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The beauty of Tiger Woods’ game has never been the monster drives, the ability to read greens or even his knack for playing through distractions.
It’s that when he’s at his best, even Woods’ mistakes turn into memorable moments.
Look no further than Sunday’s final round at Quicken Loans National, where Tiger’s approach on the Par-5 second hole came up short and landed in some wildly tall grass. This is a spot where you begin to lower expectations and just hope to avoid a bogey.
Instead, Tiger went right for the pin and set himself for an easy birdie.
Does this mean Tiger has a chance to win this tournament?
Absolutely. Through four holes on Sunday, Woods (-8) is tied for 10th place and just five strokes back of co-leaders Abraham Ancer and Francesco Molinari (-13).
It would be his first PGA Tour victory since the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational, and would be a huge step towards reclaiming his title as the world’s best golfer. That being said, it’s a very long road back to status. A few good rounds this year have left golf fans more encouraged than they’re used to this decade, but that still isn’t saying much.
A moral victory could be just as important. Finishing in the top ten or higher while leaving the course healthy would mean as much for Woods’ game as a trophy at this point. Seeing him make shots like he did on the second hole on Sunday is more of a reminder of what Woods has always been capable of rather than his game getting better.
What’s next on Tiger’s schedule?
Woods has already committed to playing in the British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him go quiet until the tournament begins on July 19. That will be a real test for Woods after a disastrous showing at the U.S. Open where he missed the cut — though a host of other top golfers did as well.
Tiger has three British Open titles to his name but hasn’t won since 2006. It’ll be the first time The Open returns to Carnoustie since Padraig Harrington won the tournament in 2007. Woods finished that tied for 12th place at -2 that year. Over four days he never shot lower than 69.
Any momentum he can bring to Scotland after this weekend will surely be welcomed.
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