PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 10: Tiger Woods of the United States hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2012 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods has struggled of late at TPC Sawgrass and he gets off to a sluggish start at The Players Championship.
It didn’t take long for Tiger Woods to remember that he hasn’t exactly played his best golf at TPC Sawgrass. In addition to back-to-back injury withdrawals from the 2010 and 2011 Players Championship, the former No. 1 has finished in the top 10 only once since his 2001 victory.
His 2012 campaign has not started with a bang, either, as he bogeyed No. 10, his first hole of Thursday’s opening round. PGATour.com reported that Woods missed the green right with his approach shot to the par-4 and failed to make par from a green-side bunker.
Woods’ struggles with par-5s -- he managed only two birdies on the par-5s in four rounds at The Masters -- continued, as he made only a par on the 11th hole, but he was back to even-par after a birdie on the par-3 13th.
Meanwhile, Woods’ popular playing partner Rickie Fowler, fresh off his first PGA Tour win last week at Quail Hollow, shot out of the gates with a birdie at No. 10, dropped a stroke with a bogey on 12, but birdied the 14th to get to 1-under through five holes. Hunter Mahan, also a member of the marquee threesome, rinsed his approach shot to No. 11 and was at 1-over early in the first round.
Woods will shortly play the most famous -- or infamous, depending on your perspective -- par-3 on tour. Tiger’s a fan of the island green that makes for great TV viewing -- just not as a finishing hole.
“I have always said this: I think 17 is a great hole,” Woods told reporters Tuesday. “It's dramatic. But I just think that as a par‑3, I just don't think it should be that, as the 17th.
“Great eighth hole or maybe something early in the back nine,” Woods opined.
Ask and ye shall receive, apparently, since Woods will play the 17th as his No. 8 today.
Lots of golf left to play, sports fans, so stay tuned.