For the first time in over four years, Tiger Woods was relevant on a Sunday.
Highly criticized for teeing up with Trump last fall, this may leave a sour taste with many who don’t want Woods to succeed. But purely based on his significance within the sport, the game is a lot more compelling when he’s in contention.
After his 45 foot fist pumping birdie putt on 17 left him one stroke shy of Englishman Paul Casey, there was a glimmer of hope that golf’s GOAT might pull off one of the most validating victories of his controversial career.
“I was close,” Woods said after a final-round 70 left him in a tie for second, his best finish since he tied for 10th at the 2015 Wyndham Championship. “I had a chance today. Unfortunately I just didn’t quite feel as sharp as I needed to with my irons, played a little conservative because of it.”
Well, if this was Woods on an off day, every PGA club carrying member better beware, because he and his surgically repaired back are back – this being only his fourth official tournament since undergoing a spinal fusion 11 months ago.
And for all of you skeptics who think his close second place finish was a fluke, I don’t know exactly when, but you’ll be eating crow sometime in the foreseeable future. Maybe as soon as next week when he tees it up in Orlando at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a course that has been kind, awarding him eight victories, the last in 2013. Or when he flies to Augusta in early April, vying for his fifth green jacket.
So, no matter how you personally feel about the guy, he’s here, he’s hitting them square -get used to it.