While Simpson may have a firm hold on the lead, anything can happen at TPC Sawgrass, and a number of players are lurking should he falter.
Lee hit nine pars on the front, showing his consistency, and had his first birdie of the day on the par-five 11th when he escaped a green side bunker before tapping in for four. All he had to do was navigate the shortest and scariest hole Friday afternoon on the Stadium Course. "He was five feet from me and I had no valid excuse to say, 'Hey, I'm Mackenzie Hughes.' I just sat there quietly and listened in and was a fly on the wall".
The consolation was enormous.
But Woods even threatened to beat the course record of 63 at one stage of his round.
"Everything is going in", he said. He striped a driver off the first tee then stuck a sand wedge to 15 feet below the hole, and hit a lovely right-to-left putt that fell right into the center of the hole.
At that point, all he could was laugh. Woods didn't disappoint him. "He's got control, the shape, hit some nice little cuts, a couple nice little draws". I think that some of the guys will probably shoot better scores than I did out there today. As of post time, Simpson retained the lead, chased by Ian Poulter, Danny Lee, Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner. Still, Woods has at least given himself a chance to get going into Round 4. He saw that Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth each made a big charge before he teed off Saturday, and it didn't rattle him at all. It's also his best round this year by three strokes. Rory McIlroy wasn't so fortunate. Sergio Garcia, who was two over through 12, slipped down the leaderboard after making double-bogey at the seventh. He and Spieth are 11 shots back of Webb Simpson (-19), who has been absolutely terrific for the first three rounds. He birdied nine holes - including six on the back and his final three in a row.
As far as Spieth is concerned, improvement with putter in hand will trigger the kind of spectacular run he is capable of. "I birdied the first couple of holes, and I just kept it rolling from there".
The real challenge will be catching Simpson.
But the two biggest names still in the field are a shot back at 8-under par and set for a high-profile Sunday pairing. All of them went on to win. "He was five feet from me", Hughes said. "I don't think any lead is safe".
He just hasn't shown any signs of cracking.
He said the hole locations were tough, with most meaning the golfers faced hard slopes. "It's a miracle round".
"When I was chasing Henrik [Stenson, 2009] down, Henrik played incredible golf in tough conditions". He pitched it to within 23 feet of the hole, but was unable to make the par putt and carded his lone bogey through 14 holes. But on Saturday, all the pieces fell in place from the opening hole for the 42-year-old. After making the cut with nothing to spare on Friday, Woods teed off trailing halfway leader Webb Simpson by 14 strokes on another ideal morning.
His partners for the day, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, both missed the cut. He shot 71 and missed by two shots.