By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.
— Just so you know, Charley Hoffman hit the shot he wanted at
the par-3 17th. Twice. He just couldn't plan for the wind. "I
can't,'' he said, "control the wind. I can only control my golf
swing.'' Luckily, both got in sync on his third attempt -- this one
from the drop zone -- and he walked away with a quadruple-bogey 7.
Conversely, the hole knocked him out of contention at THE PLAYERS.
Hoffman was 10-under for the tournament and closing the gap on
David Toms when he stepped to the 17th tee. He was 6-under when he
walked off the green, having teed it up twice from the regular tee
and once from the drop zone. "I hit it right where I was aiming,''
he said. "The next thing I know, the wind came up and . . . I
felt pretty good about the swing so I hit it from there again.''
Aggressive? You bet. "I get it on there and hit it to 6 feet for
birdie, then I go to 10 and hit 2-iron, 7-iron for another birdie,
post 12-under and you never know what happens,'' he said. Nice
scenario... if it had worked out. Instead, he managed to get it on
the fringe, then clean up with a 14-inch putt for his 7. He closed
the day with a par for a 71 and a 6-under-par 282 and dropped about
two dozen places. "I know that cost me a lot of money, but I can
sleep tonight knowing I went out down swinging,'' Hoffman said. "I
wouldn't have been able to sleep if I had just hit it out there to
the left of the pin and played safe.'' His assessment of the hole?
"It's a great hole,'' he said.