Originally created 03/27/06

Tiger finishes trying week at Players



PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Tiger Woods ended a difficult week with his most troublesome round at The Players Championship.

Woods shot a 3-over 75 in the final round Sunday and tied for 22nd place, 15 strokes behind winner Stephen Ames.

Woods made two double bogeys and struggled everywhere except off the tee, but said he managed to stay focused despite his father's failing health.

"If you tee it up, you tee it up and give it everything you've got," he said. "That's how I was taught to play the game, and that's how I play it."

Woods traveled cross country Tuesday to check on his father, Earl Woods, who has been battling cancer in Cypress, Calif. He missed the final practice round and considered withdrawing from the tournament, but he decided to return in hopes of lifting his father's spirits with some highlights.

He didn't have very many on the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass, the site of his 1994 U.S. Amateur victory.

"Frustrating in the sense that I threw away so many shots around the greens this week," said Woods, who finished at 1-over 289. "This weekend was probably one of my best driving performances all year. Hit my irons terrible and putted even worse."

Woods wasn't sure when he would return to see his dad. He was scheduled to drive home and play Monday and Tuesday in the Tavistock Cup, an annual match between PGA Tour players who live in the exclusive Orlando communities of Isleworth and Lake Nona.

He said he planned to arrive in Augusta, Ga., for the Masters next Monday.

But everything will depend on his father's condition.

"You should always try and look at the glass as half full," he said. "That's what you have to do in life, and there's always a bright side to everything. You've just got to find it sometimes."

---

MASTERS MISS: Rookie Camilo Villegas finished a birdie shy of making the Masters field.

Villegas entered The Players needing a strong showing to move into the top 10 on the money list and earn a trip to Augusta for the tour's first major in two weeks.

He got really close, but came up $94,921 short. He finished in a four-way tie for third at 5 under with Pat Perez, Jim Furyk and Henrik Stenson. Had Villegas made one more birdie, he would have been alone in third and picked up enough prize money to pass Stuart Appleby for 10th.

"I gave it my best... but hopefully there will be plenty of Masters for me in the future," said Villegas, who got into The Players as an alternate when fellow former Florida golfer Chris DiMarco pulled out with a rib injury.

Villegas felt like he left a birdie or two on the course, most notably the 4-footer he missed on No. 11 that turned into a three-putt par.

"It's my first year out here and I've got nothing to complain about," said Villegas, who will take two weeks off after playing five consecutive tournaments. "It's been so much fun getting to play great golf course, great tournaments with the best players in the world.... It's been a fun ride."

Fellow rookie J.B. Holmes also missed the cut for the Masters. Holmes was 10th on the money list before last week's Bay Hill Invitational, but finished 48th there and then tied for 38th at The Players.

---

MORE MELTDOWNS: Three prominent players quickly fell out of contention Sunday, the third consecutive day at least one golfer has suddenly dropped from the leaderboard.

Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Mike Weir - all of them playing in one of the final two pairings - were a combined 13 over after the first five holes Sunday.

Singh shot a 5-over 77 and finished tied for eighth. Garcia (78) and Weir (79) were 14th and 22nd, respectively.

"What can you do?" said Garcia, who has struggled in the final round all year. "You're not going to kill yourself. You're just going to keep working on it and hopefully one of these years I'll have a good Sunday."

At least they started the day in the mix.

Davis Love III was a record-tying 18 shots worse between the first and second rounds and became the first player in the 33-year history of the PGA Tour's showcase event to go from leading the field to missing the cut.

Adam Scott shot a 10-over 82 in the third round Saturday, dropping from the leaderboard to near the back of the pack.

---

FOUR OF A KIND: Fred Couples became the first player in tournament history with two aces. Couples rolled in a 9-iron shot from 159 yards away on No. 13, making the fourth ace in three days at The Players Championship.

Justin Leonard and Jesper Parnevik each aced No. 13 on Friday. Henrik Stenson had one there Saturday. The four aces marked the most in any year at The Players.

Couples also made a hole-in-one in 1997 at the famed 17th, the daunting island hole at the TPC at Sawgrass.

---

DIVOTS: Arron Oberholser really struggled after taking the a one-shot lead to No. 17 in the third round Saturday. He played his final 20 holes at 14 over, including a 9-over 81 in the final round. He had three double-bogeys and two triples, including one at the 17th that seemingly triggered the slide.... Vaughn Taylor and Fredrik Jacobson were the only players Sunday to birdie each of the four par 5s.... The Stadium Course will undergo a massive redesign beginning next week. The current topsoil will be replaced with a sand base and a drainage system, helping the course handle rain and water better. The tournament also will be moved from late March to early May.