Sunday's victory in The Players Championship was an example of how top-ranked golfer Tiger Woods rarely beats himself.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Top-ranked Tiger Woods and legend Jack Nicklaus seldom talk about golf, but seem to think along the same lines when it comes to winning tournaments.
The Players Championship on Sunday was another example of how Woods rarely beats himself.
Last month, Nicklaus — who earned a record 18 major titles — recalled one he didn’t win. It was the 1971 Masters, and he found the water trying to reach the 15th green with a 3-wood.
“I don’t like to waste a tournament on one shot,” Nicklaus said. “If I was today thinking about strategy of what I wanted to do on that, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I put myself out of the tournament.”
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The island green on the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach is nothing like the 15th at Augusta National, but it was hard not to think about Nicklaus’ remarks when reviewing the hole that settled a duel between Woods and Sergio Garcia.
Woods, who expected to be tied for the lead with Garcia, was standing on the 17th tee. The pin was in its usual Sunday location, the back-right corner. Finding land is always the priority.
“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,” Woods recalled. “If 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.”
Woods’ ball stayed on the front of the green, but he managed to two-putt from 45 feet for a par.
Garcia, playing in the group after Woods, went at the flag and hit the ball into the water. His next shot also found water and he left with a quadruple-bogey 7.
Woods won by two shots and Garcia tied for eighth.
Back to Nicklaus on the topic of high-risk shots:
“If you’ve got a 50-50 chance of doing it, I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said. “If you’ve got a 90-10 chance, think real hard about it, and try to make sure you eliminate the 10.”