Woods ties for 9th as Fowler wins with 61


Woods finished in a share of ninth on his return from a fourth back operation, shooting three rounds in the 60s in a Bahamas event which Rickie Fowler won by four shots with a majestic closing 61 - the lowest round of his career. "I haven't played in a very long time and I can't afford to go out there and make a bunch of bogeys and know that can make 9, 10 birdies and offset them".

"I've had some tough times through the years with my back and then finally to come out on the good side and (be) able to get back out there and play". "At that time I've already played four par-fives and nothing happened".

"Tiger is wonderful for the game, and I am like many fans who are delighted to see him playing again", Nicklaus said.

"Now I am able to sit back and enjoy it a little bit more.it's been really nice".

The troubles for Woods started early yesterday morning as he took bogeys at the first and third holes before further miscues at six and seven saw him post a four-over 40 for the front nine. "Day to day stuff was very hard for me to do", Woods said.

Fowler was in a class of his own in a scintillating exhibition, birdying the first seven holes and surging into a two-shot lead by going out in 28. I think we have to crawl before we can walk and walk before we can run. Woods hit several drives over 300 yards, nipping the long-hitting Thomas in the process. And as recently as June, Nicklaus said that if Woods should resume playing golf he still firmly believed that Woods, who turns 42 later this month, could challenge his record of 18 major championships. I also feel that his intensity is great, too.

Jordan Spieth (72) and England's Justin Rose (71) were tied for second at nine-under 207, one stroke ahead of Italy's Francesco Molinari (71).