Atlanta – So much has happened in the last 1876 days in this world that we know, but Tiger Woods winning wasn’t one of them. Last year at this time during the Presidents Cup he wasn’t even making full golf swings yet. The collective golf universe was just hoping for his health and perhaps a return to the sport ONE DAY. At 42, and with a fused back it certainly was a long shot that he could ever regain his winning ways, but once the 2018 season was underway and Woods returned, it appeared that this crazy and near impossible dream had a chance. Afterall, this was Tiger Woods.
The week at East Lake for the latest edition of the Tour Championship started out as any other for the 14 time major champion. He explained in the standing room only) media interview room where his game was and how he thought he could win at East Lake. The reasons seemed valid for sure, his ball striking “was evolving” as he put it, and his results were certainly trending up.
After 3 days on Bobby Jones’ boyhood stomping grounds, the “Sunday Red Shirt” held the 54 hole lead (over Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy). By the turn on Sunday, the Euro stars had fallen back and only Billy Horschel was able to pose any kind of a challenge. Rose, needing to birdie the 72nd hole to secure the season-long Fedex Cup, hit the green in two and did just that – finishing at -6 (tied for 4th after his final round 73). Just two weeks before he had taken over the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking and now he was 10 million dollars richer. After a couple of bogeys on the way in, Tiger saved par on 17 and two-putted on the last to finish off the field of 30. Woods final round 71 (11 under par total) was enough to win by two over Horschel, who shot a final round 66.
The gallery out at East Lake knew that they were witnessing history, and what a scene it was as they swarmed the final group as they walked up the 18th. Not only was it Tiger’s first victory since 2013, it was his 80th career win on the PGA Tour (trailing only Sam Snead at 82). An emotional Woods showed a side very few have seen in victory. “It’s been tough, I’ve had a not so easy last couple of years,” Woods said. “I’ve worked my way back and I couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone around me. Some of the players that I saw after on the 18th green, they know what I was struggling with and it was really special to see them there. It is just hard to believe that I’ve won the TOUR Championship.”
For Rose, who normally would have been the headliner after being crowned the season long champion, he understood that this Woods victory meant so much to so many. “Jokingly I said to him – About time. He’s looked so good this year, and I think it’s been a matter of time and I think that we’ve all been waiting for him to win and wanting him to win. I think it’s great for the sport, it’s great for the game,” Rose said. “He really truly moves the needle like no one else out here.”
Now it’s on to Paris for the Ryder Cup . . .
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