Number 80 will have to wait.
Who knows how long or how soon, but for now, PGA Tour victory number 80 has eluded Tiger Woods.
It was there for the taking Sunday at Innisbrook as virtually every contender close to the 54-hole lead was stuck in neutral.
It was there for Woods but he came up one painful shot short of a playoff with winner Paul Casey.
Casey won it with a birdie burst at the 11th, 12th and 13th holes on the back nine — the gettable holes, the ones where he grabbed the paintbrush trophy by the handle and held on the last six holes.
Tiger lost it over those same holes.
Maybe Tiger’s Circadian Rhythm was off with the change to daylight savings time. What was off were his short irons.
“I had a chance to win the tournament, a couple of putts here and there and it could have been a different outcome.”
Understatement of the week.
What it actually came down to were about a half-dozen short iron shots. Woods had golden opportunities for birdies at 10, 11, and 12 and another at 14. There were no birdies to be found.
The day started well enough for The Comeback. Woods promptly birdied one and would not find another until he poured in an unlikely 44-footer at the 17th, pulling him within a shot of Casey.
That putt send the massive crowds into a frenzy. Surely some of that old Tiger Magic would show up on the 72nd hole.
Woods had to hit iron off the tee to keep it in play and left himself 185 in, all uphill, a near impossible task. He was the last person with a chance to tie Casey. Maybe 15 years ago he would have holed the final, difficult 38-foot birdie putt to tie it up and then beat Casey in a playoff. But this is a 42-year-old version of the 14-time major champion and the final birdie try came up well short and left.
“I felt very comfortable, actually,” Woods confessed. “I wasn’t sharp with the irons. It was one of those days when I couldn’t get the full club, I kept getting half clubs.”
Back in his prime, Woods once declared, “second place sucks.”
This tie for second at nine-under par didn’t.
“I keep getting a little better, a little sharper,” Woods pointed out.
If you had to do an autopsy of Woods’ performance this week the cause of loss was his play on the par fives at the Copperhead.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Woods used to devour par fives like a ravenous beast.
This week he birdied only six of the 16 fives. That bears repeating — JUST SIX OF 16.
If he birdies just half of them he wins by two and the golf world goes into a frenzy.
Instead, it’s on to a place that he has dominated — Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club.
Next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational might be the perfect place for Woods to get that elusive No. 80 and get everyone thinking that he’s a real threat to win the Masters that first week in April.
Lots of images of Tiger and Arnie. Arnie hugging Tiger after another Bay Hill win. It happened a bunch.
“A great place,” Woods said of Bay Hill.
“Orlando’s a great town, my kids were both born there.”
It’s a perfect place for Woods to be re-born as a PGA Tour winner.
Number 80 is waiting, patiently.