for a short time. That was because of a bad swing, which is bound to happen over 18 holes of a final round. It’s his head that kept him in the game.