Tiger Woods came to the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass in Friday’s second round of The Players on a tear. Through seven holes of his round, he was just a shot off the tournament lead.
And then he put his tee shot in the water on the island-green par 3. Woods’ tee shot went long and left, going over the green and into the water lurking just behind the putting surface. From there, Woods decided to hit his third shot from the drop zone, located ahead and to the left of the tee box. Woods again put a ball in the water. Following a third attempt, Woods’ ball hit the green, and he two-putted for a quadruple-bogey 7, all but ending his chances of capturing a third Players title.
However, even with the initial water ball, Woods could have saved himself perhaps three shots on this hole if he had taken a better relief option than the awkward DZ the Tour provides.
As shared on “Live From The Players,” Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee detailed how Woods would have been eligible to take relief on the walkway on No. 17, which connects the island green to the mainland, so to speak.
Since Woods’ ball landed on the green and then rolled through an area marked with a yellow penalty area line before trickling into the pond, Woods could have played his third shot from where his ball went in the hazard, keeping the entry point of the initial ball between himself and the hole, which, in this case was the walkway that leads to the green. After a relief drop, he could have played from the short grass walkway.
Woods would have left himself a putt from the collar of the walkway that he then could have perhaps gotten up-and-down to make a bogey 4 instead of quadruple-bogey 7.
Preparing for our segment last night, I sent this pic to the rules official to make sure we had it right. Tiger could have had a 30 foot putt for par through the fringe on 17 yesterday. The most dangerous hole in golf addles the brains of all us sooner or later. pic.twitter.com/0UKOGWNN60
— Brandel Chamblee (@chambleebrandel) March 16, 2019
Sometimes, players don’t take advantage of the rules made available to them in situations like this. However, Woods — and any player in this spot in the future — should have considered the possibility that the walkway could have been helpful to him. It was. Unfortunately, not thinking of that cost him as many as three shots and has him nine back of the lead heading into the weekend at The Players.
The good news for Woods is the wind has shifted on Saturday and will remain there on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass, making the 17th hole and 18th hole play into a hurting crosswind. Scores could balloon dramatically, giving a player well back of the lead a chance to make up a lot of ground with a solid pair of weekend rounds.