PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (CNN) – He’s said it before, but now people were sitting up and taking notice. This time, as Tiger Woods charged up the leaderboard at The Players Championship, a long overdue 80th PGA Tour victory really did look within reach.

The 14-time major champion hit eight birdies in his first 12 holes Saturday, carding his best ever score at TPC Sawgrass and briefly flirting with the lead. He maintained that form in the final round, showing flashes of the man who won The Players in 2001 and 2013, coming within four shots of leader Webb Simpson.

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But, as the clamor grew in the galleries and the golf world drew breath, it wasn’t to be.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods in action during the final round of The Players Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

“I played so well this weekend. Unfortunately, I just didn’t cash in,” said Woods, who finished tied for 11th place, seven shots behind eventual winner Simpson. “There’s no way I would have predicted I would be at this point at the beginning of the year. But now I feel like I’ve got my playing feels back and I’m playing tournament golf.”

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“I’m not that far off from winning golf tournaments,” Woods added.

Jordan Spieth, playing partner with Woods on Sunday, said, “He’ll win sometime soon enough. He’s certainly playing well enough to do so.”

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