Did Tiger Woods’ drop at No. 17 cost him three shots?

March 16, 2019

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – On Friday, Tiger Woods hit his tee shot at No. 17 into the water long and left of the green. He headed to the drop zone, where he again hit his ball long, left and into the water. His next shot found the center of the putting surface and he two-putted for a quadruple-bogey 7. But what if Woods took the wrong drop altogether?

The keys to Woods’s alternative drop option? The back left pin position and the point where Woods crossed the hazard. Golf Channel’s Live From the Players broke down Woods’s options in a late-night segment from the 17th green.

Woods was entitled to keep his point of entry into the yellow-staked hazard between him and the hole, and then drop anywhere on that line. Because of where his ball crossed on the walkway connected to the island green, and because the pin was in the back portion of the green, there was a direct line that would have allowed Woods to drop on the walkway.

Tiger Woods's round stalled out with a quadruple-bogey at No. 17.
Getty Images

In the Golf Channel segment, Brandel Chamblee demonstrated just how Woods could have gone through the process and how he could have ended up with a straightforward chip or even a putt from the fringe. Woods’s attempt from the fringe would have been for par, leading to a likely up-and-down for bogey.

“Who knows? Maybe he makes it and saves himself four shots. At the very least, he cost himself three shots,” Chamblee said. “The brain-addling effects of this hole are legendary. Add one more to the legend.”

David Duval said he reached out to Woods in the afternoon, who said he was unaware of an alternate drop possibility on the walkway.

If it’s any consolation to Woods and caddie Joe LaCava, they weren’t the only ones to miss out on the opportunity: Haotong Li’s ball entered the hazard on a similar line later in the day, and he headed directly to the drop zone, too.