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Woods made a quadruple-bogey seven at the 17th hole, lobbing two balls into the water on the famed par-three. It went through the rough, across a wood beam and plunked into the water. After another drop, Woods fifth shot landed on the green and stopped about 20 feet shy of the cup, and he two putted from there for a four-over 7. Each time, Woods found the water surrounding the designer Pete Dye's iconic hole one time.

"I felt like I rolled it today", Woods said.

"I was determined to get it all back and get it back to five (under); I thought that would have been a hell of a fight", he said.

Woods rebounded with two birdies on the front side, leading to a 1-under 71 and leaving him at 3-under 141 for the tournament. Simply getting to the weekend is sometimes all it takes.

Tiger Woods believes he is on track to bid for a 15th major title at the Masters, despite withdrawing from the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a neck strain.

"Get after it. Attack". "At this tournament, anything can happen". And then I finished the 10th, and the 13th was the next hole and I had to climb a ladder to get to there.

Woods began the second round five shots off the lead but had moved ominously up the leaderboard with birdies on the 12th, 13th and 16th, having started from the 10th tee.

As for his health, Woods does not consider that a major concern. He was in the top 10 in strokes gained off-the-tee as of Friday afternoon and the putting looks better than it has in three prior starts, perhaps due in part to pre-tourney work with coach Matt Killen.

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"It is not painful now", said Woods, who will play Thursday's opening round with defending champion Webb Simpson and Masters victor Patrick Reed. That might make a course that has given up some low rounds play a little bit tougher, something that Woods feels would play into his hands.

Par is never a bad score - just ask Woods - on the 17th, and it contributed to his bogey-free round.

And he is correct that mistakes have been few and far between elsewhere. This time, he hit another wedge too flat and too hot.

A day after he scratched out a 2-under par 70, Woods arrived at the 17th hole 3-under par on his round and 5-under overall - two shots behind the leaders. Woods wouldn't confirm as much ahead of Friday's 5 p.m. deadline to commit, but it's gotta be hard to publicly decline knowing how much his presence past year meant to the fine folks in Tampa Bay. But that is what makes TPC Sawgrass, and the Players Championship, so exciting-disaster lurks around every corner. Everything's kind of based upon that.

What went poorly: This is one interesting case for stats not telling the entire story.

Woods chose not to push it last week by skipping Bay Hill, where he has won eight times. Woods will likely be playing hurt for the rest of his career, but it doesn't look like he's playing injured.

He recovered on No. 17 with a par on No. 18.

"Yeah, he's ready to go", LaCava said.


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