Well, The Players Championship has finished and Tiger Woods ends up coming out with the victory for his fourth win of the season. He and Sergio Garcia both led the tournament while having a not-so-friendly exchange of words making it a heated and entertaining battle coming down the stretch.
At the beginning of this tournament it was Roberto Castro who led the way with a record tying performance making it arguably the most dominant opening round in Players Championship history. However, he quickly fell down the leaderboard and ended up finishing tied for 19th with a slew of players including Luke Donald, Zach Johnson and Jason Day, so in the end he still had a strong finish overall and his game should be appreciated and that just shows that there is so much talent on the PGA Tour and Castro is a perfect example of that, even on a course that is a Pete Dye design which is always a challenge, he still managed to play at a high level until Garcia and Woods both charged up the leaderboard and TPC Sawgrass eventually got the best of Castro.
Surely the hall of fame architect Dye appreciates the great competition that has been seen over the years at TPC Sawgrass and have a hole that is arguably considered the most famous in all of golf at the 17th at which Garcia failed to execute when it mattered. Woods has won four tournaments this year with his victory at the “Fifth Major” but still needs to win a major to be the tiger of old. If he didn’t win so many majors back then, then Tiger is in fact back, but the reputation for him grew largely because of his wins at the majors so he will never be back unless he can win a major almost every year like he did back then, he’s just a very good golfer now, but he’s not back to original Woods form like back in the early 2000’s, not even close, especially when Rory Mcilroy won five tournaments just last year including a major.
So it’s still going to take a lot before he’s “back” so appreciate how he’s playing now, don’t worry about him being “back” as those days are gone. Look ahead with the Woods that’s out there now and see how things turn out. He will win tournaments but it’s definitely uncertain when he will win another major, the closest he’s ever gotten was at The Masters and the competition is extremely more fierce than ever before as more and more players rise to occasion to finish strong in majors so Woods has a lot against him and there a lot of very talented players hungry for their first major championship like Kevin Streelman for example who has been playing out of his mind for someone who only has one victory this year.
In almost every tournament Streelman is always towards the top of the leaderboard and he finished second at The Players. If there’s one guy that has a very high chance to win a major this year then it’s definitely Streelman. The Chicago native has proven that he’s the real deal on tour and can compete with the best of the best including Woods and Garcia. Streelman could have had at two or three wins this year and that’s how good he’s played and it kind of came out of now where although, he already proved he was a solid player last year but this year he has come into his own and it’s amazing to see. With the U.S. Open coming around the corner, this is a perfect opportunity for him to finish victorious and get that first major.
Guys he needs to look out for are Jason Day who seems to always be in contention at majors and is very hungry for his first title and Lee Westwood who finished strong at TPC Sawgrass and is also hungry for a major himself. Others that finished in the top 10 at The Players are former Players champion Henrik Stenson, long hitter Ryan Palmer, long putt master and “Golf Boy” Ben Crane, former world number one Mcilroy, the ever talented Martin Laird and Brandt Snedeker who still remains a trooper out there.
This was another exciting year of The Players Championship and next year looks to be just as fun and full of memories and maybe even more trash talk if Woods and Garcia are in the top ten again next year.
(Credit of this article goes to a piece I wrote on eDraft.com)
Colin GP Mieczkowski
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