Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Tiger Woods 'excited' by chance of Valspar victory

Tiger Woods 'excited' by chance of Valspar victory

For months, every millennial with a PGA Tour card has pined for the days when Tiger Woods' name atop a leaderboard was akin to a national holiday. Our eyes could no longer deceive us.

Tiger Woods was one shot off the lead after 4-under-par 67 in the third round and his 8 under overall tied for second. He twice matched birdies with Woods with 12-foot putts, and after falling two shots behind and the crowd getting louder by the hole for Woods, Snedeker battled back with a pair of birdies for a 67.

Conners shot 3-under 68 for a one-shot lead over Woods, Brandt Snedeker and Justin Rose at 9-under 204 as he goes after his first PGA Tour victory before a crowd rarely seen this side of a major.

"I have a shot to win [Sunday]", Woods said after a round of five birdies and one bogey. I've got a shot going into tomorrow.

"I got into the field late, and kind of came in here with nothing to lose", he said. "I just need to execute". Video from The PGA Tour checkout all the video highlights and interviews.

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The 14-time major victor is one of three golfers at -8, just one shot back of rookie Corey Conners, a player who never finished better than t-28th on the PGA Tour. That didn't last long.

It's how he always used to be, and how many never expected to see him again.

"That was sweet", Woods said.

"Nine was good", Woods said. "Back to the good ol" days, for sure". He's playing a Top-10 nearly every single week he's played over the last five, six months.

Woods' chip then kissed the flag on its way by but he missed the six footer for par for his only dropped shot of the day.

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"I can confirm that (Woods) is back; the roars are back", Snedeker said.

This was just his eighth start since the beginning of 2016, and just the fifth in which he has made it to the weekend. He opened the week ranked 388th in the world rankings, up from 656th at the end of 2017. If he can maintain this pace and win on Sunday, imagine how much confidence he would take to next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he's won eight times?

He was perilously close to spending the rest of his life as a ceremonial figure in the sport, trotted out every once in a while to wave to the fans for old time's sake. He quickly added the Valspar to his schedule, an additional chance to hone his game, and his competitive edge, before Augusta. I've won my share of events here and overseas and so I like to be one back or near the lead.

The galleries swelled with each hole, and among the constant, predictable chatter and screams came an occasional cry of "I love you, Tiger", from the mouths of women, men and children alike.

“I was walking down the sixth and looked over to the fourth green, ” Rose said.

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Woods has been slowed by mistakes, some leading to big numbers the last time he played at the Honda Classic. Conners admitted that Woods was one of his childhood golfing heroes. "There's a lot of guys up there, myself included". Woods, it should be noted, hasn't played a major championship since 2015.

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