(Reuters) – Tiger Woods enjoyed one of the most famous moments of his career on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, but on Friday at the Players Championship the same hole exacted its revenge when he made a quadruple bogey.
Woods was sailing along smoothly, within striking distance of the lead when he arrived at the 146-yard par-three hole, where the island green leaves little margin for error.
He pulled his tee shot a touch, but seemed to get lucky when his ball landed on the edge of the green before rolling on to the small sliver of land that serves as a bridge to the putting surface.
However, the 14-times major champion’s ball trickled over the back and into the water as the gallery groaned.
Woods compounded his problems by pulling his next shot from the drop zone, a mere 90-yard pitch that professionals could usually execute with their eyes closed.
His ball took one bounce and disappeared into a watery grave beyond the green, forcing him to reload from the same place.
Woods finally found the heart of the green with what was his fifth shot, and two-putted for seven.
That was the only blemish on his card, as he compiled five birdies for a one-under-par 71.
“The second wedge didn’t really surprise me,” Woods told reporters of his second water ball. “It was too flat. The first one I hit surprised me.
“I was pretty ticked. I was bound and determined to get it all back.”
He posted a three-under 141 halfway total that left him six strokes behind clubhouse leader Jim Furyk.
The 17th is where Woods sank a downhill 50-foot birdie putt from the fringe in the third round en route to victory at the 2001 Players Championship.
“That’s better than most, that is better than most,” television commentator Gary Koch famously said as the ball trundled downhill towards the hole, before diving in the cup as Koch exclaimed one more time “better than most”.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)