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Conference football championship games will be closely watched Saturday, especially with implications for the College Football Playoff.

On Sunday, NFL games involving tight races will be played. And that's not to mention fantasy owners flipping stations to see how their players are performing as their seasons wind down.

Only a die-hard golf fan would even think about turning on a meaningless 18-man tournament in December from the Bahamas, right?

Think again.

The latest Tiger Woods comeback will be must-see TV for most sports fans this weekend. Woods, who had back surgery in April, is playing in something called the Hero World Challenge. Saturday's round is set for 1:30 p.m., with Sunday's round at noon on NBC.

Those who doubted Woods would ever be a factor in the game again might be reconsidering. Woods took the lead in Friday's round for a while before settling for a 68 and is tied for fifth place heading into the weekend.

Woods is the Muhammad Ali of his generation. No one wanted to miss an Ali fight, even at the end when you knew he wasn't the same boxer who mesmerized the sport.

Approaching 42 years old and battling injury after injury the past four years, Woods hardly resembles the guy who utterly dominated his competition en route to 14 major championships between 1999 and 2008.

Yet the chance of seeing Woods, even if it's briefly, go back to his glory days is enough. It will draw fans who don't know Jordan Spieth from Justin Thomas but follow any tournament that Tiger is playing.

This latest comeback could be Woods' last. If he breaks down again — and odds are he will, if the past is any indication — chances are he will call it a great career and gear up for being the Ryder Cup captain in 2020 or 2022.

While Woods hasn't enjoyed a successful twilight to his career such as Roger Federer or Serena Williams, he continues to be the No. 1 attraction in his sport. A comeback, however brief it might be, shouldn't be ignored. 

College FB: Clemson vs. Miami (ABC, 7 p.m. Saturday): The Atlantic Coast Conference championship game really is a de facto playoff quarterfinal, with the winner advancing to the semifinals on Jan. 1. 

NFL: Eagles at Seahawks (NBC, 7:30 p.m. Sunday): Carson Wentz is making those who thought his accomplishments at North Dakota State weren't NFL worthy (the Browns) look pretty silly.

College BB: Villanova at Gonzaga (ESPN, 6 p.m. Tuesday): Every time Illini fans see Jalen Brunson do his thing for Villanova, they cringe wondering how good that would have played in Champaign. 

 

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Contact Jim Benson at jbenson@pantagraph.com.

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Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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