Tiger Woods secures fourth victory of 2013 at The Players

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods secured his fourth win of 2013 with a two-shot victory at The Players Championship at Sawgrass.

With Woods and Sergio Garcia level, the tournament looked to be heading for a play-off until the Spaniard put two tee shots in the water at the 17th hole.

A par on the 18th was enough for Woods, 37, to take victory with a round of 70.

The American said: "I'm getting better. This was hard. The conditions got tricky. I had a hard time reading the putts. The greens were dicey."

Swede David Lingmerth, who was in the final pair with Garcia, missed a birdie putt on the signature 17th, which is a par three with an island green, to move level with Woods.

But the 25-year-old finished in a share of second with Americans Kevin Streelman and Jeff Maggert. Scotland's Martin Laird shot 67 to finish one shot further adrift alongside Ryan Palmer and Henrik Stenson.

Garcia also found the water on 18 and finished six shots back.

The Spaniard, 33, said: "You have to be disappointed, not so much with 18, but with 17. I got going nicely from the 11th onwards, I felt I was hitting the ball better, felt calmer and got too confident on 17.

"I'd hit so many good shots in a row and I under-hit it."

Woods returned to the top of the world rankings in March but his three previous wins this year had been on courses he has traditionally been successful on.

But, having won at Sawgrass in 2001, this was just his second victory at The Players Championship, sometimes called the "fifth major" in the United States. Woods has now won 78 PGA Tour titles, four short of the record held by Sam Snead.

Woods and Garcia were involved in a row during the rain-interrupted third round after the Spaniard felt that Woods was to blame for crowd noise that interrupted his swing.

But they were kept apart in the final round as Lingmerth joined them in a share of the lead after 54 holes.

Speaking after the third round, Garcia said of Woods: "He's not my favourite guy to play with. He's not the nicest guy on Tour. So it will good for both us not to play together again.

"We don't like each other. It doesn't take a rocket engineer to figure that out. He is who he is. I am who I am. It's best we're not playing together again."

Garcia, when asked if he regetted the spat with Woods, said: "It sounds like I was the bad guy here. I was the victim. I don't have any regrets of anything."

Woods picked up three shots on the front nine of the final round and moved two clear of the field with a birdie on the 12th, only to find the water from the tee and drop two shots on the 14th.

But just as he gave the chasing pack an opening, Maggert put the ball in the water on 17, Lingmerth missed his chance on the same hole and Garcia fell apart.

Woods added: "I was in control and hit the worst shot I could hit on the tee at 14 and made a double but I just stayed patient and told myself that was my only bad swing all day.

"Apart from that tee shot I really played well. I'm just trying to get better and I've had a good start to the year."

England's Lee Westwood had yet another frustrating day with the putter as he finished six shots back, while Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy rallied with four birdies on the back nine to also finish on seven under par.

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