PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The low point of Tiger Woods' opening round in the Players Championship was actually quite high.
More precisely, it was a drive on the seventh hole that popped straight up in the air and carried a whopping 190 yards. It was then that Woods looked like he was ready to revert to the uneven form that had defined his play the previous week. But it may have been the the moment Woods steadied himself.
On the ensuing hole, he sent a low-lying stinger into the green on the long par-3 eighth and managed to two-putt for par, then crushed a driver and a 5-wood into the green on the par-5 ninth en route to his first birdie of the tournament. Another two-putt birdie would follow at the par-5 11th, putting Woods at two-under par.
Even when he missed the fairway left on the par-4 12th and had to chop out of the weeds, Woods was able to save par when he hacked his second shot to short of the green, then got up and down.
*-- Sam Weinman *