Success is said to be a double-edged sword.
For golf great Tiger Woods that was true on Sunday of the final round of The Players Championship at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The scene was out of an Old West film. High noon and two players dueling it out for the largest purse of any golf tournament. There was the crafty veteran Hal Sutton staking his claim. On the other side there was the new sheriff of golf, Tiger Woods.
With Hal Sutton playing near-perfect golf and Woods struggling to maintain the one-stroke deficit, the crowd saw that Tiger could be beat. The gallery witnessed that just because Woods was in the final pairing on the last day of a major tournament that it wasn't an automatic victory for the top-ranked golfer in the world.
If you watched any of the action on television you might have heard applause when Tiger missed a putt or had his approach shot go astray. It seemed as if the crowd was sick of Tiger always winning and relished the thought of someone other than the Stanford grad winning a tournament.
There was still the faithful couple thousand in attendance that wanted Woods to win, but the weather-beaten Sutton had an unbeatable aura about him. It was almost a John Wayne approach to golf Sunday.
Sutton, although leading going into the final round, was considered the underdog, and for good reason. Sutton was going into Sunday's round vying to be the oldest player to win The Players Championship. Tiger is the best player in the world and was coming off a win at the Bay Hill Invitational.
But as Sutton swaggered around the first nine at Sawgrass you saw he wasn't going to back down to a 24-year-old. In his interview Saturday night when he found out that Tiger and he would be in the last group, Sutton was not phased. Like Wyatt Earp in Dodge City, Sutton laid down the law.
There was no way Sutton was going to roll over and die. He went along firing bullets at the course and sticking the dagger in the heart of Tiger and his faithful followers.
I am a Tiger fan don't get me wrong. Anyone with that much talent, in a game that is so frustrating, has to be admired. But it was nice to see someone step out from the shadows and finally take the challenge that Tiger has put forth.
It was a duel between two gunslingers. Sutton, the six-shooting veteran, who had fallen out of golf stardom for awhile only to come back and prove he was worth the early praise. Tiger, the Billy the Kid of golf, shooting birdies and taking down names.
I don't know what pleased me more, the fact Sutton proved Tiger is beatable or the fact that announcer Johnny Miller finally had to say something bad about Tiger.
The win by Sutton proves that Tiger is beatable. Although Woods probably will win seven more tournaments this year, including a major, it will be interesting to see who steps up next to take on the new gun in town.
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