(CNN) – He has said it before but now he has attracted attention.
This time, Tiger Woods was at the top of the Players Championship, and the expected 80th victory on the PGA Tour seemed within reach.
The 14-time major tournament winner made eight birdies over his first 12 holes on Saturday, his best ever at TPC Sawgrass, and briefly flirted with the lead.
In the final round, he showed glimpses of the player who won this tournament in 2001 and 2013, and came within four strokes of the leader, and ultimately the winner, Webb Simpson.
But in the end, it couldn’t be.
«I played very well this weekend; unfortunately, it didn’t come out in the end, ”said Woods, who finished tied for 11th, seven shots behind Simpson.
“I would not have imagined being at this point at the beginning of the year. I feel that I have recovered my feelings and I am playing at tournament level, “he said.
“I’m not that far from winning golf tournaments,” he added.
Also finishing 11th was American Justin Thomas, who surpassed Dustin Johnson to become world number one for the first time.
Thomas is the 21st player to rank first since qualifying began in 1986, and at age 25, the fourth youngest behind Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.