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Column: A strong Tiger Woods is a good starting point

From FOX Sports - December 4, 2017

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP)It wasnt the best shot Tiger Woods hit all week. It might have been the most telling.

He had 271 yards to the par-5 third hole at Albany Golf Club, a tropical breeze working against him. Woods went with a 2-iron. He held nothing back on the swing and then quickly recoiled the club as he watched it soar against the blue sky toward the flag.

That it rolled through the green and down a slope wasnt the issue.

I thought it was money, Woods said.

So did Justin Thomas, the PGA Tour player of the year who was paired with Woods in the first and final rounds of the Hero World Challenge.

I didnt say anything, Thomas said. I just looked at him. I was like, `That was pretty good.

This was his fourth day of his first tournament in 10 months after recovering from a fourth back surgery. He was as strong Sunday as when he started. He was like that all week, and the state of his health was far more important than his scores.

His scores werent too bad, either.

Woods had rounds of 69-68 to start, struggled in the worst of the wind for a 75 on Saturday, and then closed with a 68 despite finishing with back-to-back bogeys. He finished 10 shots behind and never had a chance to win. He also tied for ninth against an 18-man field, his best result in four years.

Woods always keeps score. At some point, results will matter more than his health to everyone else.

I knew I was going to be able to play all four rounds. That wasnt going to be an issue, Woods said from the broadcast booth, fulfilling his role as tournament host. The issue was how was my scoring going to be? How was my feel? How am I going to get used to the adrenaline in my system for the first time in a while? That took a little bit of time. I was still good with my irons. I drove it pretty good all week, made some good putts. But overall, Im pleased.

I showed some good signs, he said. I hit some really good shots out there, and a bright future.

That might be the biggest takeaway.

A future.

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