PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Tiger Woods seemed unable to explain a first in his career: hitting two balls in the water at TPC-Sawgrass's normal 17.
The island's iconic green hole has been the scene of many disasters that date back to the beginning of the players' championship on the course in 1982, but generally not in the benign conditions that Woods faced on Friday morning.
After his third stint of the second round and the buzzing crowd all around him, Woods was only two strokes back and tied for eighth place.
A few minutes later, he was in 60th place after his first quadruple bogey 7 and only his second on a normal 3 hole of his career on the PGA Tour.
"The two shots, I'm just trying to hit the ball in the downhill (on the putting green) and leave with a goal of 20 feet and move on," Woods said after firing 71 to end at 141, 3 under s. "The second one I hit was too flat and too hot, but the first of the regular t-shirt was a good shot, it just flew a bit too far."
Woods used a 146-meter pitching corner but pulled it lightly, which meant the ball was flying to the back of the green, rolling along the sidewalk and into the water.
He then went to the drop zone, where the distance to the flag was 80 meters. Woods had a corner of sand and hit it again too hard, while the ball bounced once in the water. After another corner finally found the green, he doubled for a 7.
Golf is difficult.
Tiger Woods puts two in the water on # 17. pic.twitter.com/xEqCMx04Z0
– PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 15, 2019
By entering the day, Woods had only hit four balls in the water at the 17th hole in 68 previous innings of the tournament. That means he's now hit three of his six balls in the water in the last three rounds, while Woods had found the pond in the last round last year, blocking a charge. He tied for the 11th.
From the 10th hole, Woods managed to pass the 12th, 13th and 16th holes in the climb to the standings. In the sixth round of his fifth round, his avatar had attracted a large number of spectators. Going first was a bad thing because Woods said he may have misjudged what he should do.
"I would have taken more, I would have probably taken five more meters," he said. "He got up in the wind and he did it, he has a tendency to freeze on me, just a small tangent corner."
Yet Woods was the only player in the morning wave to hit him in the water on Friday. There were 12 shots that went into the water during the first round.
"I was quite surprised, no doubt about it, and I was determined to get everything back and get back to 5 (under), and I thought it would have been a hell of a fight" said Woods. "I ended up coming back to 3 (under), it was still a good fight to get to this point … I just needed to go out there and to put it together this weekend, because at the moment literally, whoever cuts the posts has a chance to win this tournament. "
Woods did not make a mistake after the bad luck of the 17th, making birdies on the second and seventh holes. He was tied for the 31st match of the afternoon.
Before Friday, Woods had spent 20 years since his quadruple bogey victory on a par 3, which was done at the 1999 Byron Nelson Classic in the third round of the 17th hole. And he had only hit four balls in the water before Friday at the 17th.
"Wise and club, it should not be so difficult," he said. "But we all know that if you get to the top, you have a good chance of getting out of here." And that's the trickiest part, it's just a corner and you want to find it somewhere up there where you have a chance to make a birdie, but you can not afford to place it too far up. "
The 80-lap PGA Tour winner opened the tournament on Thursday with a score of 2 under par 70. In his previous 17 appearances at the tournament, Woods, 43, was five top-10 finishes, including 2001 and 2013.