Tiger Woods could have done without his little piece of Fridayhistory. Until the second round of the championship of the players, he had not scored more than a double five times in the 17th.
Two short irons in the water triggered a seven this time; Woods slipped from eighth to 57th place in the space of 10 minutes. A wider disappointment was palpable and the man himself was an image of fury.
If this scene rather broke through what had become an expected atmosphere around Woods – he reached 17, his eighth, three-under par for his round – his response was as formidable as typical. The 43-year-old, 43-year-old did not miss another shot before signing for a player under 71. His under-three total means survival for the weekend, comfortably and his persistent aspirations of adding a third player title.
"I was pretty excited, no doubt about it," Woods said. "I was attached and determined to recover everything and bring it back to five sous.
"I thought it would have been a hell of a fight. I ended up coming back to three – it was still a good fight to get to this point, but for now I'm six [from the lead], which is quite feasible on this course, especially with the weather.
"I just have to go out and put it together, because at the moment, virtually everyone who is successful in the cup has a chance to win this tournament."
Woods' first attempt at 17 was perhaps unfortunate, as the balloon tried to cling to the ground. His next attempt from the drop zone was a lamentable effort. Woods had already played four balls in the water to 17th in 68 rounds, which earned him his 18th visit to the Players.
"The two shots, I was just trying to hit the ball on the slope and start with a 20, 25 foot foot and move on," he said. "The second time, I hit it too flat and too hot. But the first of the regular tee was a good shot, he flew a bit too far.
"I am very happy with the way I worked on this course. I missed a few opportunities to get on and off for a birdie. Overall, I think I did well and apart from 17 today, I really did not get it wrong. I could very easily be near this advance. "
Jim Furyk, 48, canceled the match with a second round 64 to take first place at the club-club at nine.
Russell Knox, originally from Jacksonville, was eight hours before the kind of rough finish that Sawgrass can offer. The Scotsman dropped the shots on 17 and 18 before signing for a 68; he took this fall in an admirable spirit. "I've been lucky a few times," he said. "I managed some bad starts with which I left. Golf always makes you and I may have deserved this finish. "
A quirk of history favors Knox. In 2006, at the last edition of the players' championship in March – it was moved in May between the years – the world number 64, Stephen Ames, triumphed. Knox, who lives near this place, was in exactly the same position at the beginning of this week.
Jason Day, the 2016 champion who retired from the Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament last week after six holes due to a back problem, continues to show no lasting effect. The 66-year-old Australians put him firmly in the running at under eight. Patrick Reed's 69 goals meant a total of six less for the mid-year Masters champion.