Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

With any luck, Tiger Woods can be the next Webb Simpson

With any luck, Tiger Woods can be the next Webb Simpson

At making a birdie.

This week it was Webb Simpson. A front-nine 30 suggested Woods might indeed be back to form. He struck the ball cleanly, stared at intently and then watched it spin off the green.

Eighteen-time Major victor Tiger Woods finished seven shots adrift of Simpson on 11 under but at one stage closed the gap to four with a birdie on the 12th hole. His charge was halted after a double bogey at the island-green 17th. Woods, however, left the course feeling better than ever about his comeback.

In both cases, Woods hit a sand wedge approach, but he said he did not misplay either shot.

Tiger Woods (69) finished T-11, while Justin Thomas, who like Woods came up from the cutline, carded 66 and finished T-11.

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There was little suspense on Sunday at the The Players Championship, as American Webb Simpson began the fourth round with a seven-shot lead and cruised to his his first victory in five years with relative ease.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Stephan Jaeger birdied the final two holes for his second straight 7-under 64 and a three-stroke victory in the Tour's Knoxville Open. Fans young and old stood dozens deep, scurrying from tee to fairway to green, just for a brief peek at Woods. "I played a lot of good shots out there today and it was nice to see a few putts go in".

Former Masters champion Adam Scott, who was also affected by the ban, joked: "I hope he doesn't putt too well with that thing up his arm or they'll ban that, too".

Tiger Woods hasn't won a tournament this year and in fact he hasn't won one in quite some time, but that doesn't stop me from watching every single weekend that he makes the cut. I got it down to four at one point and felt like I needed four or five more coming in to maybe have a chance. All in all, I think he played like a 5- or 6-under round, nearly shot 7 or 8 and ended up with 3. Tiger Woods tied for 11th with a score of 277.

Still, the big-picture view is mostly positive for the world's most popular player.

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"I got my playing feels back, and it's just a matter of playing and executing and putting the shots together", said Woods.

After the final round, Woods revealed he would like to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August but he would have to either win a tournament or be ranked among the top 50 in the world to qualify.

Woods will have only one more start, at the Memorial tournament in two weeks, to hone his game before the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. He improved his world ranking from 65th to 20th. "I didn't play particularly well in the first couple days, but I turned it around this weekend and I got it rolling". He led the field in Strokes Gained Putting, picking up 9.368 strokes on the field.

Simpson stalled with six straight pars before a first birdie of his round at the par-four seventh that took him to 20-under. He was driving the ball well, managed himself well around the course and putted the ball well. He closed with a double bogey, but that only made the final margin closer than it really was.

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