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GolfTube: Remembering ‘the putt’ on 17; Miller calls out Woods

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Sizing up the TV coverage from The Players Championship ... and away we go.

The Players Championship started with a big bang (Tiger's WD) and ended with one in the form of a playoff that made for some must-see TV on Sunday afternoon. It made for a compelling week of golf and considering the stock NBC and Golf Channel channel have put into the tournament known as the "fifth major," it only seemed right that the event lived up to the hype.

Even though Tiger departed TPC at Sawgrass after just nine holes, he was still around for the weekend. Well, at least a recorded version of him, anyway. On the 10th anniversary of his incredible birdie putt on the 17th hole that had the famous "better than most" call from Gary Koch, the two sat down to discuss the shot in a feature that ran during Saturday's third round.

Koch and Woods, seated on couches in front of a television, discussed the entire hole, from the initial tee-shot to the holed putt. It was a perfect chance to get Woods' take on the moment 10 years after the fact.

"It was an awful spot," Woods told Koch of where his ball first landed. "I had just seen Fred Funk, who was in the group in front of us, four-putt from just right of where I was. So I was obviously a little ticked off."

Koch asked Woods to break down what he saw when he first looked at the putt, and Tiger gave him the lowdown.

"I broke the putt down into two pieces. The first part goes right to left, and the second part goes left to right. I was just trying to make sure I got it over there far enough to the left and let it kill itself into the hill."

NBC showed the clip, with the audio, in its entirety, with a picture-in-picture of Woods watching the putt. You could see him smile as it went in and look at Koch with a grin. It's a grin we haven't seen a lot of recently.

"It's awesome," Woods said of the crowd's reaction. "I really didn't hear them at all at first because I was yelling so loud."

It was a great choice by NBC to bring Koch and Woods together to break the moment down, and it gave golf fans some insight on a putt that will be remembered for a long time.

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Johnny Miller takes a shot at Tiger Woods

Leave it to NBC's Johnny Miller to take a shot at Tiger Woods for withdrawing from The Players with an injury. While a lot of commentators speculated all week about when Woods would come back to the game, Miller questioned Tiger's toughness and decision to not gut the rest of the round out.

"That's a tough one to figure, really where he's at," Miller said. "He could have taken four or five Advil or something, sort of use no legs, and gut it out."

Really? I understand it's easier to form these opinions when you're not on the course in pain, but Miller just needs to know when it's best to keep his mouth shut. He had no idea how severe the injury, or the pain, was at that time, so I can't imagine he really knows what Woods was going through.

But if anybody is brash enough to question Tiger's toughness, it would definitely be Johnny Miller.

Poulter does his best running man impression

Maybe it was the weather that roared through the Ponte Vedra area on Saturday afternoon, but plenty of golfers were doing crazy things as darkness descended on the third round at The Players.

With a rain delay backing up play, Ian Poulter figured he needed to do something crazy to finish the last couple of holes and get to the clubhouse, thereby saving himself an early wakeup call on Sunday morning to finish his round.

After hitting his tee-shot onto the green at 17, Poulter sprinted the rest of the way to the hole. "Now Johnny, here's a man who really doesn't want to get up early," Gary Koch said, as the cameras caught Poulter in an all-out sprint. "He's running the entire length of the hole. He looks to be in pretty good shape."

"It's speed golf!" Dan Hicks said, as Poulter grabbed his driver and ran to the 18th tee. "And here comes Poulter!"

"I'm not sure about the ettiqute of doing this," Miller said, right before Poulter put the tee in the ground and prepared to hit.

"Have you ever seen anything like this?" Hicks said. "If anybody's going to pull this off, it's going to be Poulter."

Sawgrass turtle makes a splash ... literally

One of the more incredible camera shots of the week had nothing to do with the action on the course. As you can see from the video, a turtle was about to make a splash, and the NBC cameras caught it at the exact second it was about to fall in.

"Everybody's yelling 'don't jump, don't jump!'" Dan Hick said, as the turtle inched closer to the edge, before finally falling in.

I especially enjoyed the slo-mo shot of the turtle teetering on the edge before doing a belly-flop into the water below. Hey, at least NBC used the slo-mo cameras for something useful on Saturday.

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