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Tiger Woods reacts after being presented with The Players Championship trophy after winning the PGA golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday. Chris Keane / Reuters
Tiger Woods reacts after being presented with The Players Championship trophy after winning the PGA golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday. Chris Keane / Reuters

Golf: Another trophy brings even more drama for Tiger Woods

As Tiger Woods won the Players Championship title, questions were raised about whether he took yet another improper penalty drop after hitting his tee shot into the water on the 14th hole, writes Steve Elling.

His world ranking continues to climb. His place in terms of public perception, well, that is somewhat less quantifiable.

Tiger Woods won last week at TPC Sawgrass, a locale that had become his personal kryptonite, holding off Sergio Garcia to reach the four-victory plateau at the earliest point in his 17 full seasons as a professional. Yet, as has become the custom, there was plenty of hangover, just as at the Masters.

At Augusta, Woods generated as many headlines for taking a bad penalty drop as Adam Scott did by becoming the first Australian to win a Masters title.

In fact, the issue with Woods still swirled as he played at Sawgrass last week. As he won the Players Championship title, questions were raised about whether he took yet another improper penalty drop after hitting his tee shot into the water on the 14th hole, and while the video evidence was inconclusive, the questions cemented the point that while Woods has again wrapped both arms around the No 1 ranking, his image in the eyes of many will never be the same.

NBC analyst Johnny Miller called the drop "really, really borderline." Worse, on Tuesday, Sports Illustrated posted a story in which two Sawgrass marshals strongly disputed Woods's version of events relating to a third-round verbal spat with Garcia, with both claiming Woods misrepresented the facts to bolster his version of events.

"He was saying what was good for him," chief hole marshal John North, a Vietnam veteran and Naval Academy graduate, told the magazine. "It lacked character."

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