PALM HARBOR — In the wake of severe back problems and a related DUI arrest in May due to self-medicating with opioid pain pills, golf sensation Tiger Woods has been frank and open about his desire to mount a comeback in the sport that made him a household name.
On Sunday, the legendary golfer did just that.
Woods placed 2nd in the prestigious Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, falling just short of what would have been his 80th U.S. PGA Tour title. The tournament’s winner, Paul Casey of England, edged out Woods by only a single stroke.
It’s an impressive showing for a player with only three Tour events under his belt since climbing back into the saddle.
“I think I’ve gotten a little better than what I was a couple of weeks ago,” Woods stated. “I keep getting just a little better and a little sharper. Today I wasn’t quite as sharp as I would like to have had it, but I had a good shot at winning this golf tournament.”
Woods finished up with 275 strokes to Casey’s 274, and was tied for 2nd place with American Patrick Reed.
Of course, everyone loves a comeback, so Tiger found no shortage of fans rooting for him. One of them was even his ex, skiing star Lindsey Vonn!
“I loved [Tiger] and we’re still friends,” Vonn said to Sports Illustrated previously this year. “Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way. I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”
Casey, for his part, was elated with his win. He racked up seven birdies Sunday (as contrasted with just two from Woods) and was highly satisfied with his performance.
“[Woods] made it look easy for such a long time, and it’s not,” Casey said.
Tiger was gracious as Casey picked up his second U.S. Tour title.
“We’ve been friends and competitors for a long, long time,” Casey said of his relationship with Woods. “It’s the only time he’s congratulated me immediately after a victory. Normally it’s the other way around. That’s something special.”
One thing is for sure: If all eyes weren’t already on Tiger, after this performance, they certainly will be!