Tiger Woods misses out on top-10 finish after late slip at Sawgrass
By Keith Jackson at TPC Sawgrass
Last Updated: 14/05/18 6:42am
Tiger Woods became another high-profile victim of the notorious 17th at TPC Sawgrass as he narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish at The Players Championship.
Woods maintained his superb form of the third round and continued to charge up the leaderboard, knocking in his sixth birdie of the day at the 12th to get into a share of second place - albeit five strikes adrift of Webb Simpson at the time.
But his hope of exerting pressure on the leader down the stretch were dashed by a bogey at 15, and he then found water at the 17th to run up a double-bogey five to the disappointing of the thousands surrounding the hole.
Woods escaped with a par at the long second after blocking his tee shot close to the bushes on the right, but he then reeled off three consecutive birdies and added another at the ninth to turn in 32.
The 42-year-old just missed out on an eagle at the 11th and then rode his luck at the next, when his tee shot was heading for trouble until rebounding off a tree and back into the fairway.
He took full advantage with a precise pitch to four feet that he converted for birdie which took him into a tie for second at the time, but he paid the price for a big misjudgement at the 14th.
Woods split the fairway with a mammoth drive of over 350 yards, but his wedge approach came up short and spun back off the front of the green, from where he chipped to eight feet and lipped out with the par attempt.
After a par at 15, Woods was unable to make a four at the long 16th and his frustration increased at the next, when his wedge at the iconic penultimate hole came up short of the island green.
His third from the drop zone almost skipped off the green and into the hazard, and he two-putted for a disappointing five before his birdie putt from 12 feet at the last missed on the low side.
Woods tapped in for a 69 and a score of 11 under par, just missing out on a top-10 finish having scraped into the weekend with nothing to spare on one under.
"I played really good today," said a satisfied Woods afterwards. "I hit it so good, I had control of it from tee to green, I made some putts and I felt good on basically every facet of the game.
"I didn't really mishit a shot today and to only shoot three under par is just weird, because I played much better than that. I think I got within four or five of the lead at one point, and if I would have played I think the last five holes maybe in four or five under par, I might have had a chance, and just didn't do it.
"I figured I needed to shoot probably 10 for the day to have a chance, but at 14 I figured it was going to skip if it was blowing downwind, and it rips back off the green and made bogey there.
"At 16 the ball skips and I'm well past the hole, and then at 17 I got a puff that came back in my face. And that's just the way it goes. I hit good shots all day long, I hit the ball better today than I did yesterday, and I obviously didn't end up with the score I needed to.
"I didn't play particularly well in the first couple days, but I turned it around this weekend and I got it rolling. I hit the ball well, I controlled it and I made some putts. I knew my putting was right around the corner, I knew I was close because I hit good putts that just didn't go in. It was just a matter of time, and this weekend was it."