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Monday, May 13, 2013
Woods wins The Players

ESPN.com

Tiger Woods collected his 78th PGA Tour victory in spectacular fashion Sunday at The Players Championship near Jacksonville.

Woods lost a two-shot lead when he hit his drive in the water at 14. While Woods steadied himself, his competition (including Sergio Garcia) crumbled down the stretch. Our experts discuss Tiger's winning performance in the The Players Championship and the future of runner-up David Lingmerth in this week's Monday Four-Ball.

Tiger Woods

1. Tiger has four wins this year. Can he surpass his nine-win season of 2000?

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Let's give Tiger the benefit of the doubt and say he wins his next two starts (Memorial and the U.S. Open). That would put him at six wins in nine starts, three wins ahead of his 2000 pace. But ... that year he won in Maui, Pebble Beach, Canada, and three majors. Only one of those wins will be duplicated (U.S. Open), so I'll say, no he won't win more than nine times in 2013.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Yes. If Tiger plays the same schedule for the remainder of the season as he did in 2012, he has 11 more events. I like his chances to win at least six of 11 events.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: It certainly looks that way, although six more wins is still a lot to ask. He's got Muirfield Village, Congressional, Firestone, TPC Boston and East Lake as venues where he's had past success. Including the major championships, he's likely got 10 more tournaments. Six wins? Never say never, but I'd lean toward no.

2. Sergio Garcia complained that Tiger Woods was a distraction to him on the course this past weekend. Woods countered by saying he was not surprised that Garcia was complaining. Who was right ... Tiger or Sergio?

Collins: They were both at fault, but the question I always ask is, if it was Steve Stricker who Tiger was playing with and that happened, would he have apologized? Sergio or his caddie should have said something right after, going public was wrong. Tiger not saying sorry sets a bad example.

Evans: Sergio was petty and nitpicky. He was wrong for that, but that doesn't mean he didn't have a legitimate argument.

Harig: Tiger. Sergio was clearly distracted, but this was at worst an accident. Woods was pulling a club from his bag, and the crowd reacted. He couldn't even see Garcia. Way too much was made of the incident, and nobody knows distractions on a golf course better than Woods.

3. What does Sergio's collapse mean for the rest of his year?

Collins: Sergio will not win this year. That would have been different even if he had only finished bogey-bogey. But quad-double? That is the definition of a choke. You ain't getting over that this year. Better luck in 2014 season (at least it starts early).

Evans: It means he will carry the memory of the collapse around like a 100 pounds of baggage until he wins a tournament.

Harig: Not much. Garcia came up short at the 17th, and then tried for the miracle shot again, hoping to save a bogey. He actually played nicely aside from the end, the 18th hole having little meaning at that point.

David Lingmerth

4. David Lingmerth. Flash in the pan or player to be reckoned with?

Collins: Force to be reckoned with. He's a guy who wanted to try to go pro as a hockey player. Look at Jerry Kelly, he has had a pretty nice career. Also doesn't hurt that he lives close to Jonas Blixt (literally 10 yards from his house) and they practice together at TPC Sawgrass. He'll be around for a few years and will have a win on his résumé next year if not sooner.

Evans: Lingmerth has a solid golf swing and a good putting stroke. He's fearless and calm. He may not be the second coming of Tiger Woods, but he can have a nice career.

Harig: Tough call. He had missed five straight cuts. He seems to either do well or fall completely flat. He also lost in a playoff at the Humana Challenge. The good news is he is seizing his opportunities. A good run at The Players ought to give him some confidence.