That might have salvaged something from the day. Share your thoughts on social media channels. Both players shared par on holes 16 and 17, so Padraig's lead was maintained going down the last.
Fowler missed an 18-foot birdie try, Woods missed his 8-footer for par and the moment was gone by the time the group began the lengthy walk across property, past the clubhouse toward the first tee to underwhelming fanfare.
But he needed a strong recovery to hit bogey on the 18th and save his first round from being over par.
Johnson notched six birdies at TPC Sawgrass to join fellow American Webb Simpson and Swede Alex Noren as clubhouse leaders on six-under-par 66. The pace was so hot that the three big attractions never got a chance to concentrate on each other.
"I should be hitting them inside flag length, and I didn't do that today".
Woods acknowledged the course setup had plenty of accessible pins for scoring, but one of the all-time best in that category didn't have the game to pull it off even when he was in favorable position. We had to be aggressive.
The 47-year-old took golf's conservative style style to a different degree with a long-sleeve collared workplace shirt at Sawgrass, and his struggling 79 was sympomatic of a wider malaise among the many much-hyped marquee teams at Sawgrass. He ended up making par each time. The fans' fervor fell off, too.
"That's golf, unfortunately", Woods said. "Right now, he's just trying to get back into any winner's circle". "I have my own business I need to take care of", Woods said.
Mickelson, the 2007 Players champion, rubbished the idea a weird, long sleeve button up which resembled a business shirt had any affect on his play.
"I don't care what people are talking about", he said.
"Once he fixes a couple things, I think he's still not real happy with the way he's putting from what he tells me". True, the Rory McIlroy-Justin Thomas-Jordan Spieth all-star grouping also had a bad day, going 1 under, 1 over and 3 over, respectively. A good drive in the middle of 14 fairway presented an opportunity to get two in a row, but he flew the green from 106 yards.
"I actually really like it", he said.
Mickelson said Woods' performances in the early 2000s - he won four straight majors from 2000-2001, including the US Open by a record 15 strokes - was the "benchmark" and the "greatest" golf ever played.