The Washington Post

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (TNS) — He took his cap off on the 18th green to shake his playing partner’s hand, and suddenly the fantasy was over. High above the timeless, trademark smile, Tiger Woods’ hair came spilling out in wild, ancient clumps, their dwindling territory no match for the advancing bald spots in between. Our eyes could no longer deceive us. This was not 1997 or 2002 or 2008 or even 2013. Time had not stopped, or heaven forbid, gone in reverse.

But it was precisely Woods’ age, 42 years and 10 weeks, and the impossible amount of time that had passed since he has given us a moment like this - call it five years - that made Saturday’s spectacle in the third round of the Valspar Championship so rich, and that makes Sunday’s final round, which Woods will begin one shot off the lead, so enticing and potentially monumental for the sport.

On a cool, gray afternoon, on a course - the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort - that he hadn’t played in 22 years, in a tournament he had never before graced, Woods shot a 4-under 67 and whipped a teeming, half-delirious, half-incredulous crowd into a frenzy. Healthy of body and mind again after a miserable and long road back, he sits at 8 under par, tied with tour veterans Justin Rose (66) and Brandt Snedeker (67), one shot behindCorey Conners .