06 December, 2016
Nassau, Bahamas - The return of Tiger Woods was more about the big picture than any of his big numbers.
Woods always used to measure the success of a tournament week by whether he was loading the winner's trophy into his courtesy auto on Sunday night.
Tiger Woods finished his fourth round at the Hero World Challenge with a 76. No one is close to Matsuyama, the hottest player in golf over the last two months.
Now world No 898, Woods said: "It feels a little weird not to play in a cart". "I missed it. I love it". On top of that, Woods appeared extra-lean and showed tremendous flexibility as he aggressively attacked the 7,300-yard golf course.
Wearing his trademark Sunday red shirt and black trousers, Woods began the final round with four pars, leaving a 20-foot birdie putt on the edge of the cup at the first hole then punching out of rough with the tip of his putter at two and sinking a three-foot putt.
So, when he finished 15th in a field of 18 at the 2016 World Challenge, that had been reduced further to 17 by the withdrawal of Justin Rose, Tiger was still pleasant and smiling.
"When I putt well, I can contend", he said after finishing at 18-under 270 to beat Henrik Stenson by two shots at Albany Golf Club.
Player of the year and US Open victor Dustin Johnson of the United States and Sweden's Henrik Stenson, the Open champion, were the only ones who stayed somewhere near Matsuyama, totalling 204s against the 24-year-old's three-day card of 19 under par 197.
Matsuyama chipped from one bunker to another at the 10th on his way to a double bogey that trimmed his lead to five after Stenson made bogey. The only player other than Tiger Woods with black heritage on the PGA Tour, Varner lost in a playoff a year ago at Royal Pines.
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"It was nice to have my speed back, hit some balls out there with some aggression again and not have to worry about anything", Woods said.
"I just hope he's given time", Spieth said.
However, the week was all about Woods who was making a comeback after spending 466 days recovering from multiple back surgeries.
Asked about his plans for 2017, Woods said, "In my heart of hearts I would like to play a full schedule next year", but added he has not made a plan for next year yet. The good thing is is that because I have been away for so long, that everything I do here, I just keep accruing points.
"The pain, the issues I have, it was just rough - there were some pretty dire times where I just couldn't move". I wasn't going to compare him to the rest of the field they've been playing all year and they've been playing great.
Woods, three shy of Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour win mark, opened with birdies on four of the first five holes Saturday on the way to a 70 but struggled early Sunday.
Ranked a career-best sixth in the world, Matsuyama began the day with a seven-shot lead and made it eight with a birdie at the par-5 third.
"We'll have small little windows where we will practice when I have time to do it", Woods said.