Tiger Woods lights up The Players Championship with 7-under 65 on Day 3

Jack Baer
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/pga/players/147/" data-ylk="slk:Tiger Woods">Tiger Woods</a> had one of his best rounds in years Saturday at The Players Championship. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods had one of his best rounds in years Saturday at The Players Championship. (Getty Images)

On Saturday at TPC Sawgrass, fans saw a version of Tiger Woods rarely seen since the old days. Specifically, the legend posted the best Players Championship round of his career on Saturday and looked unstoppable in the early holes.

Tiger Woods’ stellar Saturday at The Players Championship

Woods posted a 7-under 65 to move up 60 places on the leaderboard by the time his round ended, with many of the highlights coming early, including six birdies on the front nine. He eventually cooled off with a 1-under back nine, but it was enough to move him from a tie for 68th place when the day began to nearly within striking distance of the leader.

It took a bit of good fortune for Woods to even make the cut at The Players Championship, as that required a break when Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, two of the top golfers in the world, both bogeyed the 18th hole on Day 2. Those miscues moved the cut line to 1-under, allowing Woods, Spieth and Thomas to all enter Day 3.

Tiger Woods scoring a 65 would have been fun to watch live on TV

Saturday at The Players Championship must have been very fun to watch for Tiger fans. Tiger Woods playing really well is fun! However, there was likely a large portion of fans who were unable to watch their favorite golfer post his best round in years, even though Woods playing well has been a ratings bonanza for golf tournaments.

While NBC televises the last two rounds of The Players Championship, that broadcast only went from 2 to 7 p.m. ET. Since Woods was back in 68th place when the round began, he was in one of the first groups on the course and that meant television-only viewers had to make do with highlights. Woods’ group was at least followed on an online live stream on PGA Tour Live and Facebook, but that’s not an option for every golf fan.

Tiger Woods has been playing some great golf, at least on weekends

Tiger still doesn’t have a win in this PGA Tour season, but we have definitely seen flashes of the man who dominated golf a decade ago. Hopes were raised after he tied for second at the Valspar Championship and further bolstered with a top-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitiational.

But there’s something funny to the numbers Woods has been posting. He has been fairly mortal on the weekdays of pretty much every tournament he’s played, but when the weekend rolls around, something has clicked. In the first two rounds of eight official events Woods has played this season, he’s posted a combined score of 3 over par.

On the last two days? 23-under through Saturday, a full 26 strokes better than the opening rounds. The killer instinct might be returning.

Who else stood out early in Day 3 of The Players Championship?

The other star of the day at Sawgrass was Spieth, who posted a 7-under 65, a career-best at The Players Championship, to make a surge up the leaderboard just like Woods. Spieth was also paired with Justin Thomas, who posted a solid 4-under 68 after barely making the cut. The highlight of Spieth’s day might have been a near hole-in-one on the 17th hole.

“I felt free today,” Spieth said on the PGA Tour Live stream. “With JT, it was like let’s feed off each other and see how low it can go. … Saturday morning, it’s not a whole lot of stress.”

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