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Can Tiger Woods win the Valspar?

One final thought before the Valspar Championship's final round.
Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 5th hole during the 3rd round of the Valspar Championship Saturday 3/10/2018 at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead course. JIM DAMASKE | Times
Published Mar. 11, 2018

PALM HARBOR – Can Tiger do it?

The eyes of the sporting world will be on Innisbrook this afternoon as Tiger Woods tries to win his first PGA Tour event since 2013.

Woods tees off at 1:50 p.m. in the next-to-last group of the day. He's tied with two others (Brandt Snedeker and Justin Rose), one shot behind surprise leader Corey Conners – a guy Tiger doesn't know. After all, hard as it is to believe, Tiger, 42, is one of the old guys on the tour now and has been on-and-off the tour for the past 10 years.

"Close to a third of the guys I don't know any more out there at the given events,'' Woods said. "I haven't got to know some of these guys and Corey is one of them. I don't know a lot about him.''

Conners, 26, is a rookie on the tour who was the third alternate into this tournament. He said he idolized Tiger as a kid. It would be a great story if he won today.

But if Tiger won, it would be insane. According to The Golf Channel, Tiger has won 62 times when he's been with one shot of the lead or better — and never finished out of the top five in those circumstances.

Not that Tiger will allow himself to think that far ahead.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there,'' Woods said. "Hopefully, it will be (today).''

Yet even the guy with 14 majors and 79 tour victories can't wait to get going.

"I'm excited,'' Woods said. "Ready to go. I'm excited to play. It's going to be fun, a lot of fun.''

The best part of all? It's happening right here in Tampa Bay.

Contact Tom Jones at Follow @tomwjones.