That's how close Tiger Woods' golf ball came to falling into the cup on the 18th green Sunday to force a playoff in The Barclays at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.
Woods, who battled through painful back spasms, birdied the par-4 16th and 17th holes to pull within one stroke of clubhouse leader Adam Scott. After a good drive at the par-4 18th, Tiger hit an 8-iron from 190 yards that carried farther than he expected and rolled over the back of the green.
Putting 27 feet from the hole and downhill through about nine feet of fringe, a valley and then up a slope, Woods read the double-breaking putt perfectly. But he came up three inches short of the cup, turning sideways in dismay.
"I hit a good putt," Woods said afterward. "I thought I made it."
Tiger closed with a 2-under-par 69 and finished in a four-way tie for second at 10-under 274, one stroke behind Scott. However, Woods remained the leader in the FedExCup points standings after the first of four Playoffs events.
Whether he will be healthy enough to play next week in the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., which starts Friday, remains to be seen.
"That's hypothetical,'' Woods said. "I'm not feeling my best right now."
Starting the final round four shots off the lead and paired with Kevin Chappell in the second-to-last twosome, Tiger forged into contention with front-nine birdies at the par-4 fifth, par-5 sixth and par-5 eighth holes. Woods made the turn in 3-under 33.
Tiger bogeyed the 496-yard, par-4 10th, where he drove into the left fairway bunker, came up short-left of the green, flopped his third shot 35 feet past the hole then two-putted. The bogey was his first in 20 holes. Tiger followed with a two-putt par from 32 feet at the 233-yard, par-3 11th.
Woods felt fine until hitting his tee shot at the par-4 12th. After a good drive at the par-5 13th, Woods hooked his 3-wood second shot 50 yards left into the water hazard and dropped to his knees in pain.
"The tee shot there [at No. 12] started it," Tiger said. "Thirteen just accentuated it. I felt great until the tee shot at 12. I was perfectly fine."
Asked if he was experiencing back spasms, Tiger replied, "Oh yeah. Big time."
Woods wound up bogeying the hole, then made another bogey at the par-4 15th, where he pulled his drive way left into the fescue grass, slashed his second shot in the front-left bunker and failed to get up-and-down.
At that point, Tiger's chances of winning for the sixth time this year on the PGA TOUR looked slim, but he dug deep. Woods nearly drove the green with a 3-wood at the 299-yard, par-4 16th, then two-putted for a birdie from off the green.
Somehow, Tiger found the fairway off the tee at the 445-yard, par-4 17th and knocked his approach shot from 144 yards to six feet below the pin and made the putt.
Tiger still isn't sure how his second shot at 18 wound up over the green.
"I don't know how I hit it that far," Woods said. "It must have gone 190 yards."
While some may have written Tiger off after the bogey at No. 15, he continued to grind and never lost hope.
"I had a chance," Woods said. "Unfortunately, I couldn't finish off the day."