"I feel like I have my playing feels back".
Woods responded to Mickelson, declaring with a smile of his own, "I'm definitely not against that and we'll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable".
But he needed a strong recovery to hit bogey on the 18th and save his first round from being over par.
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.
Here at the Stadium Course, the issue has been a little of everything. It's a reminder to Woods and his supporters waiting on a surge just how hard this whole turning-back-the-clock thing is when it comes to golf. "It was playing a little bit on the softer side, and with this heat ... the ball's flying forever". Woods won seven of those events, Mickelson two, with Tiger holding a 69.66 to 69.88 scoring edge, as per Woods' official site.
The one time Woods did may have saved his round.
"I felt like today the way I was hitting the golf ball, especially toward the back nine, that I felt like I should have shot something in the 60s", said Woods, who salvaged the best score of the threesome thanks to an eagle on the par-5 ninth and birdies on 12 and 16.
"Boy, it was nice to turn the round completely around there", he said, before assessing the gallery.
The putt followed a four-hole stretch earlier featuring par misses from five and 10 feet and a birdie miss of 10 feet.
In-form Australian Jason Day fired a second-round 67 to vault up the leaderboard at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, while Tiger Woods sits right on the projected cut line after carding a 71. Maybe those were unfair expectations on our part, but Mickelson and Woods didn't exactly push them away.
The 2007 victor at TPC moved to even par following birdies on holes Nos.
Kuchar, who has won the Players one time in his career, had his career-best opening round at the Players Thursday.
After playing a majestic iron into the 1 green, Padraig then birdied the first playoff hole, while Sergio could only manage a bogey, giving the Irishman a two-shot lead with three holes to play.
"Those putts were going in, they were just laughing", Simpson said. "And I just kind of ran out at the end".
"I was looking forward to [playing with them] and definitely enjoy it. I just had a poor finish".
Dustin Johnson, his world number one ranking under siege, took advantage of flawless morning playing conditions to charge into a share of the first-round lead at the Players Championship on Thursday.
"He must have a meeting after this", one fan said at the famed 17th hole.