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2013 Players Championship

2013 Players Championship

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PGA Tour Confidential: Tiger Woods wins Players, Sergio implodes on 17th hole

Tiger Woods, The Players
Fred Vuich / Sports Illustrated
Tiger Woods shot a final-round 70 to win the Players by two shots. It was Woods' fourth title of the 2013 season.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Tiger Woods finished off rival Sergio Garcia on Sunday for his 78th PGA Tour win and his fourth win this season. How does the way Tiger Woods is playing now compare to his other periods of dominance on Tour?

Paul Goydos, PGA Tour veteran and 2008 runner-up at Sawgrass: Until Tiger starts winning majors, it doesn't compare. That said, this is a very nice step in that direction. His first three wins this year were at very comfortable places for him to play, and winning at those courses is almost expected. His record at the Players is average (for him) at best, so winning here is very telling about where his game is.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I've said all along during this "comeback" period that Tiger would go as far as his putter would take him. His putter is back, all the way back, and Tiger is all the way back to being the best player in the game. He's probably not going to resemble the greatest player of all-time, as some considered him, and he's certainly not invincible. But he's good enough to win. Four times already before June. He is dominating now in the number of times he wins, not in how he wins them.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: When Tiger was in his prime around the turn of the century, and even before and after that, he won on courses that didn't necessarily fit his game or anyone else's game. He figured out how to get it done even when he didn't necessarily love the look of the course. This win demonstrates he's getting into that same type of groove. He's also putting like he used to. As Brandt Snedeker said, "It's the five-, six-, seven-footers he's been making all year."

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: He is a lesser golfer. His is the best in the world. The guys chasing him have improved. Slightly.

Joe Passov, senior editor, travel, Golf Magazine: Not quite. He seems to be winning with similar frequency, but doesn't dominate like he used to. He used to win events by 5, 6 and 7 shots with regularity -- and he used to drive it a lot farther than his peers.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Four victories by the middle of May is impressive, but the Tiger Woods of old would have buried the field on the back nine on Sunday. That said, it's all about winning, and nobody's better at it -- or closing the deal.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, It's hard to ever remember him hitting as bad a shot while in the lead as he did on 14 today. And at Torrey, it was unusual for him to complain about slow play and say it was the reason he stumbled coming in. The old Tiger seemed to always take the lead and never look back.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, A quick glance at the stats reveals that Woods is leading the tour in putting this season, so, yep, that's vintage 2001. But today he's winning with his fourth swing, a knee that's been repaired several times and a personal life that's been blown apart and re-assembled. Take it all in account, and with one major win this summer you could make a case that this is Tiger's best year ever.

Stephanie Wei, He's close, but he's not as dominant as he was in 2000. This year has been more about his fantastic putting than anything else -- which is something he struggled with in the previous few years of the post-scandal era. He barely hit driver this week, which is how he should always play. On Sunday, he hit some shots from some bad swing positions. That tee shot on 14 was a result of being stuck on 13, where he hit it long right, and then he overcorrected on 14.

Eamon Lynch, managing editor, He doesn't win in the manner he used to -- either by the same margins or with the same imperious dominance -- but he doesn't have to. His game looks much more mortal than it did in his previous great stretches, but that is more than good enough. I suspect that the only comparison to past runs of form that matters to Woods is his performance in the majors, and in that respect he isn't the player he once was.

2. Sergio Garcia said he and Tiger Woods "don't enjoy each other's company" and Woods is "not a very nice guy," a tempest in a teapot at the Players that started when Garcia accused Woods of distracting him on a shot in the third round. Who was in the right and who was in the wrong in this little skirmish? And why?

Goydos: From what I could tell watching it on TV, Tiger pulled a club out as Sergio was hitting his second shot, which caused the crowd to react. Tiger didn't do it on purpose but he should have apologized when he found out what happened.

Van Sickle: Tiger and Sergio have a mutual dislike for each other. I agree with both of them. I believe they were both wrong at the time and, rather than show some minimum amount of manners afterward when a shallow apology might have gone a long way, they threw more petty logs on the fire. Maybe the microphones didn't pick up all the noise, but a tiny smattering of applause seemed barely audible on Golf Channel's outstanding split-screen replay of the incident.

Godich: I'm going to go with Sergio. Something tells me we haven't yet heard the end of this.

Morfit: As with many sandbox disputes they both are. Sergio should have backed off that second shot on two; it looked like at least three seconds ticked off the clock between the time Tiger pulled out fairway wood and the time Sergio pulled the trigger on his shot into the trees. Tiger should have apologized instead of blaming the marshal. But I'm thankful they managed to turn such a small thing into such a huge tiff. Saved my Saturday story.

Ritter: Sergio probably could've backed off his shot while Woods was across the fairway, just to make sure Woods was settled over there, and Tiger could've offered a quick apology at some point during the round. But what fun would that have been?

Reiterman: I don't think Tiger did anything on purpose to distract Sergio, but he could have waited in the rough and watched Sergio's shot himself before going back to play his shot. But Sergio deserves the blame, he made a rather small incident into a huge ordeal. Shocking!

Bamberger: In matters of right and wrong in the area of human frailty, I defer to a higher authority. Both made it for great TV.

Wei: They were both right and both wrong. Sergio just can't help himself and he's too honest for his own good, but I can't fault the guy for saying how he feels and he sure provides entertainment.

Lynch: I'm all for more honesty from Tour players (and let's at least applaud Garcia for that), but this episode proved only one thing: Garcia's struggle to win big tournaments is less about his shaky putting than the ease with which he can be thrown off course in the heat of battle. Seve Ballesteros was prone to petulance and launching feuds mid-round, too. The difference is that Seve used these perceived injustices as fuel. Sergio seems to use them as excuses for underperforming.

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