Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Tiger Woods finishes just behind victor Paul Casey at Valspar Championship

Paul Casey kisses the champion's trophy after winning the Valspar Championship golf tournament Sunday Paul Casey outduels Tiger Woods to capture Valspar Championship Mike Carlson Associated Press
Betsy Taylor | 12 March, 2018, 09:25

Sharma and Wallace shared the lead after the third round.

Tiger Woods started fast on Sunday with a birdie at the 1st hole.

Corey Conners, who led the tournament for the first three days, shot 6-over 77 and finished 3 under.

Justin Rose, among six players who had a share of the lead at some point in the final round, had back-to-back bogeys on the back nine and never atoned for his mistakes. It was the closest Woods has come to winning in almost five years and finished in a tie for second after a closing 70.

Conners, 26, made out only marginally better than Snedeker.

"The one thing you can't do", Woods said with visible regret, "is leave it short".

That left Casey the victor, finally. As you can imagine, the ratings are getting a bump from Tiger-mania returning to the PGA Tour.

Woods looks over a putt on the 18th hole at the Valspar Championship that would have forced a playoff against Casey had it fallen. He three-putted for bogey and a 68.

The 40-year-old has 17 victories on the European Tour, the most recent coming at the KLM Open in September of 2014.


I wanted to play one last time before he moved on and unfortunately I just couldn't play. This time, Woods was in it until the end despite a sub-par ball-striking round.

"I loved his putt on 17", Casey said. Maybe it was as simple as he was just too good, too dominant.

"I felt very comfortable out there today though I didn't feel that sharp with my iron game and I had to play very conservatively into the greens as I wasn't as sharp as I was yesterday", he said. "It was one of those days I kept getting a half-club".

The putt put Woods right on Paul Casey's heels entering the final hole, with the possibility of a playoff if Woods could make another clutch birdie to finish out his round. "I thought it was just teed up beautifully for him".

"[Tiger] made it look easy for such a long time, and it's not", Casey told Steve Sands of NBC. It's so loud and overpowering, a true mob just trying to get close to Woods for the same reasons all people want to be close to anyone who makes them feel good or experience something that makes them feel like they matter. I hit some good shots. Both McDowell and Lowry - as well as Woods - head on to this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. When I get out on to the course it isn't the same.

"I'm seeing the normal Tiger, the Tiger I've known for 24 years", Ernie Els said Sunday.

Next weekend's field includes Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, Hideki Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy, Rose and Bubba Watson, so there will be lots of competition for Woods. That he's back on the course and playing well is shocking.

"Awful", Casey said when asked about the time spent watching Woods, Reed and the rest. And, unlike most sports where fans are drowned out by one another and it's all white noise, Woods plays in a quiet sport such as golf where he can hear fans calling out his name and making personal comments.

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