USA TODAY Sports – Larry Berger discusses what makes the 17th Island at TPC in Sawgrass a special hole.
USA TODAY Sport
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The quiet morning that greeted the third round of the Players Championship on Saturday had no chance.
Tiger Woods roared before noon.
With his best score in 66 rounds at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, Woods awakened the masses and injected some juice into the flagship of the PGA Tour and into Woods himself, who eventually put the pieces of his game together.
With birdies on eight of the first 12 holes, the former World No. 1 and winner of this event in 2001 and 2013 finally signed for a 7-under-par 65, a shot better than his previous best score on Pete Dye problematic jewel.  With control of the ball with each cl ub in his pocket and shapes during the round, Woods beat 11 out of 14 fairways in regulation, 15 out of 18 greens and had 27 putts. When he left the scoring tent, he was tied for eighth place, but still stood seven shots behind the leader Webb Simpson. But after starting the day for 68 and 14 shots behind Simpson and starting the tournament with such rounds of 72 and 71, Woods beamed.
"I finally wanted to put all the pieces together and today I've done the most," Woods said. "I finally got off to a good start, I fucked the first few holes and I kept rolling it from there on, I took a lot of good shots today, it was nice to see some putts, the 65 was probably so high However, the 65s was his best result in terms of par since 2013, when he won five of his 79 PGA Tour titles , But his last six holes left a hint of sour in his mouth as he did not birdie and made his lonely bogey on the 14th when his drive ended in thick rough.
"To be realistic under 8 to under 12" I could have probably gotten a few more and would be under 10 for the day, "said Woods, the birdie-putts from 15, 2, 10, 16, 10 and made 8 feet and two two-putt had birdies of 40 feet but missed 7 feet on the 16th hole. "That was not so bad when I shot a tea at 14 and I landed in one place I did not shoot much. I do not do birdie at 16.
"But I'll take it."
Perhaps the biggest fan of the people who followed Woods was on the ropes – his playing partner Mackenzie Hughes, the Woods for the first time a few minutes before they stepped down. Hughes has described himself well in spite of the butterflies in his stomach with a '68.
"It's 90 degrees, but I can assure you that sometimes I had goose bumps and chills when you hear a few roars and you realize," I play with Tiger Woods and he does what he does and I hang in there, "said Hughes." The amount of screaming, all the comments, I do not know how he does it every day. It almost makes me appreciate what he does more.
"It was funny because I asked him about him, but I know a lot about him because I'm a big fan, I tried to play it cool and not sound like a total jerk."  Woods said he will not be in the top 10 at the end of the day, that the course is mature, especially in calm conditions. He said he could be 10 to 12 shots behind the leader in the last round of Sunday. Nevertheless, he will jump much more in his step after his game in the third round.
"As I said to you this week, I felt my game back and it's just a matter of playing and performing and putting together the shots," Woods said. "It was nice outside today, I made putts today, that was basically the difference."
A big difference – and a lot of difference.
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