After years in the rough, Tiger Woods gets his game back

Gwen Vasquez
March 12, 2018

Woods is playing just his fourth tournament on the PGA Tour since undergoing spinal fusion surgery - his fourth back operation in three years - last April. It was nothing short of a medical Hail Mary.

Woods looked sharper as the gallery got louder.

The Bay Area golf fans have been treated to the best golf that Woods has played since 2013.

Yet here we are. The 37-year-old is chasing his ninth TOUR title in 290 events, first since the 2016 Farmers where he came from six back with 3-under 69 to win by one.

Conners, who was paired with Paul Casey in the third round, might as well have been playing in a quiet Saturday afternoon two-ball with a buddy there were so few people following them.

Playing behind Woods on Saturday didn't seem to faze him, either.

Woods, 42, has won 79 times on the PGA Tour.

Another birdie followed at the par-5 fifth after Woods almost chipped in for eagle.

Woods plays right in front of them with Snedeker, who also had a 67. "I felt really good about my game for the last little while and just wanted to get another opportunity to play, and fortunately able to get that opportunity this week and had a good week so far".

There were birdies (five), a chip-in, a walk-it-in putt, fist pumps and club twirls. The crowd swelled to eight deep, and it was vocal. Not that he minded.

"I started smiling, " Snedeker said.

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"Obviously grew up watching Tiger and kind of idolized Tiger, and seeing that today was really cool". "A couple big roars put a smile on my face".

Spieth missed the cut for the second time this year.

"It's just him to a tee", Snedeker said. "I think tomorrow will be another fun day. Just kind of vintage Tiger".

"He's getting better every round". "The more time he has, he's going to feel better".

This is Tiger's 70th time he'll go into the final round within at least one stroke of the lead. Time had not stopped, or heaven forbid, gone in reverse.

Over 54 remarkable holes here, with expectations starting low and swelling higher, Woods has proven he can still play.

While at Kent State, Conners listed Woods as one of the golfers he'd most like to play with in a foursome.

None, though, loom as large as Woods. He expects that confidence to carry over in to Sunday's final round.

He's looking for his first PGA Tour win since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and his 80th overall.

"You can't ignore it, I guess", said the former Kent State All-American of the looming presence of Woods and the chaos that goes with it. It's fun to hear the crowd going insane again and realize how excited we are in having him back out here and playing the way he is. That's probably why I played so good. It's going to be fun, lot of fun, and these [fans] have been great.

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