Woods nearly missed his opportunity to make a charge.
As his 36-hole score bounced around on both sides of the cut line late Friday afternoon, long after Woods left the premises in a tinted courtesy vehicle, whatever pre-Masters momentum he accrued at the other three PGA Tour stops in Florida seemed like a distant memory.
The latest episode was Thursday, when Spieth started off on a wild ride in the easiest scoring conditions.
"I got to shoot something in the probably mid-60s both days to get myself up there to have a chance or something", Woods said.
"I didn't quite swing it right today, and I didn't quite have the shape, ball flight", said Woods, who made two birdies and a bogey.
The picture-perfect ball striking continued during the opening holes of the back-nine, as Woods hit a soaring 3-iron that set up an eagle attempt on the par-5 11.
Despite a round that briefly threatened the course record, Woods won't win his third Players title this week after digging an insurmountable hole with pedestrian scores over his first two rounds.
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In the afternoon, the featured groups include the trio of Bubba Watson (68), Dustin Johnson (66) and Brooks Koepka (70), who will go off the first tee at 1:30 p.m.
"Well I won't be by end of the day, but it's nice to kind of somewhat be up there", Woods said. When the first round sees scores go low, typically, the PGA Tour will instruct the grounds crew to make the greens firmer for the second round.
There's no formula or checklist for cobbling together a victory, even when you have 79 to your credit. However, based on the location of the Friday pins, Tiger Woods said he thinks someone could go low again. Of the top 50 ranked players in the world, only Paul Casey (12) is not in the field this week.
Woods ended his day tied for eighth, seven shots behind leader Webb Simpson but just two shots out of second place. "I don't think any lead is safe".
"At Augusta, I can feel like I really didn't play that great and I'm somewhere near the leaderboard", Spieth said. "I've broken 60 a couple of times so I'm thinking about it a little bit".
Weeks, maybe months from now Woods will likely play his way into contention with a trophy on the line. He was still seven back of Simpson even after posting the 65. "With these greens as soft as they are, I didn't take advantage of the opportunities I had today to really shoot a good number".