Archive

ShareThis Page
Tiger Woods caps comeback with win in Tour Championship | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World Sports

Tiger Woods caps comeback with win in Tour Championship

The Associated Press
| Sunday, September 23, 2018 6:30 p.m
26484826484837b76eff866f460fb733634c56ae798a
Tiger Woods hits from the third tee during the final round of the Tour Championship on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta.

ATLANTA — Tiger Woods, in his Sunday red shirt, both arms raised in victory on the 18th green.

For so many years, the scene was familiar.

This time, it was surreal.

“I can’t believe I pulled this off,” Woods said Sunday during the trophy presentation at the Tour Championship.

And at that moment, Woods was overcome with emotion and paused.

After two back surgeries six weeks apart, he couldn’t lie down, sit or walk without pain. Golf was the least of his concerns, so much that he once said anything else he achieved would be “gravy.”

One year ago, while recovering from a fourth back surgery, he still had no idea if he could come back to the highest level of golf.

“Just to be able to compete and play again this year, that’s a hell of a comeback,” he said.

Woods delivered the perfect ending to his amazing return from back surgeries with a performance out of the past. He left the competition feeling hopeless as he built a five-shot lead early and then hung on for a 1-over-par 71 and a two-shot victory over Billy Horschel.

It was the 80th victory of his PGA Tour, two short of the career record held by Sam Snead that is now very much in play. And it was his first victory in more than five years, dating to the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational.

This felt just as big as a major, maybe better considering where Woods had been.

Several players, from Zach Johnson to Rickie Fowler to Horschel, waited to greet him. It was Johnson who unveiled red shirts at the Ryder Cup two years ago in the team room that said, “Make Tiger Great Again.”

“They knew what I was struggling with,” Woods said. “It was special to see them.”

Woods played only one PGA Tour event over two seasons because of his back. Off the golf course, he had to overcome the embarrassment of a DUI arrest in the early morning of Memorial Day in 2017 when he was found asleep at the wheel, later found to have a concoction of pain medication in his system.

He finished at 11-under 269 and won $1.62 million, along with a $3 million bonus for finishing second in the FedEx Cup.

The only disappointment — a minor one under the circumstances — was realizing as he came down the 18th that Rose had made birdie to finish in a three-way tie for fourth, which gave him the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus.

Without that birdie, Woods would have won his third FedEx Cup title after starting at No. 20 going into the Tour Championship.

“Congrats, Rosie,” Woods told him. “World No. 1, hell of a season.”

Actually, former world No. 1 for Rose. His four bogeys over the last 10 holes cost him the No. 1 ranking back to Dustin Johnson, who shot 67 and finished third.

But this wasn’t about the FedEx Cup or even the world ranking.

This is Tiger’s big day, and nothing was going to change it.

Woods had never lost when leading by three shots or more going into the final round. That was when he was regularly winning multiple times every season, compiling trophies at a rate never before seen in golf.

Was anything different having gone more than five years without winning?

Rose had said it was a bit more unknown, and “there’s a lot on it for him” as well as everyone else.

A year ago, there was no guarantee anyone would see much of Woods, much less Woods winning.

He’s back again.

The next stop for Woods is to board a plane with the rest of his U.S. teammates for France and the Ryder Cup.

After that?

There’s no telling.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.