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Tiger’s return, Fowler flirts with 59, and more from the Hero World Challenge

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He came, he saw, he purred, he roared. The 41-year-old Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf to much fanfare in the Bahamas. He justified and sated, thrilled and fulfilled. Oh, and 17 other fellows showed up to compete in the Hero World Challenge. It all added up an excellent, last week of top-shelf competition for 2017. Before this year gives way to 2018, let’s have a look at some of the week’s high points.

Tiger Totals

Round One: 5 birdies and 2 bogeys
Round Two: 1 eagle, 4 birdies and 2 bogeys
Round Three: 2 birdies and 5 bogeys
Round Four: 1 eagle, 6 birdies, 2 bogeys and 1 double

For any fan of golf, these numbers are uplifting. El tigre averaged 4.5 birds and 0.5 eagles per round. With more tournament reps, those numbers can only go up, and the bogeys (2.5 per round) can drop as he gets re-acclimated to competition. For those who point to his weak finish on Sunday, remember that the guy knows a thing or two about closing a tournament.

Dick Fowler, PI, caught up to that 28 he’d been chasing

Don’t remember those Farmer’s Insurance commercials starring Rickie Fowler? Search ’em and laugh out loud. Oh, Fowler shot 28 on Sunday’s outward half, with birdies on every hole but No. 8. So much for Charley Hoffman’s healthy third-round lead. Everyone wants to lead and no one wants to lead. We’ve waited years for Fowler to dominate in the way that we think he can. The front nine called to say, help.

A week of revelations from Tiger

One of the perquisites of a newish Tiger, one who is grateful for much of life, is an expanded openness about the travails of the past year. On Tuesday, Tiger discussed the pain from a back that was worse than he imagined, and the impact on his life that it had. The toll included very little sleep, constant pain, and weakness from foot to lower back. On Thursday, after his opening 69, the 14-time major champion discussed the impact of adrenaline on his game, and the difference between the holes he played at home and the ones he played at Albany. The most refreshing comments came after his Saturday 75, when he discussed the minor mistakes that led to bogeys, and what he missed most about tournament golf: the fight.

Oh, and Rickie Fowler did win!

Almost lost amid the Tiger tracks was the performance that Rickie Fowler offered on Day 4. Following a pattern of 2017 champions who rode on, smoking-hot round to victory, Fowler saved his best for last. Eleven birdies and 0 bogeys led to 61 and an 18-under total. Fowler actually had a chance to shoot 59 by holing his second at the last, and despite taking dead aim at the flagstick, he pushed it a bit, and went on to make a tidy par. His tournament total was Fowler’s career low in competition, and sent him into the off-season in the best of possible moods. Third-round leader Charley Hoffman matched birdies and bogeys on the front nine, then made 9 straight pars on the inward side to finish second alone at 14-under. Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Race To Dubai champion, and Jordan Spieth tied for the third spot at 12-under.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Tom54

    Dec 4, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I think most golf fans are anxious to see how Tiger does to see if he can play a normal schedule again, but can someone please tell The programming directors that we do not need to make every telecast about Tiger. There are many players that shots were not shown this past weekend. Ricky Fowler is extremely popular and Friday or Saturday I recall very few of his shots. It was non-stop Tiger until his round was finished. Then after his hi light reel and his interview was over then it was time to show the leaders. Please, if Tiger is in the hunt he deserves the coverage but let’s not forget there are tons of pros who rate the tv time as well. The game will always be bigger than any one player.

    • T0MD1KH@RRy

      Dec 5, 2017 at 12:15 am

      You must have been watching a different program because I saw plenty of other golfers on the telecast. Even so, why wouldn’t there be more focus on Tiger at Tiger’s tournament, during Tiger’s first competitive round in nearly a year, and during which he displayed signs of greatness that only give way to hope that he’s not yet done playing (or winning)? Tiger is the needle, you hear it from the broadcast booth, you hear it from the players, and it’s proven by the ratings and number of spectators at events in which he plays. I agree the game is bigger than any one player, but we aren’t talking about the game of golf as a whole. We’re talking about the PGA Tour, advertiser dollars, and ticket sales. If Tiger played an exhibition round in which he was the only player on the course, he’d still pack them in better than a handful of regular tour stops and garner more viewers on TV as well.

    • Thomas A

      Dec 5, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Tiger’s first tournament at Tiger’s tournament and one that doesn’t count for anything. Yeah, it’s gonna be Tiger’s show no matter what.

    • nyguy

      Dec 6, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      I agree. Love Tiger, think he’s great for golf, and awesome to watch, but he’s not the only one out there. I’m surprised we didn’t know when he went to the bathroom on the course…. It’s a little over the top, although I think that with most mainstream broadcasts

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