Tiger Woods is just short of first win since 2013

Tiger Woods is just short of first win since 2013

The low rumble felt across the southeastern United States this weekend was the great, ancient machinery of the Tiger-Industrial Complex, which once propelled the entire sport forward until it was put in storage a few years ago, groaning back to life.

That's one way to look at it.

He closed with a 70 - the first time since The Barclays in 2013 that he posted all four rounds under par on the PGA Tour - and tied for second.

"It was a very good week", the 42-year-old said.

This was his fourth PGA Tour event since returning from his fourth back surgery. "I think it's exciting to have him back for the casual golf fan, but now the true Tiger fans get excited". One shot behind with one par-4 hole to play.

Now sitting atop the Valspar Championship leaderboard through three rounds is Canadian Corey Conners at -9. And you can be sure Sunday, with Woods in the hunt, did just as well as better.

Corey Conners heard the whole round and it made him smile. He hit a tree with his second shot on the first hole and bogeyed it, bogeyed No. 3 as well and ultimately finished with a 77, a tough but valuable learning experience.

'It was also going to be a very hard week, tough conditions on a tough course, but I thought I held up really well'.

Tiger Woods fails to make a lengthy birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Paul Casey. Unfortunately, it wasn't sufficient to earn him a spot in the upcoming WGC Dell Matchplay in two weeks time, with the cut-off point (the top 64 available off the world rankings) coming after the Valspar.

"It's the only time he's congratulated me immediately after a victory", quipped Casey, who won for just the second time in his career. Casey shot 65 with only 21 putts, and then had to wait for eight groups to finish before learning he was victorious. This particular streak belonged to Paul Casey, whose last PGA TOUR title came nearly nine years ago.

"I played with a heavy heart".

"Maybe that was the difference".

We asked fellow players and fans what the experience was like at Innisbrook, and there was just a few comments on the Twitterwebs, as well.

He saved par at the seventh with an 11-foot putt, but his five-foot par attempt at his final hole lipped out. There were too many missed opportunities.

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

"It feels good to be up here", Woods, who has not won since 2013, said.

"I keep getting just a little better and a little sharper".

A 44-foot putt on the 17th put Woods within one shot of clubhouse leader Casey and Patrick Reed. And then Woods missed again.

"He made it look easy for such a long time and it's not".

Woods might have had more people following him on the course than every other golfer in contention combined. "Little mistakes will get you over the course of a week and it got me in the end". While the eyes of everyone in the golf world (yours truly included) were glued onto Woods, it was Casey who came in ready to continue a trend that's been happening at Innisbrook for years. If he's going to win a tournament before The Masters next month, it stands to reason this is his best shot. When I get out on to the course it isn't the same.

Justin Rose had a disappointing day. He's now played four events in 2018, missing the cut once, and so far there's no sign of his chronic back issues flaring up.

Conners, the Canadian rookie in only his 17th start on the PGA Tour as a pro, saved par from the bunker on the par-3 17th and kept his cool when his ball moved slightly on the 18th green-no longer a penalty in those circumstances-before he tapped in for par.

It is just a different game, a different Tour, when Tiger plays well.