Tiger Woods was one shot away from a chance to win, and the PGA Tour had its largest television audience in five years.
Woods began the final round just a stroke off the pace at Palm Harbor, leading to heightened expectations on Sunday as the 14-time major champion sought to end a win drought stretching back to 2013.
The old-time roar faded, though, and his bid to force eventual victor Paul Casey to extra holes also petered out when his long birdie putt stopped a couple of feet short at the par-four 18th. As many are aware, The Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course is not known for being one of the top tournaments on the PGA schedule.
With the Masters looming, Woods will nevertheless be able to take a host of positives from the week, having registered his first top-10 finish in an official event since 2015 and a first placing in the top three since 2013, when he won five tournaments.
Patrick Reed was tied for the lead and appeared headed for a playoff at worst until his approach to the 18th came back down the slope, and his 45-foot birdie putt was so weak that it rolled all the way back to his feet. It was the closest Woods has come to winning in almost five years.
Woods energized the crowd following him by draining a dramatic 43-foot, 8-inch putt at the 17th hole to climb within one stroke of Casey with one hole to play, according to PGATour.com.
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The Bulldogs could still land an NIT bid, but it remains to be seen if Fox would coach through that tournament or not. Georgia's Juwan Parker benefited from a friendly bounce on a shot behind the arc for the answer a minute later.
But Woods, a bit off in his iron control on Sunday, left his approach 39 feet short of the cup and his two-putt gave him a closing one-under 70.
Woods lifted his golf club into the air and touched the bill of his cap in response, before raising his hat fully off his head and waving as the ovation grew louder.
"I keep getting just a little better and a little sharper".
"I've not done that in a long time and that's the difference".
Right from the start, Woods was serenaded with shouts of "We love you, Tiger!" and "C'mon Big Cat!" That was the best-rated Round 3 of a PGA Tour event on any broadcast network since 2006, and the best rating for the Valspar tournament ever.
"I've had some great memories there".