Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Darrell Mcdonald

Casey holds off Woods, Reed to win Valspar Championship

Casey holds off Woods, Reed to win Valspar Championship

It was not so long ago that it would have seemed impossible: Woods, the greatest golfer of his generation, a 79-time PGA Tour victor and 14-time Major champion, written off countless times as someone who will never again be a competitive force, suddenly sitting one shot off the lead heading into a final round, and 24 days before the start of the Masters, which he has won four times.

The comeback kid, with 14 major titles to his name, but none since 2008, couldn't quite complete the storybook finish, but four quality rounds of golf, and his best finish since a tie for second in the FedEx Cup playoff opener back in 2013 - the previous year he won a tournament on the PGA Tour - showed that point may not be far away. He's waited five years for a day like Sunday.

The old Tiger magic was mostly missing on Sunday as the 14-times major champion tried to record his 80th PGA Tour victory, and his first since 2013.

Casey's win - only his second on the PGA Tour - strengthened his Ryder Cup world points qualifying and came after a final round which saw him use the putter just 21 times.

Fellow American Patrick Reed bogeyed the 18th to miss out on a play-off against Casey.

"It was a tough week on a demanding course and I felt I held up really well", said Woods.

Right from the start, Woods was serenaded with shouts of "We love you, Tiger!" and "C'mon Big Cat!" "Little mistakes will get you over the course of a week and it got me in the end". I'm finding the rhythm of the rounds, I'm hitting shots, I don't have a problem posting scores.

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Hometown favorite Shubhankar Sharma faded on the back nine with a 75 to finish seven shots behind.

He drained a putt from 22 feet for birdie at No. 10 underneath an overcast sky similar in color to his dark gray slacks and cap, contrasting Woods' bright pink Nike shirt that helped him stand out in a crowd even more than normal.

"It felt very comfortable out there".

"It was a very hard week - tough conditions on a tough golf course, very demanding and I thought I held up really well".

Unlike the days when Woods, 42, expected to win from such a position, he is keenly aware of what he has overcome in a short time. "It's as loud as I've heard it in a long time", Brandt Snedeker said (via Sheinin). "But, hopefully, I can play my game and have a good day".

Woods has proved he can play again. "So it's nice that I'm playing again next week [at the Arnold Palmer Invitational] and have a chance to try and do that". "It's a long year". He got up-and-down from a bunker short of the green at No. 11 for birdie, stuffed his approach to a foot on No. 12 and then holed a 20-foot birdie from just off the green at No. 13.

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