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The Greenbrier Classic Recap: A Glimpse of the Old Tiger

Len Hochberg

Hochberg covers golf for RotoWire. A veteran sports journalist, he contributes to Sports on Earth and was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years.

"Good evening. Here's what's happening: Danny Lee won the Greenbrier Classic in a four-man playoff on Sunday, and we'll have more on that in a moment. But first, our top story: Tiger Woods played his best round of golf in two years."

Yes, Woods shot a 3-under 67, his first bogey-free round since the 2013 playoffs, capping off a 7-under week, his lowest score since the 2013 playoffs, with his 273 total his best aggregate since his last victory, which came just before the 2013 playoffs in the WGC-Bridgestone.

So Woods is back? Or getting closer to being back? Or big deal, it was a weak field and he finished 32nd?

"Best I've hit it in a long, long, long time," Woods told reporters at the Old White TPC course in West Virginia. "I had full control over all clubs. ... I hit it great."

By his own estimation, on Sunday Woods had "six lip-outs for birdie, so this could have been one of those special rounds where I could have really gone low."

Just think, with six "lip-ins," Woods would've made it a five-man playoff.

Truth is, only one player in the top 12 in the world was on hand, and the course is among the shortest on the PGA Tour. So that meant Woods didn't have to hit driver as often as at other courses, and that's his most problematic club, not the putter. Truth also is, he looked better across all four rounds, and especially on Sunday, than he had in, well, two years. And no matter the club of choice, he had by far his best driving accuracy of the season, at 64 percent. See what happens when you largely eliminate those soul-crushing doubles and triples?

Woods cracked the top 200 in FedEx Cup points, moving up 11 spots to 191st. But curiously, his world ranking continued to slide, from 220th to 226th.

The Open Championship at St. Andrews, where Woods has won twice, begins in 10 days. What should we expect? It may be a lot like the Masters, another course Woods knows like the back of his hand. In April, he tied for 17th there in his best cash of the season. That was till nine strokes behind Jordan Spieth.

If you own Woods via an auction draft, you're going to start him no matter what. If you're playing DraftKings, it's a much tougher call. After this past week, in which Woods was priced at $8,600, he'll cost more for the Open. I played him at that price, and he didn't really justify it at T32. But it made the tournament more interesting for me.

Golf surely is better when Tiger Woods plays on Sunday, the higher on the leaderboard, the better.

MONDAY TAKEAWAY

Danny Lee

Ah, yes, the guy who won the tournament. Lee is the ninth first-time winner on tour this season. As we've written before, more than 40 golfers will win PGA Tour events most seasons, so there will be quite a few weeks when someone comes out of the blue. Lee showed steeliness by birdieing 17 to get into the playoff with David Hearn, Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb, then won it on the second sudden-death hole. This is Lee's third full season on tour, and he's improved markedly -- this was his ninth top-25. He's in the Open Championship, and has positioned himself to go deep into the FedEx Cup playoffs.

David Hearn

After Lee made his birdie putt on the first playoff hole, Hearn was faced with a 12-footer to keep the tournament alive. And he made it, only to send his ensuing drive way left, from which he never recovered. This tied the best finish of the Canadian's career -- he also lost in a playoff at the 2013 John Deere, won by Spieth. As a consolation, Hearn claimed one of four berths to St. Andrews, along with Lee, James Hahn and Greg Owen.

Kevin Kisner

If there was a big name in the playoff, it was Kisner, even though he hasn't won a tournament. But he fell to 0-3 in playoffs this year -- a lot of golfers would kill to lose three playoffs. He shot 64 on Sunday to ensure his sixth top-12 in his last eight starts. Kisner flew the green on the first playoff hole, the par-3 17th, and landed just behind the hole in nasty rough. It took him three attempts to get out, and he was toast.

Robert Streb

Streb was the lone winner of the four golfers in the playoff, and he was also the one to play the back nine without a putter after breaking it when he tossed it at his bag. Remarkably, he made five birdies with his wedge, including a 27-footer on 13 and a gotta-have-it eight-footer on 18. Streb was allowed a new putter for the playoff, but, like Kisner, missed the green and putting no longer really mattered. Still, it was the seventh top-10 for Streb, who has shaken off his late winter/spring funk to be on leaderboards again.

Andres Romero

Romero is only 166th in points, so perhaps not owned in your league. He tied for sixth, missing the playoff by two strokes. After doing almost zero by well into June, Romero has tied for 14th at the U.S. Open and had this strong finish at Greenbrier, sandwiching a missed cut at the Travelers. And to think, he made the Open only with an improbable eagle from the fairway on his final hole in sectional qualifying. That shot looks like it has turned Romero's season around.

Chad Collins

It was painful to watch Collins down the stretch Sunday. Tied for the lead at 13-under, he bogeyed 17. Needing a birdie on 18, he bogeyed again, not only brutally costing himself a chance to win the tournament, but costing himself one of the four berths to the Open. Still, it was his best showing of the season. But when you were thisclose, to winning for the first time in 123 career events on tour, it's hard to taken any positives in the immediate aftermath. He may not be in such a position again for a while.

Brendan Todd

On the other hand, Todd had the same score as Collins but feels so much better after his fourth top-10 and ninth top-25. He hasn't won, like he did last year, but he's starting to put together a nice little career. At 46th in points, Todd has a shot to sneak into the Tour Championship.

Jason Bohn

Bohn shot a career-best 61 on Saturday to join a four-way share of the overnight lead. But as so often happens, it's hard to follow up such a round, and Bohn dropped 10 shots to 71, leaving him tied for 13th. Bohn has two career wins, in 2005 and 2010, so appeared to be due in 2015. Even without the win, the veteran is putting together his best season, at 37th in points. He's not a star, but he's a nice complement player in your lineup.

Webb Simpson

Having finished in the top-25 in the FedEx the past four years, Simpson's disappointing season continues. He's 40th in points after missing the cut at one of his top tracks, where he has three career top-10s. Simpson has not played well for some time, going back to last year when he was a curious Ryder Cup captain's pick. The playoffs are such that you need only one really good week to get to the Tour Championship, but Simpson is not showing he has that in him right now.