2008 THE PLAYERS Championship Review
TPC Sawgrass - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
By Matt of Predictem.com
Sergio Garcia took the time to thank Tiger Woods for his absence this week as he accepted the trophy after winning this week’s PLAYERS Championship. While a field that is without Woods is more suitable to most players, Garcia held a ballstriking class all four days at Sawgrass that even Tiger could admire.
Garcia battled some putting issues as well as very windy conditions on Sunday, but came through with solid shots and clutch putts down the stretch to get in to a playoff with Paul Goydos. Sergio probably made the shot of his tournament on the last hole in regulation as he holed a seven-footer for par to maintain his chance to win. The playoff lasted but one hole as Goydos dropped his approach in the water and Garcia followed with a wedge that found the green and two putted for the win. For the day, Garcia carded a 1-under par 71 which gave him a tournament total of 5-under, 283. The victory was the first for Garcia since the 2005 Booz Allen.
Goydos was looking good as he held a three stroke advantage with six to play, but the journeyman could not hold off the bogeys that led to a final round 74 and a regulation tie with Garcia at 5-under.
Jeff Quinney could have joined in the sudden-death playoff, but a bogey on 18 gave him a 70 for the day and left him one back at 4-under, 284 total and in solo third. Rounding out the top five were Briny Baird at 1-under total, good for fourth and Stephen Ames was even for the event and solo fifth.
There was some noise made by names from the past this week as Tom Lehman, Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer all registered top-15 finishes. Couples and Langer had designs on winning before 77’s on the weekend interrupted their charges.
BET ON GOLF TOURNAMENTS AT THE WEB’S BEST GOLF
Defending champion, Phil Mickelson had a chance to repeat, but a 78 on Sunday dropped the lefty down the board to a T21 at four-over. Notables missing the cut this week were Vijay Singh, Justin Leonard and Steve Stricker. All three were 75-plus on Thursday.
The TPC at Sawgrass plays short in comparison to many PGA Tour courses, but flexed plenty of muscle this week, especially with the 40mph wind gusts that were present on Sunday. There were nine final rounds that totaled 80 or more with Jesper Parnevik topping out at 85. The most painful belonged to Kenny Perry, whose 81 took him from second to start the day all the way to a T15 at 3-over.
For the week, Sergio Garcia led the field in both fairways hit and greens hit and while his total putts figure was below average, his putts per green in regulation were better and were just enough to get it done. At 28 years of age, Garcia is firmly planted in the “best to yet win a major” seat once again.
As a note, Tiger Woods’ rehab is advancing as planned and he is tentatively looking to play in two weeks at The Memorial. A worse case scenario still has Tiger back for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines the second week of June.
Tiger remains in the Money List lead, with $4.425 million won thus far. Phil Mickelson remains in the second seat at $2.7 and change but is being tracked down by Stewart Cink in third and Geoff Ogilvy in fourth at $400,000 and $500,000 behind. Vijay rounds out the top-5 here at $2.18 million. Sergio Garcia used the $1.71 million winner’s share at THE PLAYERS to move from 110th to 7th and Paul Goydos takes home a million and moves to 26th from 140th. For the year, there are 7 players at the $2 million dollar mark, and there are 38 Tour players at $1 million or more.
The FedExCup Points List has Tiger on top, followed by Phil and Cink in the two and three slots. The youngster, Anthony Kim is in fourth with Vijay in the five spot. Sergio makes a big move here as well, going from 115th to 14th.
Each week we pick three golfers for the win and breakdown a few matches, here’s how we did.
For the Win:
Phil Mickelson - 11 to 1 - T4 going into Sunday, wayward drives led to 78 and T21.
Padraig Harrington - 20 to 1 - 72 on Thurs. was alright, 78 on Fri. wasn’t. T90/MC
Stephen Ames - 50 to 1 - Looked real good here, but doubled 18 on Sat and Sun. Solo 5th
Matches (Our Pick)
Mickelson v. Scott (Winner: Mickelson) - A win here as Scott went 80 on Sunday.
Furyk v. Singh (Winner: Furyk) - Liked Furyk as local favorite, came through with a T20 as Singh missed the weekend.
Cink v. Harrington (Winner: Harrington) - Took the loss here as Paddy was a MC while Cink finished T21.
Ogilvy v. Choi (Winner: Ogilvy) - No harm, no foul here as they both missed the cut for the push.
Summary: 2-1-1 for the week, see you soon for this week’s preview.