USA TODAY Sports’ Larry Berger discusses what makes the 17th island green at TPC at Sawgrass a special hole.
USA TODAY Sports
After a disappointing performance on the greens at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, Tiger Woods is back on the course at this week’s The Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s signature event.
Woods shot an up-and-down even par in Thursday’s opening round, bogeying the final hole to lose a chance to finish in the red.
Commonly known as golf’s fifth major due to it’s prestige on Tour, famed TPC Sawgrass course and large winners purse, Woods has won the event twice (2001 and 2013) in 17 appearances. He hasn’t played the tournament since 2015, when he tied for 69th.
For the second consecutive day, Woods tees off in a star-studded group at 8:27 a.m. ET alongside Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Mickelson (+7 on Thursday) won the event in 2007 and Fowler (+2 Thursday) recently won in 2015.
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Island green:17th hole at TPC Sawgrass brings fear, adrenaline for players, caddies
Follow his round with our hole-by-hole tracker throughout the day:
Hole 17 – Par 3
After Phil and Rickie found the water yesterday, Tiger was safe and converted par. Today he’s got a great look for birdie after sticking his tee shot close.
Hole 16 – Par 5
Uh-oh. Tiger hit his stinger shot with an iron and it goes right. Way right. Way way right. He found the pine straw, but it went so far right that he had an angle and put his approach shot just left of the green. His putt from just off the green plays the slope perfectly, nestling up for another birdie look that he converts. 1-under thru 7 (1-under for the tournament).
Fowler (E), Mickelson (+8)
Hole 15 – Par 4
Tiger hit a b-e-a-utiful tee shot here, finding the middle of the fairway. He began his approach shot but backed off at the last second due to a gust of wind. Smart move, he lands this one on the green, but once again has a lengthy look at birdie. Two-putt par once again. Even thru 6 (Even for the tournament).
Fowler (E), Mickelson (+8)
Hole 14 – Par 4
Woods pulls the big dog out again and goes long, but right. He’s in the rough but it doesn’t look like a bad lie. He hits a useful approach that finds the green safely, setting up a lengthy look at birdie. Two-putt par. Even thru 5 (Even for the tournament).
Fowler (-1), Mickelson (+9)
Hole 13 – Par 3
Tiger took his time on the tee box, apparently waiting for some wind to die down. At the last second he switched clubs, then switched back, ultimately hitting his tee shot a little long, missing the green. Woods goes putter here and gets it within a few feet and taps in for another par. Even thru 4 (Even for the tournament).
Fowler (E), Mickelson (+9)
Hole 12 – Par 4
The drivable par 4 finds the fairway, leaving a short wedge to the green. It’s not his best effort, but it’s a look at birdie. Tiger didn’t have the right line here, but he taps in for par. Even thru 3 (Even for the tournament).
Fowler (E), Mickelson (+7)
Hole 11 – Par 5
Tiger pulls driver and finds a left fairway bunker. Tiger lays up in the fairway and hits a wedge around 15-feet from the hole. The birdie putt misses just right, leaving a tap-in par. Even thru 2 (Even for the tournament).
Fowler (+1), Mickelson (+8)
Leaderboard update: Patrick Cantlay got off to a hot start, birdieing his first three holes to take the tournament lead at 9-under par.
Hole 10 – Par 4
Tiger and the boys begin their day on the back-nine Friday. He pulls an iron on the tee and loved it by the looks of his club twirl. His opening tee shot cuts the fairway in half, a great start seeing as he only hit four fairways yesterday. The approach goes right, but his chip nestles up close to the cup. Par. Even thru 1 (Even for the tournament).
Fowler (+2), Mickelson (+8)