TIGER Woods was moved to the brink of tears after capturing his first title since 2013 with a two-stroke triumph at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sunday that proved he was far from washed up at the age of 42.
Tossing aside five years of career-threatening injury woes, Woods reasserted his status as the best frontrunner in the history of the sport, leading throughout the final round and finishing at 11-under-par 269 at East Lake.
With the massive gallery chanting his name as they stampeded the final fairway in scenes reminiscent of British Opens of yesteryear, Woods moved within two victories of Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 PGA Tour titles.
“I was having a hard time not crying coming up the last hole. All of a sudden it started hitting me I was going to win the tournament,” he said.
“I’ve been sitting on 79 (wins) for five years now. To get 80 is a pretty damn good feeling.”
After carding 71, Woods walked off to a big kiss from girlfriend Erica Herman and a hug from agent Mark Steinberg as security tried to keep the frenzied fans at bay.
The victory capped off a season that started with questions over whether Woods, now 10 years removed from his 14th major title, would even be able to play a full schedule after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April 2017.
“My body was a wreck,” recalled Woods, who hoped the operation would alleviate debilitating back and leg pain.
“The low point was not knowing whether I would be able to live pain-free again. I was beyond playing. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t lay down without feeling the pain in my back and leg.”
That the procedure worked was evident on Sunday as Woods was never seriously challenged after starting the day with a three-shot cushion over Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.
McIlroy, playing with Woods, quickly dropped out of contention with an error-strewn driving performance that ultimately ended with a 74, leaving world No. 1 Rose as the only realistic threat.
The win preserved Woods’ perfect record of never having lost after leading by three shots or more going into the final round, a record he extended to 24-for-24.
Rose, meanwhile, received a $10 million consolation prize in the form of the FedExCup, which is awarded to the winner of the tour’s season-long points race, after a birdie at the 18th gave him a 73 for a share of fourth. – Reuters
Woods in joyous mood after his Tour Championship winRead Full Story