Tiger nearly ends drought

Print Article

Associated Press Tiger Woods plays his shot from the second tee during the final round of the Valspar Championship Sunday.

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) - The red shirt didn't have a collar. His head doesn't have quite as much hair. His lower spine has been fused.

Everything else about Tiger Woods is starting to look familiar.

For the first time since the late summer of 2013, Woods worked the fans into a frenzy on the weekend and keep them on their toes right to the very end. He wound up one shot - one putt - short to Paul Casey in the Valspar Championship. He broke par all four rounds and tied for second, the first time he had done either of those since the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs in August 2013.

All that did was turn attention to this week at Bay Hill, where Woods has won eight times and twice ended long victory droughts.

He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2009 for his first victory after reconstructive knee surgery. He won there again in 2012 for his first victory since the scandal in his personal life, followed by various leg injuries.

"It's going to be good for me to get back," Woods said. "I've had some great memories there."

Casey ended a nine-year drought on the PGA Tour when he took the lead with three straight birdies on the back nine at Innisbrook, saved par over the last four holes for a 6-under 65 and then settled into a leather sofa in the locker room to see if anyone could catch him.

A playoff looked imminent when Patrick Reed tied for the lead with a birdie on the 14th hole and was in the middle of the 18th fairway, 133 yards away, for a chance at birdie for the win or a par to force a playoff.

And then someone else entered the picture.

Woods, who opened with a two-putt birdie to briefly share the lead, had gone 15 consecutive holes without a birdie and needed to finish birdie-birdie to catch Casey. His tee shot on the par-3 17th was long, rolling out some 45 feet away.

From the time the ball left his club, there was something inevitable about the putt . Woods posed, waiting for the grain in the green to take over, and it did at just the right time. The ball moved left and dropped into the cup, setting off more pandemonium.

Brandt Snedeker, playing with Woods, just smiled. Casey even got caught up in the emotion that swept over Innisbrook for four days.

"I loved his putt on 17. That was amazing," Casey said. "I thought he was going to hole the one on 18."

Maybe next time.

But after a week like this, next time doesn't seem all that far away - not with Bay Hill four days away, and the Masters a few weeks behind it.

Casey won on the PGA Tour for the first time since the Houston Open in 2009, a span of 132 starts, though he had won five around the world since. It was the second time he won a tournament with Woods in the field. The other occasion was in 2006 at the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth, when Casey wore a red shirt Sunday. Woods had been eliminated at the start of the week.

Woods signed for his 70 and worked his way through the crowd of camera crews and officials to seek out Casey.

"It's the only time he's congratulated me immediately after a victory," Casey said. "Normally, it's the other way around. That's something special. Just really cool. I'm sure he was disappointed he didn't get the victory. I actually thought he was going to win today before the round started. I thought it was just teed up beautifully for him. I said a couple times, 'If I don't win this thing, I actually want Tiger to win it.'

"I'm glad it's this way."

Casey, a 40-year-old from England, is among the players from the previous generation who want to see Woods at his best again. Interest spikes, as record crowds and a big boost in TV ratings indicated. The energy makes a sleepy tournament feel just short of a major.

They remember the dominance. The young kids don't.

Print Article

Read More Sports News

Lindor, Ramirez belt homers, lead Indians over White Sox, 5-2

June 15, 2018 at 9:16 am | CHICAGO (AP) - Francisco Lindor sensed the Cleveland Indians needed a lift coming off back-to-back losses. Nothing like a leadoff homer or a late tiebreaking drive to get the job done. Lindor and J...

Comments

Read More

Twins lose 3-1, demote Sano after game

AP

June 15, 2018 at 9:16 am | DETROIT (AP) - When Detroit outfielder JaCoby Jones came to the plate in the seventh inning of a tie game Thursday afternoon, he was well aware he was struggling at the plate after striking out in hi...

Comments

Read More

Ugly start for Tiger at Open

June 15, 2018 at 9:16 am | SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) - As Tiger Woods stood in the middle of the first fairway, the last thing on his mind was a 7. That number was the first thing on his scorecard Thursday in the U.S. Open. I...

Comments

Read More

Johnson shares lead after first round

AP

June 15, 2018 at 9:16 am | SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) - The U.S. Open lived up to its reputation in the return to Shinnecock Hills. So did Dustin Johnson. Fresh off a six-shot victory last week, Johnson managed all aspects of hi...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2018 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X