Something went wrong!
Please try again later.
What a comeback! Back from the ‘Woods’, literally! The coronation could finally occur as Tiger Woods made his way to the 18th green Sunday, a remarkable scene as thousands of spectators engulfed him on his walk to victory while chanting and cheering his name as he was about to put the finishing touches on his 80th PGA Tour win.
The final round at East Lake was not easy, but it paled in comparison to the treacherous comeback Woods endured in recent years as he tried to recover from multiple back surgeries. A 1-over-par 71 was good enough to capture the Tour Championship, the season-ending tournament on the PGA Tour schedule and one that gave Woods his first victory in more than five years. He won by two shots over Billy Horschel as Justin Rose captured the season-long FedEx Cup title.
"I was pretty emotional when Rory [McIlroy] was tapping out, he was finishing out,'' Woods said. "I looked around, and the tournament was over because I'd already put the bunker shot on the green, and I'd won 80. 80 is a big number. I've been sitting on 79 for about five years now, and to get 80 is a pretty damned good feeling.''
A birdie at the first hole set the tone for Woods, who increased his lead over playing partner McIlroy and Rose to four shots at the point. In much the same manner he won numerous titles over the years, Woods played smart, methodical golf, doing all he could to limit mistakes while letting others make them.
His lead was never less than two, and it got that close only at the 16th hole, where Woods made a bogey while Horschel was already in the clubhouse.
"The game plan was to shoot under par, and I birdied the first hole right out of the gate,'' he said. "Now, play the next 17 in even par, and we're good to go. I was just grinding out there, and I was telling [caddie] Joey [LaCava], it felt like more of a grind today because of where I kept leaving myself. I had downhill putts virtually every single hole. The only three putts I made today at 1 and 4, the par putt, and 13 -- those were all uphill. It seemed like I was downhill, down grain every single hole, and I was putting very defensive and conservatively all day.''
Rose, despite a final-round 73 that dropped him out of contention for the Tour Championship, birdied the last hole to capture the FedEx Cup and a $10 million bonus. Had he not birdied the last, Woods would have won his third FedEx title. Clearly, winning the tournament was more important to Woods. It came only a few days short of a year since he told reporters, "I don't know what my future holds,'' months after spinal fusion surgery meant he was still unable to take full swings with a golf club.
After a five-year hiatus, Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to the winner's circle on Sunday at the Tour Championship. As evidenced by a quick look at social media, Woods' win set the golf world on fire, with everyone from Jack Nicklaus to Michelle Wie sending their congratulations to the 42-year-old.
Here are the best reactions from a wild Sunday at East Lake, where Woods claimed PGA Tour victory No. 80:
My congratulations to @TigerWoods on winning the @playofffinale! I am very happy for him and extremely proud of him. Tiger has worked very hard to get to this place, and has played very well all season. @PGATOUR
What a day, what a year #FedExCupChampion. Congratulations @TigerWoods #GOAT on your 80th @PGATOUR title. Thank you #Team for all the support and messages. jR
Massive congrats @JustinRose99 for winning the #FedExCup and of course @TigerWoods for winning #80 on @PGATOUR. So well deserved for both. Such a cool experience walking down the last hole with all that excitement! Onwards and upwards.
(With inputs from ESPN)