Tiger Woods – Rory McIlroy, Joe LaCava, JJ Watt, Reggie Jackson weigh in on Tiger’s big week


Well, that was an interesting weekend of golf, no? Tiger Woods came up one putt short of forcing a playoff against eventual winner Paul Casey at the Valspar Championship, the closest Tiger has come to winning a tournament in nearly five years.

We asked fellow players and fans what the experience was like at Innisbrook, and there were just a few comments on the Twitterwebs, as well.

Fellow pros … not surprised

Adam Scott: “It’s incredible. It’s fantastic, obviously, to see Tiger playing golf and here at Valspar, too, the difference he makes to the tour is huge. I mean, it’s awful to say, [but] we kind of got used to not seeing him out here and it was still good; but it’s that much better when he does come and play.”

Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut at Valspar: “I saw this three months ago [when they played together at Thanksgiving]. He’s playing great. He’s the Tiger of old in terms of the recoveries — he nearly breaks his hand off a tree and all that sort of stuff. His short game is incredible. He’s hitting the ball much better than he did the first couple of starts of the season.”

Joe LaCava, Tiger’s caddie, before Sunday’s final round: “I think he still needs reps. Good, better or indifferent [on Sunday], coming here was a big step. You don’t want to get carried away with one good tournament, but you can see signs of him playing well and hitting it better. I’m not surprised, no.”

Paul Casey, who won the Valspar Championship by 1 shot over Tiger, before Sunday’s final round: “I don’t know how he does it. … He’s always had an ability to deal with the distractions and sometimes draw from it, and I actually I want him to play brilliant golf, want him to win again because I want these kids to see what we dealt with for a long, long time. It would be brilliant. I want to win this week. If I don’t win this week I want Tiger to win this week. I’m afraid to say that.”

Ernie Els: “I’m seeing the normal Tiger, the Tiger I’ve known for 24 years. The Tiger that was not quite the same guy was because of the injuries — it must have been so disappointing to him. Who knows how bad it was? … [Now], he’s swinging hard, he’s swinging with confidence. Knowing that his back is going to be fine … you can plan things and look to them with excitement instead of going week to week wondering if something is going to break. He has that energy believing his body is back and he has the talent and he’s done the work.”

Brandt Snedeker, who was paired with Woods for the final two rounds at Valspar: “I can confirm he’s back, the roars are back. It’s fun to hear the crowd going crazy again and realize how excited we are in having him back out here and playing the way he is. … At Honda, that was his new baseline, and it’s better since Honda. [On Saturday at Valspar], he putted a little bit off compared to what I saw at Honda, but he drove it way better and I don’t see it going backwards from here.”

Justin Rose: “I was walking down the sixth hole [on Saturday] and looked over to the fourth green. I said to my caddie, “Have you ever seen those crowds?” They were at least eight deep back there. It was a view that certainly wouldn’t have been the same had he not been playing. … It’s exciting to have him back for the casual golf fan, but now the true Tiger fan gets excited. Our paths crossed on the golf course quite a few times [Saturday] because there are a couple holes the way the course is laid out and intersects where our groups were waiting for one another or vice versa. Then the periphery of what goes on around the golf certainly makes it more chaotic. You feel it and hear it.”

That looooong putt on 17



Tiger Woods fails to make a lengthy birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Paul Casey.

Woods sent patrons and viewers into a bit of a frenzy when he buried a birdie putt from just inside 45 feet at the par-3 17th, which put him 1 shot behind Casey with one hole to play.

More reaction

Some took a break from spring training to watch Tiger in action, while other stars chimed in:

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