A look back at the 2001 Players Championship which was won by Tiger Woods, who holed a famous putt on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass en route to victory, a putt described as ‘better than most’ in a memorable commentary from NBC’s Gary Koch
Last Updated: 09/03/21 4:31pm
Tiger Woods has produced plenty of memorable moments during his career and 20 years ago at TPC Sawgrass he holed a putt that was “better than most”.
That was how Woods’ monster putt on the iconic 17th green during the third round of The Players Championship in March 2001 was described by NBC commentator Gary Koch.
Woods was only tied for eighth after two rounds, but made his move on the Saturday with a round of 66, the highlight being his birdie at the 17th. He faced a 60-foot, downhill, triple-breaker from the back fringe of the island green for a birdie and few would have been expecting him to make it.
Woods started his ball to the right of the hole before it drifted left down the slope and then turned sharply right before finding the right edge of the cup and dropping in, all this accompanied by three calls of “better than most” from Koch in the commentary box.
Koch later told the PGA Tour website: “He hits the putt and initially Johnny (Miller) says, ‘how’s that look?’. The first, ‘better than most,’ came out. Then as it got going down the hill, it was clear to me the ball was far enough to the left, way more so than any other ball had been all day long. That was when the next, ‘better than most,’ came out. And then, of course, it went in the hole. ‘Better than most’. It was a classic Tiger moment.”
The Players Championship Live
March 11, 2021, 11:30am
The crowd around the 17th green went wild after the ball dropped in with a smiling Woods lifting both his arms above his head before raising his right fist to salute the cheers. Woods was later asked about the putt and admitted he had Fred Funk to thank for its success.
He said: “The truth is that I had a little teach before that putt. We had a delay there on the 17th tee, and Fred Funk was playing right in front of us. He hit it up on the top shelf and he four-putted the hole and so I saw how as it came over the rise and as it started going to the right, how much it picked up speed.
“He almost putted it off the green. In fact he did putt it off the green. So I knew how quick it was, so I gave it a little bit more. It broke left a lot at the top with the old green and then it just snapped at the right.”
Woods ended the third round in a share of second place with Vijay Singh, two behind Jerry Kelly, following his 66.
Tiger Woods: 2001 Players Champs
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Bad weather led to the final nine holes being played on the Monday, with a five-under 67 proving good enough to give Woods a one-shot victory over Singh – that birdie putt proving to be ‘better than most’ when it came to providing his narrow winning margin.
Was Woods’ ‘better than most’ putt the most iconic in his PGA Tour career? Click on the video above and judge for yourself!
Watch The Players throughout the week live on Sky Sports’ dedicated channel. Live coverage begins on Thursday March 11 from 11.30am on Sky Sports The Players.