Woods ties for 9th as Fowler wins with 61

Tiger Woods return turns the dial for TV ratings

The 41-year-old, who last played at the Dubai Desert Classic in February, carded a four-under final round of 68 but was powerless to prevent fellow countryman Rickie Fowler from claiming a four-shot win after a stunning 61.

Many wondered how Woods would do in his first tournament in almost 10 months following spinal fusion surgery and the answer was a positive one, especially on the final day.

But it was overnight leader Charley Hoffman who suffered the most as his five-shot advantage and his hopes of victory disappeared with a round of 72.

"I showed some good signs", Woods told NBC Sports after finishing the four days at eight-under 280.

"I've got to keep fighting and that is one thing I have always done in my entire career". For whatever reason, I find myself really enjoying this comeback. I hit some really good shots out there. "When you're out for this duration of time, it's very different to be out here like this and try to post a number".

Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Spieth finished in a tie for third place on 12 under.

That contrasted sharply with Friday when he took nine shots less to finish the front nine.

If that was the highlight of Woods' return to tournament golf after a 10-month layoff, the takeaway was that he appears healthy and ready to compete with the game's elite players in the next year.

But he wound up with a bogey.

Hoffman countered two bogeys and a double-bogey with six birdies in a two-under 70 and a 14-under total of 202.

"It's ridiculous", he said.

Tournament host Woods made three birdies on the front nine and there were huge cheers when he holed a tricky putt for an eagle two at the 350-yard par-four seventh, set up by a mammoth tee shot which ended up beyond the pin.

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