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After 16 years, Na finally plays with Tiger ... and shoots 78

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Kevin Na has been on the PGA Tour for 16 years, and Saturday’s third round at The Players was the first time that he’d been paired with Tiger Woods in competition.

“I’ve missed him left and right,” said Na, who has combined with Woods to play 2,512 rounds on Tour. “I’ve always joked about it to him: How in the world does that happen? Sixteen years. It’s not like I’ve played poorly, too. If I played poorly for 16 years, you can’t get paired with him. But I’ve played pretty darn good golf for 16 years.”

Unfortunately for Na, he didn’t play darn good golf on Saturday; his 6-over 78 was his worst round of the season. Woods didn’t have his best stuff, either, and at one point in the round the group was a combined 10 over par.

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“On one hole, I hit it on the green and he said, ‘Welcome back to the golf course,’” Na said. “It was pretty ugly ... but it was fun. I think the last six holes I noticed that I was playing with him.”

Na broke his finger late last year and is making only his fifth start of the calendar year. He has yet to record a top-30 finish, and after his 78 Saturday he missed the secondary cut.

“It’s gonna rain tomorrow,” Na said. “So you know what? I’m disappointed, but it’s not the worst thing in the world.”