Woods leads to highest PGA ratings in 5 years

Lowry in the mix at Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour

Tiger Woods said it after his nailbiting runner-up finish in the Valspar Championship: "I've missed this". It 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 in its history-an eye-popping 181% gain over Round 3 of the event past year. "I had a good shot at winning this golf tournament".

That's not because of Paul Casey, who edged Woods, or Patrick Reed, who tied Woods for second.

He couldn't repeat the feat at the 18th to force a playoff, however, another long birdie try coming up a couple of feet short.

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.

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"The one thing you can't do", Woods said with visible regret, "is leave it short".

Casey, whose only previous PGA Tour win came at the 2009 Houston Open, had moved into contention with a three-under front nine, before surging to the top of the leaderboard thanks to three birdies in a row from the 11th.

"The clean-ups on 16, 17 and 18 - fantastic", Casey said. "Usually it's the other way around". Its tremors could be felt clear across Florida, and no doubt were detectable all the way to the eastern part of Georgia, round about Augusta.

On his way off the course, Woods stopped to sign autographs, showing a good deal more patience than he had during his heyday."Wow, what an fantastic week ... people, atmosphere, adrenaline, back nine on Sunday, man I've missed this", Woods later tweeted. And you can be sure Sunday, with Woods in the hunt, did just as well as better. Golf fans were hoping Woods could pick up the win, but they should be excited for what he might be able to do throughout the year. "I want him to win again - because I want these kids to see what we dealt with for a long, long time". It suggests that for all that has been made about the sport's exciting young stars like Spieth, McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and Jason Day, none is in the same universe as Tiger Woods in grabbing mainstream attention. The Masters Championship couldn't come any sooner. You were reminded that golf is simply richer and better with him in it.

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