Tiger-mania grips Innisbrook resort for the Valspar Championship

It is 7:45 a.m. on a workday. The setting is the normally serene Copperhead Golf Course.

The sun just begins to peek through the pines when the crowd begins to gather, trying to stay warm.

There's no need to consult the program to identify the player they came to see and no need for a clock to tell what time it is; it's Tiger time in Tampa Bay.

It is fitting that at the Copperhead Golf course, the crowd following Tiger Woods moves serpent-like.

The usual quiet of the morning is punctuated with variations on the Tiger moniker.

"This is the most exciting thing that has happened at Innisbrook since 1996," says Bonnie Neiman. "[That's] the last time Tiger was here. And I saw him then too. It's very exciting for everybody to have Tiger Woods."

Bob Harvard lives in Largo. He too is excited to see Tiger in the field of the Valspar Championship, a tourney he regularly attends.

"This is awesome," Harvard says. "We usually come every year, but this year with the field it's going to be really cool. Especially with what [Tiger] has been through, to see him playing [well] again is really good for golf."

As the day warmed so too did Tiger Wood's game. He played well enough to briefly take the tournament lead.

"Today was a good day," Tiger says of the round in which he shot a 68 to put himself at four under par going into the final two rounds. "I felt very comfortable out there. This is a very difficult golf course, the margin for error is very small. I enjoy that aspect where par is a reward."

As Tiger moved up the leaderboard, the crowd moved right along with him.

Finally, the man everyone came to see, Tiger Woods disappeared into the crowd. A crowd that will no doubt grow larger still this weekend.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Tiger-mania grips Innisbrook resort for the Valspar Championship
  • Stand or stay out of sight: NFL takes on anthem protesters
  • Betts powers Red Sox past Rays 4-2
  • USF, Florida agree to 3-game series played over 4 seasons
  • Lightning look to eliminate Capitals in Game 6
  • Justify takes win at Preakness, has eyes on Triple Crown run at Belmont
  • Hazard wins FA Cup for Chelsea with victory over Manchester United
  • Former 5-star QB Barnett transfers to USF after 'Bama, ASU
  • C.J. Cron homers vs. former teammates, Rays rout Angels 7-1
  • Capitals pull away, beat Lightning 6-2 for 2-0 series lead