Garcia in meltdown as Tiger notches best comeback win

Sam Torrance
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WORLD No1 Tiger Woods claimed his fourth win of the year at The Players Championship on Sunday and, for me, it was his most impressive victory since recapturing something approaching his best form.

Woods looked totally in control. He made so few bad shots, and when he did at 15 he conjured an exquisite up and down to save par, before repeating the trick for a birdie at the next.

By contrast, Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who was tied with Woods heading into 17, endured what can only be described as a meltdown, finding the water three times in the last two holes to finish six shots adrift.

Garcia made silly, unnecessary decisions, especially for someone who has won at Sawgrass before. He did not need to attack the notorious 17th green in order to hit it within three yards of the pin.

Whether it was down to feeling the pressure or not, we don’t know, but it was bad judgement and he paid for it.

Swedish youngster David Lingmerth also went close, being too aggressive with a missed birdie putt, again at 17, to tie with Tiger. He ended two behind but it was a life-changing week for him anyway.

Scotland’s Martin Laird, a further shot adrift, played well without ever quite getting close enough; woeful putting again denied Lee Westwood the rewards the Englishman’s otherwise beautiful play deserved; while world No2 Rory McIlroy finished strongly but, overall, was not on top of his game.

Attention turns now to Bulgaria, where the Volvo World Match Play is taking place at a new, spectacular looking Gary Player-designed course for the first time, from Thursday. Watch out for Ian Poulter, back in his favoured format, and the in-form Henrik Stenson.

Finally, Chinese schoolboy Guan Tianlang, 14, is back in action at the Byron Nelson Championship in Texas, where he faces seven of the world’s top 25, including defending champion Jason Dufner.

Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam