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The Tiger bounce seems to be back
THE television ratings went up, renewed interest returned to golf and the Tiger Roar was back.
That was after the famous Rolex Testimonee claimed the US Masters title at Augusta in April, needing only a bogey on the final hole to secure his 15th Major.
But like a damp squib, when he missed the cut at the US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black he was a little crestfallen and his global fans expressed lament.
For the golfing phenomenon who had turned the face of golf over the last two decades, Woods has one of the greatest following on earth with a marketing pull never seen before.
The Tiger Woods bounce seems to have gotten back somewhat after the Memorial tournament last month although he finished 10 shots behind winner Patrick Cantlay, also of the United States.
After rounds of 70, 72 and 70, Woods found some groove at the Monterey Peninsula with a final-round five-under 67 that could have seen further improvement.
"It could have been a little better, for sure," said Woods, who birdied seven of his first 12 holes and got to within four of the leaders before two bogeys coming in took some sting out of the round.
"Going into today I was never going to win the tournament, but I was hoping I could get something positive going into the Open, and I was able to accomplish that, which is great, to get some nice positive momentum going into a nice practice week.
"Each day I got a little crisper. I made a few mistakes and didn't keep the card as clean as I'd like. A couple of loose iron shots here and there, but overall I drove it great this week. I just need to clean up the rounds."
His caddie Joe LaCava beamed: "First 12 holes were an absolute clinic. He still hit some decent shots coming in. It wasn't like he played poorly, he just didn't get anything out of it the last five or six holes.
"He's certainly going in the right direction with good momentum. I thought the iron play was top-notch today. Definitely some good momentum and positive vibes from both (weekend) days. The quality of shots on a scale of one to 10, I would say were a nine."
That sounds as a warning to favourite and defending champion and current world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, another Rolex Testimonee, and his reckoned closest challenger Dustin Johnson, the former world No. 1.
If any of these Rolex Testimonees, Woods, Koepka or the other main contenders and fellow Rolex Testimonees such as Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm or Martin Kaymer do it, it would be a coup for the luxury Swiss watch manufacturer Rolex, whose ties with the pinnacle of golf includes partnerships with world-class events and players for more than 50 years.
Rolex's enduring relationship with golf began in 1967, with Arnold Palmer, then joined by the other two who formed the "Big Three", Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Rolex is now part of the very fabric of golf and supports the game at all levels, from elite players and legends of the game, men's and women's Major champions, the professional Tours, the world's leading formats to global amateur tournaments and to juniors and seniors.
Past champions from the Rolex stable include Koepka (winner over the last two years), Curtis Strange (1988, 1989), Palmer (1960), Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980), Player (1965), Woods (2000, 2002, 2008), Tom Watson (1982), Retief Goosen (2001, 2004), Kaymer (2014) and Spieth (2015).
This time the Rolex cast is further strengthened by the likes of Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Li Haotong, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas.