TIGER Woods is back - and just in time for the Masters.
Golf's biggest star had America on the edge of its seat this morning as he pushed Englishman Paul Casey all the way at the Valspar Championship before falling one shot short.
Seeing the 14-time major winner back in contention at a big tournament after his horror run with injuries in recent years was a welcome sight for many golf fans.
But there's still always at least one jerk in the gallery willing to heckle arguably the best to ever do it.
Putting for birdie and a tie of the lead on the seventh hole, Woods left his attempt short. Golf Channel cameras picked up one crowd member taunting the 42-year-old with the age-old sledge: "Does your husband play too?"
Woods trailed surprise leader Casey by two strokes for most of the final round as the cream rose to the top at the PGA Tour event in Florida.
Woods, seeking his 80th win on the PGA Tour and his first since 2013, was steady rather than spectacular on the front nine after starting the day one stroke from the lead at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.
Dressed in his trademark Sunday best outfit of red shirt and black pants, he ignited the huge gallery with a two-putt birdie at the par-five first, but that turned out to be his only birdie on the front nine.
He made the turn at eight-under, equal third with fellow Americans Patrick Reed and Sam Burns, and Masters champion Sergio Garcia of Spain.
Woods failed to make any inroads on Casey's advantage until winding back the clock with a 45-foot birdie putt on the par-three 17th hole to move within one shot.
Woods perfectly read the green before curling the ball deliciously into the centre of the cup as the gallery went berserk.
But he could not replicate the magic at the par-four 18th, where he missed a difficult 40-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff with Casey.
Reed blew his chance for a playoff, making an embarrassing bogey at the last when his first putt, through the fringe, failed to make it up the hill and rolled all the way back to his feet.
For 40-year-old Casey, who had won 17 times around the world, it was only his second US tour victory after the Shell Houston Open in April 2009 and his first win anywhere since the European tour's 2014 KLM Open.
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