After a stunning turn of events, Tiger Woods has held on to win the 2013 Players Championship. Woods shot a final round 70 and finished with a cumulative score of 13-under to secure his fourth win of the 2013 season.
Most importantly, Woods ended the debate on whether or not he's officially back.
Tiger was tied with Sergio Garcia at 13-under par entering the 17th hole of the final round. This was only fitting after the two traded verbal blows throughout the tournament, with Garcia saying Woods is "not the nicest guy."
In the end, the bad guy won and the good guy lost, as Garcia shot 6-over par on the final two holes and Woods held on to win.
This was the second time that Woods won The Players Championship and the first since 2001. As fate would have it, Jack Nicklaus is the only player to win the event three separate times.
The chase continues.
Prior to this calendar year, there had been speculation that Woods' pursuit of Nicklaus' countless records would fall short. After the infamous scandal we'd prefer to forget and the fact that Woods hasn't won a major tournament since 2008, the speculation had merit.
With his win at the 2013 Players Championship, however, Woods has ended the debate—he's back.
Thus far in 2013, Tiger Woods has won four separate events. That includes the WGC Cadillac Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Farmers Insurance Open and, now, The Players Championship.
Believe it or not, this is the fastest Woods has ever won four events in one calendar year.
This is fastest in any PGA TOUR season that Tiger Woods has ever reached four wins.Only other time he had 4 wins before June 1-- 2000— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 12, 2013
Could our generation's greatest golfer be better than ever?
At the 2013 Masters Tournament, Woods finished in fourth with a score of 5-under par. If not for a controversial two-stroke penalty during the second round, however, Woods would have been in the running to win the event.
Unfortunately for Tiger, we don't deal in ifs and maybes. Fortunately for Woods, that near-win was a sign of his progression.
Woods' career-best start continued at a major and set the stage for future success—thus far, he's capitalized.
Final Round Form
If there's one thing that we've come to expect from Tiger Woods, it's a dominant final-round performance. Strangely, we hadn't seen that from Tiger in recent years, which thus resulted in his lack of PGA success.
Thus far in 2013, Tiger's progressively return to that form—sort of.
Rather than pouring in the birdies, we've seen Woods play more of a conservative style at times. For instance, at the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods rested at 14-under par after three brilliant rounds of golf.
Is Tiger Woods back to the player we used to know?
During the final round, however, Woods played it safe and ended up with an even 72 to secure the win—when he did gamble, however, he bogeyed and double-bogeyed holes.
At the WGC Cadillac Championship, it was more of the same, as Woods birdied three of the first 10 holes but bogeyed two of the final three. At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods had two birdies and two bogeys on the final seven holes.
So why are we encouraged?
At the 2013 Masters Tournament, Woods bogeyed two of the first seven holes he played during the final round. He proceeded to go bogey-free on the final 11 holes, landing four birdies and finishing at 2-under par for the day.
At the 2013 Players Championship, Woods overcame a double bogey on 14 and a bogey on 6 by netting five birdie putts. In other words, every time Woods made a mistake, he responded with a magnificent hole.
The sign of the return of Tiger.