Buckle up, break out the Sunday red and get the refreshments ready. Tiger Woods is back in major contention.
Saturday's third round at The Open at Carnoustie was like living a life from a time gone by, reuniting with a form of yourself you thought had been left in the past.
Woods, who started six shots back of overnight leaders Kevin Kisner and Zach Johnson, evoked memories of the global superstar who dominated golf for the best part of a decade, and whose mere presence was enough to force his rivals into surrender.
The old swagger was in full flow, the clubs were twirling, the irons crisp and the galleries were roaring in approval.
There was a sense reverberating all over Carnoustie that something special was happening.
Sure, the glorious conditions, light winds, the few hours of rain on Friday morning that softened the course, and the huge slice of luck at seeing an ugly tee shot skew left and flirt with, but ultimately avoid, the Barry Burn all undoubtedly helped.
Sure, Woods' five-under 66 was not exactly out of the ordinary on a gloriously exciting moving day that will have left so many of the game's big hitters feeling confident of lifting the Claret Jug.
And sure, there has been more than one false dawn since Woods finally made a full-time return to the PGA Tour this season after three years of injury and form hell.
But that doesn't mean we should not enjoy the ride, doesn't mean we should not get excited by one of the greatest of all time providing a throwback to his golden era, and doesn't mean we should not bask in the sight of Tiger putting on red for the final day of a major.
This was Woods' best score at a major in seven years, his best at an Open since he retained the Claret Jug at Hoylake in 2006, which remains the last of his victories at golf's oldest tournament.
The man himself is remaining philosophical about his hope of a fourth Open title, allowing others to dictate the narrative over his chances.
"It would be better on Sunday [to be leading], but I'm right there. I've got a chance at this, which is great," he said.
"It certainly is possible. I've shown that I've been there close enough with a chance to win this year.
"Given what happened last few years, I didn't know if that would ever happen again, but here I am with a chance coming Sunday in a major championship.
"They [the leaders] won't be too far out of reach. If they get to double digits, I'm still only five back.
"That's certainly doable with hopefully the weather that comes in [on Sunday]. If it doesn't come in and we get conditions like this, then we know we're going to have to shoot between six, seven, eight under par to have a chance."
It is a smart approach to take given the wealth of talent that resides at the top of the leaderboard, particularly the familiar presence of defending champion Jordan Spieth, whose uncanny ability to turn on the style for majors is quickly starting to resemble Woods at the peak of his powers.
But whether Saturday was the start of Woods' remarkable journey towards a 15th major, or just another glimpse at a time gone by, we should all enjoy the ride.
As Woods said: "It's going to be fun."
It sure is Tiger, it sure is.
14 de diciembre 2018
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