Tiger Woods’s scorecard on Friday contained 17 good holes and one awful one – a really, really awful one.
Woods made a quadruple-bogey seven at the 17th hole, lobbing two balls into the water on the famed par-three. To add to his frustration, he played the other 17 holes in five under par and sits at three-under for the tournament.
“I was pretty ticked,” said a peeved Woods after his round. “No doubt about that.”
It was the first time in 20 years and almost 4,000 holes that Woods has recorded a quadruple on a par-three.
The entire episode began harmlessly. With the pin on the top shelf, Woods attempted to land his tee shot on the slope midway on the green. However the ball carried just a few feet too far and had just enough momentum to teeter over the edge and into the water.
He considered replaying from the tee but moved over to the drop area to hit his third. That one came out flat and hot, and never had a chance to stay dry.
“I figured I can handle an 80-yard shot,” Woods said when asked why he moved to the drop area, “and obviously I can't.”
Although he’s well back of the lead, Woods, ever the optimist, firmly believes he’s still in the hunt for a third Players title.
“I just need to go out there and put it together this weekend, because right now literally anybody who makes the cut has got a chance to win this tournament,” he said.
There are some bright spots in Woods’ game, which may give him hope. His putter, which caused so much trouble in recent starts, has calmed down. On Friday he used just 30 putts to get around TPC Sawgrass, the same as a day earlier. And he missed just two greens on Friday, one of them, of course, being the 17th.
He’s also not feeling any stiffness in his neck, which caused him to withdraw from last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.
But to win would seem to be a stretch considering how far back Woods will be entering the weekend. History is also not on his side. Since 2003, only three players who have made a quad have managed to win on the PGA Tour.
But there is expected to be a change in the weather with temperatures dropping and wind switching directions and blowing a bit stronger. That might make a course that has given up some low rounds play a little bit tougher, something that Woods feels would play into his hands.
But in the end, Woods chances may have been handed a death sentence by his play on one hole, one that he’ll remember for some time.