As The Open championship reaches its final day, Tiger Woods has remarkably played himself into contention for the title with a round of five under. It was the moment many in golf hoped for but few really expected.
On Sunday, Tiger Woods will contend for his 15th major golf championship after a remarkable performance on day three at the British Open. With the rain and wind gone, day three turned into birdie bingo and Tiger Woods delivered quite the card. Woods hit six birdies, with only a bogey at the 16th dampening his charge.
For the last eight years personal issues and back problems have forced Woods' golf career onto the back burner. His last tournament win came in 2013 and since then the battle to return to competitive golf again has one been lost more often than won.
That is what makes Woods' performance at The Open — after missing the last two — all the more remarkable. His round of 66 was his best weekend round at a major since the 2010 US Open. Briefly, Woods was even tied for the lead, which hadn't happened at a major since 2012.
A three-time winner of this tournament, Woods' performance was one of many startling performances of the day. Much earlier on, Justin Rose delivered a flawless round of 64, the lowest ever score in Carnoustie's British Open history. Yet the presence of an in-form Woods on the greens of a major lifted the crowd. Even fellow golfers were excited for him, with Ian Poulter describing Woods joint leader as the "stuff dreams are made of."
Woods is box office for this sport and throughout his third round it was clear to see why. There were times when the 42-year-old was playing as he had in his peak, back when it was his sport and everyone else was there just to make up the numbers. A monster birdie on the ninth was followed by an approach shot on 10 that left his ball just a foot from the cup. On 11, Woods' drive was so hard and true that it nearly landed on the green. When he joined the leaders after another birdie at 14, he was tipping his hat to the crowds like it was 2004. Even on the 18th fortune favored Woods as his drive hit the bank of the famous Barry Burn, but the ball bounced back into the rough rather than dropping into the drink.
Golf hasn't stood still in Tiger Woods' absence. Defending Open Champion and current golf star Jordan Spieth finished four shots ahead of Woods after carding 65 in round three. Fellow American Kevin Kisner is also at 9-under approaching the final round. Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy is also in the hunt, as is Xander Schauffele. But whether Woods claims the coveted claret jug or not, his return to contention for a major is a moment that many in golf always hoped but never expected to see again.