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Tiger Woods 'excited' by chance of Valspar victory

11 March 2018

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Tom Pernice Jr. remained patient in cool, rainy and breezy conditions, and held a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Toshiba Classic at Newport Beach, California. But that wasn't the case for Corey Conners.

But all eyes are on 14-times major victor Woods, in just his fourth official start since spinal fusion surgery - his fourth back surgery - last April.

"Jordan (Spieth) has always played well".

"Once I played with him at Torrey and saw up close that he was playing, this doesn't surprise me at all, " Snedeker said. The signs of distress were often there, no more so than the hobbling gait last February in Dubai, where he shot a birdie-less 77 and withdrew the next day.

But once again Woods was the center of attention, and after years of battling injury he gave his fans what they wanted to see.

At last, Tiger Woods has found and demonstrated the consistent excellence that makes his return as a player of championship calibre truly convincing.

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Red shirts were, perhaps not surprisingly, a hot item. He has done so for the tournament 14 of 20 times. Conners is at -9 and has a one shot lead over three golfers. The beer tents open up when the tournament does, and fans have not been shy about enjoying their favorite beverages during tournaments.

"There's certainly an energy about the gallery that you don't have anywhere else". "The more time he has, he's going to feel better". Here's hoping we get another hole-out to ignite the crowd and a serious run at the win but no matter what, Sunday is already a gift.

"It didn't feel very good", he said. There were children getting their first chance to see Tiger, and who knows how many more they'll get? "But [I] just try to stay focused on my game".

Now comes the hard part, with Woods, Rose and Snedeker breathing down his neck. On Thursday, there were numerous people in attendance wearing Blue Jays apparel, Team Canada gear, and pronouncing the word "sorry" as though the word "sore" were in there. "I hit a couple of putts here and there and that is not really doing much".

The 26-year-old was an outstanding amateur while at Kent State winning a series of events including here in Australia when successful at the Lake Macquarie Amateur near Newcastle. We both played well and it was just an unbelievable environment. A win would send the place and all of golf into orbit. Conners was also the runner-up at the 2014 US Amateur.

Conners is an alternate.

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"You could tell some of the roars were for him, for sure", said Steve Stricker, who joined the Tour a year before Woods. He has gone on to win in that situation 62 times.

Spieth isn't one to get intimidated.

Reminder: Pro golfers, while wonderful at something most people are barely competent in, are people like everybody else. As in, he was literally not in the field this time last week.

Tiger Woods watches his second shot on the 12th hole during the third round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort.

After a week of anticipation for Tiger's appearance and this tournament in general, the Valspar Championship is underway in Palm Harbor.

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Tiger Woods 'excited' by chance of Valspar victory