A couple of stories on Tiger’s three-stroke lead heading into the Tour Championship final round left me uneasy. After all, should he wake up not feeling it, shoot 72 to someone else’s great round, there will be declarations that he’s never going to be the same golfer we knew.
To be clear, he’s never going to be the same golfer we knew but he’s certainly been close enough of late to give us hope for a legitimate chase of the all-time majors record over the next five years.
But as Dan Kilbridge notes in this review of the comeback, it’s incredible how far Woods has come and also how much his putter—not the often scrutinized ballstriking—has made the difference this year. Or prevented victory.
There will, however, be pressure today given his status as the greatest frontrunner the sport has ever seen, as Bob Harig notes for ESPN.com:
Woods has been money with third-round leads, especially of 3 shots or more. He has never failed to deliver, 32 times going on to victory when holding this wide of a margin.
Woods' overall record of 53-4 on the PGA Tour with at least a tie for the lead is mind-blowing itself. Imagine getting to this position 57 times.
But Tiger has also seemingly peaked in the third rounds in 2018, opening up the possibility that he’s not as sharp today and gets passed. That would be a shame given how perfect of a final bow a win at East Lake would put on his steady 2018 comeback. But there also needs to be some perspective that he’s still coming back and has also far exceeded expectations given where his game was a few years ago.