As his world ranking slipped into the triple-digits--and would have moved to a four-digit number if not for the Hero World Challenge--lost was Tiger Woods' ability to intimidate a leaderboard by his mere presence.
While he has a ways to go in getting his game in peak shape, Tiger's already shown flashes of brilliance and putting prowess not seen in years. Another early run Saturday in the Bahamas may have already restored his good name. Or, at the very least, the Tiger brand known for its ability intimidate by mere leaderboard presence.
I note this because of two post round comments. The first was from Karen Crouse's New York Times game story, which quotes the hottest player on the planet, Hideki Matsuyama, World Challenge leader by nine.
“Only Tiger could take a year and a half off and put up the numbers that he’s putting up this week,” Matsuyama said. “I don’t care how many strokes I’m leading over him, I still worry about him, fear him.”
And this from Jordan Spieth in Jeff Babineau's Golfweek.com story:
“I’m pumped to see what he’s doing this week. We heard a long roar at 5 – a putt, or a chip-in – when we were on 4, and I looked at the board, and they flipped him to 4 (under) through 5, and I’m like, ‘All right,’ you know? … Today, in those conditions to be 4 or 5 under par, that’s as low as anyone is going. So it’s there, and if he wasn’t rusty, he’d be winning this tournament.”