Tiger Woods jumped up 531 places in the World Rankings to 668 following his T9 finish at the Hero World Challenge - but just how impressive was his comeback?
There were fist pumps, club twirls, recoil shots and plenty of walking after irons shots and putts... but most impressively was how quickly Tiger was swinging it, seemingly without pain.
Considering he said that was just hoping to have four pain-free rounds, I'm not sure anyone could have predicted his comeback would have been as successful, and certainly here at TG we had 'tempered our expectations'. Yet despite a difficult performance on Saturday in tough conditions, it was brilliant to watch him shake off some rust and look like he will really be able to contend in future tournaments.
Obviously getting too ahead of ourselves this early would be misguided given that it was a limited field event on a course that usually provides low scores, but Tiger did finish one shot clear of Justin Thomas, and eight shots better than world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. And his stats were pretty encouraging, too.
Woods posted back to back opening rounds in the 60s (69,68) and despite a three-over 75 on Saturday bounced back with six birdies and an eagle during a final round 68 that could have been so much better if not for two bogeys on the final two holes.
"I knew I was going to be able to play all four rounds, I knew that wasn't going to be an issue," Woods added." The issue was going to be how my scoring was going to be and how my feel is.
"I was still scratchy with my irons, but I drove it pretty good all week and made some good putts. Overall I'm very pleased. I showed some good signs, I hit some really good shots out there and have a bright future."
When will we see him tee up again? He's frequently headed over to Dubai for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, but given that he withdrew from it last year with back spasms and went on to have his fourth back surgery, it wouldn't be surprising if he gave that a miss. What we do know, is that he's going to be planning his schedule around the Majors.
"I think that we're going to sit down and figure out what's the best way for me to build my schedule for the major championships," Woods said. "Work out how much to play and what my training cycles are going to be. Playing enough, but not playing too much.
"I don't know what golf courses I'll be playing and the best way to go about it, but we'll figure it out. I have had some tough times through the years with my back, so to finally come out on the good side and be able to go out and play is pretty cool."
The best stats from Tiger Woods' Return
● 34/57 Fairways, 46/72 GIR, 110 putts. Particularly impressive is that he hit 13/14 fairways during final round. Since 1999, he has hit 14/14 just twice on the PGA Tour
● First opening round worldwide in 60s since 2015 Wyndham Championship. Also the first time he’s posted back-to-back rounds in the 60s since the 2015 Wyndham Champ
● During the second round, he shot a 5-under 31 on the front nine, which was his best nine-hole score to par in any worldwide event in 1,457 days. Last shot 5 under or better on nine holes at this event in 2013. Repeated on the front nine on Sunday.
● First time with multiple eagles in tournament since 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational. His eagle on No. 7 was the first eagle he’s had on par 4 since final round of 2010 Masters (also hole 7)
● Lowest final round score since 2015 Quicken Loans National
● Most birdies/eagles in final round (seven) since 2012 Memorial
● Moved up to 668 from to 1199 (531 places)
● Is now 20/1 to win the Masters. Defending Champion Sergio Garcia, who won 3 times in 2017, is 28/1. Has same odds as Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler.
● T9 is his best result in competition since he was T2 at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in 2013.
● Of his 10 comeback appearances from injury, this is the first time he’s shot three rounds in the 60s since his very first comeback tournament at the Buick Invitational in 2003 (which he won) following knee surgery in 2002 that put him out for 10 weeks.
● Tiger’s ball-speed this week was consistently around 178-180. In 2017, just 14 players on the PGA Tour averaged ball speed over 180.
World's Top 12
Dustin Johnson: Average 180.06, Fastest 184.65
Jordan Spieth: Average 169.18, Fastest 174.49
Justin Thomas: Average 175.77, Fastest 181.97
Jon Rahm: Average 174.97, Fastest 180.32
Hideki Matsuyama: Average 172.27, Fastest 178.12
Justin Rose: Average 171.57, Fastest 178.25
Rickie Fowler: Average 172.37, Fastest 177.06
Brooks Koepka: Average 180.03, Fastest 185.22
Henrik Stenson: No stat on PGA Tour web
Rory McIlroy: Average 180.12, Fastest 186.27
Sergio Garcia: Average 175.73, Fastest 178.93
Jason Day: Average 175.51, Fastest 180.5
Spieth, Matsuyama, Fowler, Rose & Garcia didn’t reach a ball speed of over 180 in any tournament last year. Tiger did it on his first day back from injury