NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) – Rickie Fowler is not winning as much as he would like, he is still unbeaten against Tiger Woods in the last month.

According to Fowler, anyway.

Played in Florida when Woods started working to return to the competition since his fourth back surgery. Woods said it was young players like Fowler, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger who motivated him, encouraged him and sometimes helped him understand where his game was.

Fowler and Woods left the Hero World Challenge with great optimism for the new year.

Fowler recovered from a seven-shot deficit by opening with seven consecutive birdies and closing with a 61-under 61, Albany Golf Club's field record, for a four-stroke victory over Charley Hoffman that moved him to N º 7 in the world.

Woods had three rounds in the 60s, and even with consecutive bogeys, he closed with 68 on Sunday and tied for the ninth in the 18-man field. It was still his best result since a playoff loss at this holiday event in 2013 when it was held at the Sherwood Country Club in California.

"I'm excited about the way this week has gone," Woods said. "It was a very good week."

Regarding those parties in Florida?

"I did not lose," said Fowler.

Ever?

"I had 1 less than nine and he went to play nine holes with Sam," said Fowler, referring to Woods' 10-year-old daughter. "I think we both shot 65 on a day where I did not play easy, typical South Florida wind, it was never like someone gave him a game."

There were other times when they played for fun. More than who lost the bets and how much it was that Woods was playing again, and playing a lot.

"It's been great to see Tiger able to play at home again, or even here, just having fun and healthy." Fowler said. "One of the times we played 18 holes, he was going to train again and he played another nine."

As much as Woods credits Fowler and the children for taking him, maybe it was Woods who helped Fowler.

Fowler had taken off five weeks after the Presidents Cup when he played two rounds with Woods to prepare for the OHL Clbadic in Mayakoba, Mexico, the only official PGA Tour event he played in the fall part. of the schedule Fowler fired four rounds in the 60s and finished a stroke behind Patton Kizzire.

They played two or three times before Thanksgiving, and when Fowler returned to golf in the Bahamas, he had the best closing performance of his career. [19659006] "I think it made me a bit worse," Fowler said with a smile. "I was a little scared of how well I played at home, I thought I needed to start playing a bit better or something like that."

Fowler is not always known for his quick start. In three majors this year, he stumbled at the start of the round and then made a big late charge, especially in the PGA Championship, until he ran out of holes.

That was not the case in the Bahamas. [19659006] Fowler was seven strokes behind the leader, three strokes ahead of Woods, and he led before he got the turn.

He hit 12-foot birdie putts on the first two holes, hit a gap wedge up to 3 feet on par 5, made his strongest putt on the green from 15 feet on No. 4, and then poked a bunker shot at No. 5. Fowler followed with another wedge that turned one foot into the pair. 5th 6th, and left a bunker about 7 feet in the next hole.

"Try to mount her until she hits you, you know?" Fowler said. "Ride until the horse kicks you."

He made a pair at No. 8, finishing his streak. Fowler recalled starting a round with seven consecutive birdies when he was 17 at the Polo Match Play on Sea Island. He wanted a personal record, but he thought that if a birdie streak was going to end, that it would end with a pair and nothing worse.

And by then, Hoffman could not do much about it.

Hoffman closed with a 72 to finish only in the second. Tommy Fleetwood (67) and Jordan Spieth (69) tied for third place.

Scores will show that Woods finished 10 strokes back in a tie for the ninth, and although he led the green in par 4 seventh and did the eagle, and shot 31 in the first nine holes for the second day in a row, he was never in the fight.

But this was more than a score.

It was strong from beginning to end. Woods said there were no problems with his back, and that the iron 2 that quickly and violently backed off with a shot on the third hole par 5 proved it. He made just one double bogey, a big improvement over last year. And he was already looking towards 2018. He said he would take the next few weeks to find out what kind of schedule he would play.

And there would still be time for rounds at home against some of the best in the world. [19659006] "I'm sure the guys will have some denominations for those who want to play," Woods said. "They want to compete, they want to see me back, and it's really nice to have that kind of camaraderie."

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