In the wake of Tiger Wood’s 54-hole run at the Valspar Championship, our GOLF.com team convened an emergency roundtable session. Check in every Sunday night for the regularly scheduled Tour Confidential and the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors, and join the conversation by tweeting us @GOLF_com.
1. Tiger Woods — Tiger Woods! — is one off the lead with 18 holes to play in the Valspar Championship. Will he prevail today?
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, GOLF: There are too many quality players above him, with him and below him. His time is coming but today seems unlikely. Note: Everything I predict about Tiger Woods is wrong.
Jeff Ritter, digital development editor, GOLF.com (@Jeff_Ritter): It’s a crowded and accomplished leaderboard, but it sort of feels like this is his time, doesn’t it? (Even though his time has arrived much sooner than any of us could’ve imagined after his surgery.) I Don’t know how he’s going to do it, but I think it’s gonna happen: W No. 80 happens today.
Josh Berhow, producer, GOLF.com (@Josh_Berhow): No, but only because I think this is all happening too fast and Tiger winning(!) a tournament this soon in his return seems almost too good to be true, so I’m being pessimistic. Regardless of what he shoots today he’s already proved enough. He’s back, and he’s ready to win again.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, GOLF (@AlanShipnuck: It makes absolutely no sense for Tiger to win this soon, which means it’s destined to happen.
Alan Bastable, executive editor, GOLF.com (@alan_bastable): Tiger wins on the fourth hole of a playoff with Justin Rose. The world rejoices. The internet literally melts. Takes five days to repair.
Jessica Marksbury, senior editor, GOLF.com (@Jess_Marksbury): My heart says YES! My head says probably not. And that’s OK — there’s a big tournament in Georgia soon where a win out of the blue would be even sweeter. And to reiterate my colleagues, no matter what happens today, it sure has been fun to watch, and TW’s already stellar play is surprising in the best way, and it bodes well for the rest of the year.
2. What will he shoot?
Bamberger: What will he shoot? Seventy, with much short-game help.
Ritter: Put me down for a 68 to win by one.
Marksbury: Agree with the 68, Jeff. This is a big moment for Tiger to come through in the clutch. I’ll be really surprised if he isn’t at least close at the end.
Berhow: Two-under 69.
Shipnuck: 69. Hold the jokes, please.
Bastable: 68, including a double bogey on the front nine.
3. If he gets it done, put some historical perspective on what this victory would mean.
Bamberger: The first win of the rest of his (newly reconstituted) life.
Ritter: It would stand alongside the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational as the most significant non-major victories of his career. Both stunning and sooner-than-expected, in their own way.
Berhow: One of the greatest, most satisfying wins of his career. And that might be selling it short.
Shipnuck: Yeah, it would rank up there with the ‘97 Masters and ‘00 and ‘08 U.S. Opens. Tiger has been to hell and back in the last decade – physically, emotionally, spiritually. To win again at 42 with a fused spinal cord would be a monumental achievement, a towering accomplishment. If/when it happens the hyperbole will be overwhelming… and, for once, justified.
Bastable: His 1997 Masters win will never be topped in terms of historical impact. The 2000 U.S. Open will never be topped in terms of utter domination. But a win today would still rank near the top of the most memorable Tour wins ever. To do what he’s done so soon into this comeback is staggering.
Marksbury: Is it a major? No. But in my mind, it would still be one of the greatest — if not THE greatest — comeback in sports.