March 16, 2019

Woods Gets a Big Laugh at No. 17 Saturday at The Players

Steve DiMeglio, author for Golfweek

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – This time around, Tiger Woods was laughing after his trip to the island green at TPC Sawgrass.

A day after he was seething on the par-3 17th after making a quadruple-bogey 7 by dunking two balls into the water surrounding the green, Woods was giggling on the short but frightening hole in Saturday’s third round of The Players Championship.

Making a deuce from inside 3 feet improves the mood in a hurry, as Woods used a wedge to set up his kick-in birdie. And it helps to have a funny sidekick on hand, and Kevin Na filled that role to a tee.

Wood and Na weren’t exactly Martin and Lewis, or Abbott and Costello, but they made the thousands of onlookers and even themselves bust a gut with their little routine. Na was the instigator, as he faced a putt for birdie inside 5 feet. Before the ball got to the hole, Na had already taken a big step forward and was moving to pick it up. The ball barely hit the bottom of the cup before Na’s fingers snatched it out.

Woods busted out laughing. Moments later, he did the same thing.

“He almost picked the ball out of the hole before it even got there,” Woods said. “And I had pretty much a kick-in, so I tried to emulate him as best I possibly could, meanwhile still trying to make the putt. I thought I’ll have a little fun with it, but I had to make sure I hit it on line first and then I did whatever I did.”

The comical exchange was the highlight of a round full of struggles for Woods, who posted an even-par 72 and never made a charge at the leaders. When he signed his scorecard, Woods stood nine shots out of the lead…

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