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After Further Review: Remarkable week for Tiger

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 3, 2017, 11:31 pm

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger's successful return ...

If a 280 total for 72 holes isn’t convincing enough, let the professionals prove the point.

“No doubt about it,” Patrick Reed said when your scribe asked if Tiger Woods could win in 2018.

Woods finished tied for ninth at the Hero World Challenge, an 18-man field. Assess that however you like, but the performance was nothing short of remarkable considering it had been 301 days since the 14-time major champion had played for anything more important than a few bucks with his friends.

Woods will need to clean up the mistakes that cost him on Saturday when he struggled to a 3-over 75, and he still must see how his body withstands consecutive weeks of competition; but if he remains healthy it’s impossible not to think that he can become competitively relevant again. – Rex Hoggard

On Tiger's Masters odds ...

There’s plenty of reason to feel optimistic about Tiger Woods’ 2018 prospects following a Bahamian return filled with plenty of highlights, but let’s pump the brakes on talk of a fifth green jacket.

Woods exceeded nearly every expectation at the Hero World Challenge, closing with a 68 to tie for ninth. But even a hint of success over the weekend led bettors to flock to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, where Woods’ Masters odds that opened in August at 100/1 fell as low as 15/1.

He is currently listed at 20/1 to win the next major, and while few can match his knowledge of Augusta National those odds are still lower than three-time winner Phil Mickelson and defending champ Sergio Garcia, both listed at 30/1.

A successful spring could very well return Woods to the discussion of Masters favorites, and his popularity at the window means true odds will never be available. But those backing Woods at such short odds should probably find better ways to spend their hard-earned cash. – Will Gray

On Woods' prospects for 2018 ...

Tiger Woods will play in all four majors and as many as 12 PGA Tour events in 2018. Four days ago that didn’t seem possible. Now, I’m convinced it will happen.

Funny what four days in the Bahamas will do to change the mind when watching Woods blast drives past playing partners Justin Thomas, Henrik Stenson and Hideki Matsuyama. Funny what watching him hoist long irons high into the sky will do to change the mind. He made putts, he grinded, he showed potential. Woods made a believer out of me.

I’m not ready to say Woods will win, he did still finish 10 shots behind Rickie Fowler at the Hero World Challenge. I don’t see a scenario where he’ll be so dialed in that he can beat any of the strongest fields of the year, which are the events he will play. That won’t happen. But I’ll be happy enough just to see him play and smile; There was a time, not too long ago, when we didn’t know if that would ever happen again. – Jay Coffin

On Maria Torres making history ...

Maria Torres radiated with excitement finishing 20th Sunday in the final stage of LPGA Q-School in Daytona Beach, Fla. It made her the first Puerto Rican to earn LPGA membership.

Back in her home in San Juan, where she says families are slowly making their way back from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, her parents shrieked with joy when she passed along the news in a phone call.

Maria reveled knowing her success would feel like a triumph for the entire commonwealth. She will revel all next year seeing her flag fly among the LPGA’s flags. – Randall Mell

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods began the final round of the Tour Championship with a three-shot lead, and he's cruising at East Lake. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”