Tiger Woods Cementing Status as Unquestioned World No. 1 at TPC Sawgrass

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IMay 10, 2013

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 10:  Tiger Woods of the USA smiles on the 11th tee during round two of THE PLAYERS Championship at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is already the No. 1 golfer in the world yet again, but he's yet to reclaim that same luster about his game that made him a must-watch every time he was on the course. 

After he leaves Ponte Vedra Beach and the 2013 Players Championship, there's a good chance Woods will yet again be the guy that no one wants to see in their final pairing on Sundays—he's been that good at TPC Sawgrass this week. 

And the week is only halfway over. 

Woods followed up his opening-round 67 with the same score on Friday, hitting an eagle on the par-five No. 2 and cupping five more birdies on the day to finish at 10 under for the tournament. Heading into Round 3, Tiger is just one shot behind current leader Sergio Garcia (-11). 

Starting his day on the par-four No. 10, Woods got off to a hot start yet again. Nos. 10, 11 and 12 have clearly been Tiger's best three-hole stretch during his two-day run at The Players this year, as he's birdied the six holes five times through the first two days. 

He then dropped a shot at No. 14 before making up for it at No. 16 (his second day in a row to birdie that hole) and dropped an eagle at No. 2 before navigating his way to another low round in a tournament he has not won since 2001. 

Tiger Woods' 2-Round TPC Sawgrass Scorecard 
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Par 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 3 5 4 5 4 3 4 4 5 3 4
1 4 (4) 3 4 4 4 4 3 (4) (3) (4) (3) 3 4 4 (4) 3 [5]
2 4 ((3)) 3 (3) 4 4 [5] 3 (4) (3) 5 (3) 3 [5] 4 (4) 3 4

*Birdies listed in bold and parenthesis (), eagles listed with double parenthesis (()), bogeys listed in bold and brackets [].

All in all, Woods couldn't have been happier with his second round at the TPC Sawgrass—even with the two bogeys that dropped his score. 

Jason Sobel noted as much on Twitter:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Throughout his career, Tiger Woods has often gone low, then publicly contended he was disappointed. Today? "I'm pleased with every facet."

While we've seen Tiger get back into championship form with four wins in the 2013 season, there's something about his performance at Sawgrass that is really sticking out. Whether it's because of the difficulty of the course, the over decadelong drought or because we're just waiting for Tiger to dominate again, we do not know. Regardless of the reason—there's something going on in Florida on the PGA Tour this week. 

It just so happens it's going on with the world's No. 1 golfer. 

Despite winning four tournaments (one being the Tavistock Cup) this year, we've still been waiting for Tiger to truly take over. His fourth-place tie at the Masters was a step toward that end game, and if you look at Woods' last few tournaments, there's been no one who has the consistency or lethal low-score ability that he does. 

Check out this stat from Justin Ray of ESPN:

Justin Ray @JustinRayGC

After today's 67, 13 of Tiger Woods' last 14 rounds have been below par. 73 in 2nd Round of Masters (rules violation) the only exception.

Woods is also leading the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting heading into the tournament, something that likely won't change this week. His stats from his first two rounds at the Players are sensational (h/t ESPN)—75 percent greens in regulation, 67.9 percent driving accuracy, and only 1.6 putts in the greens he hits correctly. 

Tiger just has the look of the best player in the world right now—and it isn't even close if you listen to tweets like this from Sobel:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Tiger Woods eagles the second hole and he's now tied for the lead. Easily the best he's looked at TPC Sawgrass in over a decade.

Golf Digest is impressed, too:

Golf Digest @GolfDigest

So far, Woods has been a maestro in control who has the look of someone determined to finish what he's started. http://t.co/9TPBRhRu0h

If Woods wasn't putting up big numbers at Sawgrass, no one would be complaining or even surprised. In 15 career starts here he has just one win, a ratio that easily makes this one of the worst courses in his otherwise standout career. 

If you look at the rest of the leaderboard, too, there's plenty to talk about. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy stayed in contention with a nice second round. Adam Scott is hovering at seven-under par and Marc Leishman continues to crash big tournaments with his six-under score. 

Lee Westwood is also just two strokes off the pace, and former Players champ Matt Kuchar is hanging around. 

Yet, Woods continues to grab the headlines for what has to be his best stretch since the fall from grace in late 2009. His putting has been outstanding, his driver is coming along and his confidence is sky-high—something that should scare the rest of the field more than any stat can. 

Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world right now, and No. 2 isn't even on the same level. It's been a treat to watch his game in 2013, and we haven't even reached the main course of what could turn out to be his best season in years. 

At the very least, don't bet against him being in contention on Sundays. 

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