PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods made a clutch closing birdie on No. 9 on Friday to shoot a one-under 71 and guarantee he'll stick around for the weekend at TPC Sawgrass. But it wouldn't have come down to that if he had converted a similar-length putt two holes before.
Woods missed the green left with his approach on No. 7 and his ball hung up in the rough above a bunker. That left him with an extremely awkward third shot with the ball well below his feet. Here's how he handled it:
The highlight doesn't show the ensuing miss, but it doesn't make the flop shot any less impressive. And it's the latest sign that Woods' short-game woes are a thing of the past. Here's how he described the shot:
"It was on the downslope. It was sitting nasty, and either I pitch out sideways and give myself a 40, 50-footer, or I try and play it, you know, at the hole. If I make a mistake, make a mistake short, just flub it in the bunker, and then I still had the entire green to pitch up and make my bogey and get up and down. So I took the chance and I made sure, as I said, I entered the ground a little bit earlier to make sure I fatted it. If I missed it, it was going to be short."
So to sum up, Tiger has gone from chunking chips/pitches unintentionally to being able to chunk them on purpose in order to hit great shots. Impressive.
Woods thinks the key to being a factor on the weekend, however, will be sharper iron play.
"I'm just not stuffing them in there," Woods said. "I'm hitting them 15 feet when they should be under 10. I need to do a better job of that, getting the ball close, because these greens are slow right now and you can capitalize on the speed of the greens. You can be really aggressive with the putts."