NASSAU (Bahamas) • Even Rickie Fowler's stunning closing round of 11-under 61, which claimed the Hero World Challenge by four shots, was not enough to switch the narrative.
Even Tiger Woods' 68, meaning three sub-70 rounds out of four, failed to be as significant as what came later on Sunday.
Woods, in the immediate aftermath of his first completed tournament in 12 months, declared his intention to play regularly next year.
He even, tantalisingly, touched upon his desire to add to a Majors haul which sits at 14.
"I don't know what my schedule's going to be but my expectations are we'll be playing next year," the 41-year-old said. "We're going to figure out what's the best way for me to build my schedule for the Major championships."
Pain-free after yet another back surgery in April, he reacted impressively from a third-round 75, mixing an eagle and six birdies with two bogeys and a double bogey.
His eight-under 280 total saw him defeat PGA champion Justin Thomas, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and US Open winner Brooks Koepka at Albany Golf Club.
But no one could match Fowler. The American birdied his first seven holes and won the elite event by four strokes thanks to a course-record, career-low round that left him at 18-under 270.
His bogey-free round included further birdies at the par-five ninth, par-five 11th, par-four 13th and par-five 15th.
"I knew I needed to get off to a quick start today to at least show Charley (Hoffman) I was there," said Fowler. "We took care of that and kept it rolling from there."
He started day four at seven under, the same number adrift of Hoffman (72), now 0-5 when trying to win a title with a 54-hole lead.
Hoffman, who started the day with a five-stroke lead, finished two clear in second ahead of Tommy Fleetwood (67) and Jordan Spieth (69).
Victory lifted Fowler from world No. 9 to world No. 7 and could provide him a platform for a breakout season next year, when he will go in search of his first Major title.
"Finally just kind of got everything to piece together," said Fowler after his first win since the Honda Classic in March.
"Hopefully this leads to something special in 2018.
"I can't put myself this far back going into last rounds, 61s don't pop up all the time.
"There are areas that can still get better to help me on the weekends to step up and make things happen."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS