PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – This time, Tiger Woods was laughing after his trip to TPC Sawgrass's Green Island.
A day after going to the normal-3 17 after making a quadruple bogey 7 by diving two balls into the water surrounding the green, Woods snickered in the short hole but scary the third round of the championship The Players on Saturday.
Making two points inside 3 feet improves the mood quickly, Woods using a bevel to set up his birdie kick-in. And it's helpful to have a fun buddy, and Kevin Na played that role for a T.
Woods and Na were not exactly Martin and Lewis, nor Abbott and Costello, but they pissed off thousands of spectators and even themselves with a little routine. Na was the instigator, while he was facing a birdie putt within 5 feet. Before the bullet hit the hole, Na had already taken a big step forward and was preparing to pick it up. The ball barely touches the bottom of the cup before Na's fingers pull it out.
Woods burst out laughing. Moments later, he did the same thing.
"He almost took the ball out of the hole before she even got there," Woods said. "And I had a nudge, so I tried to imitate it the best I could, while still trying to do the putt. I thought I'd have a little fun with that, but I had to make sure I put it online first and then I did what I did. "
This comic exchange was the highlight of a round full of fights for Woods, who posted a score of 72 and was never accused by the leaders. When he signed his scorecard, Woods was found nine strokes back.
Once again, Woods started slowly. With his putter as dull as the gray sky, Woods failed to make a birdie before the 12th hole. Bogeys at the second and third holes delayed him and another in the eighth essentially ended his chances of winning. Instead, he had to start thinking about doing the secondary cut.
Woods could not change his mojo as birdie putts at the fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth holes, either burning an edge or coming out of the nose. He barely missed again on the 14th.
A birdie of two shots on the 12th, where he flew the green of the court par-4, pissed on his step. A solid birdie on 16 was the forerunner of the 17's shenanigans and Woods closed with a pair.
"I've just struggled with the green speeds being so much slower," Woods said. "I was a little surprised that they were so slow. I probably made the mistake of putting a little yesterday afternoon, they were dry, crispy and fast. We went out this morning and we were surprised at how slow they were on the putting green.
"So, we thought, well, they might be a little faster on the golf course, maybe throw them some SubAir, but they did not do it. They were slow, the grain bothered him a bit more and I had trouble hitting the putts hard enough. "
For the last lap, Woods will not be paired with Na, who missed the secondary cup after a shot at 78. While Woods might share some laughter with the one with whom he is associated, he will strive to get the best party of the tour.
"Just try to shoot below average and go up a bit," said Woods. "I fought hard in the last nine places and would have liked to get closer to that lead. I will continue to fight. "