Woods ready to win again

15 May 2018 07:14:31 EST

In the aftermath of smashing a third round 65 and briefly threatening the lead at the Players Championship on Sunday, Tiger Woods didn't even try to hide his enthusiasm for the future.

Less than a year since a back fusion operation completely transformed his career aspirations, Woods was once again thrilling the galleries.

In March he chalked up second in the Valspar Championship and fifth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but his 11th at TPC Sawgrass was arguably a bigger step in the right direction.

"There's no way I would have predicted I would be at this point the beginning of the year," he admitted after his final round 69. "After how I played at the Honda Classic (12th) and how I played at the Valspar and Palmer Invite, I knew I was close to winning golf tournaments. Hell, I was only one shot out at Valspar.

"But now I know I've got my playing feels, I'm playing tournament golf and I've got it ... I'm not that far away from winning golf tournaments."

He opened The Players with rounds of 72-71 before burning the course up at the weekend, with all elements of his game in good shape.

"I didn't play particularly well in the first couple days," he said. "But I turned it around and I got it rolling. I hit the ball well, I controlled it and I made some putts. I knew my putting was right around the corner. It was just a matter of time, and this weekend was it."

It's one thing for Woods to be keyed up, but his improving form is also prompting other to talk positively of the possibilities.

His old sparring partner David Duval is now a TV commentator and he told viewers: "What I saw this weekend makes me excited. It could be incredibly close."

Woods is a three-time winner of the U.S. Open and is rated a 16/1 shot to make it four at Shinnecock Hills. He is 25/1 to win a fourth Claret Jug at Carnoustie and 18/1 to claim a fifth PGA Championship at Bellerive in August.

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