Tiger Woods Wins Tour Championship
1,876 days since the world last saw Tiger Woods raise his arms in celebration on the 18th green on a Sunday. Yet, in one of the most amazing comebacks of all time, the world witnessed it again as he tapped in and raised his fists in the air. More than five years have passed since Tiger reached win No. 79 on the PGA Tour.
With a three-stroke lead heading into Sunday at the 2018 Tour Championship, Tiger played steady golf throughout, as he watched the rest of the field around him crumble. Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, the two competitors within reach of Tiger, shot a dismal +4 and +3 respectively. Tiger set the tone even before he reached the first tee when he rolled up to East Lake with his famous red shirt on a hanger in hand.
It's almost as if he knew that this day was his. Just like old times.
He started the day with three perfect shots on the par-4 first, which resulted in an opening birdie, that set the tone. From then on, his lead fluctuated between five and four shots, but the result was never in doubt. Tiger almost slipped up near the end with back-to-back bogeys on holes 15 and 16, but a huge par-save on 17 and a blistered drive on 18 sealed the deal. Justin Rose almost fell back enough to give the FedEx Cup to Tiger, but was able to reclaim the overall title with a birdie on 18. Playing his second shot on the par-5 18th into the greenside bunker, Tiger was able to chunk it back on to the green and two-putt for par to assure him his 80th PGA victory.
Winning the Tour Championship is an incredible accomplishment for anyone. The tournament is made up of the top-30 golfers from the year, so the competition is at its highest. But for Tiger, this means so much more. Since his last victory in 2013, Tiger Woods has had to deal with four different back surgeries, a DUIand a golf game that was getting to a point where people were saying he should put his clubs away forever. In 2017, there were times when he said that he wasn’t even able to walk, let alone swing a club. He was only cleared to chip and putt last fall after his fusion back surgery in April of 2017. Going into the 2018 season, Tiger was ranked 1,199th in the world. Now, he is ranked 13th.
The magic of Tiger Woods is something that will likely never be matched by anyone in any sport. In the early 2000s, he was the most dominant athlete in the world; he put the game of golf on the map. People simply wanted to watch Tiger destroy the competition. Time and time again he delivered. Since 2013, when Tiger was in and out of the sport, there have been other stars that have risen to attempt to take his place. Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson just to name a few. People thought they were ready to move on from Tiger, and that the game of golf didn’t need him back at all.
Yes, Spieth and Johnson are talented and have both won a decent amount in the last five years, but they aren’t Tiger Woods. Not even close. Whenever Tiger simply steps on to a golf course, people watch. Tournament after tournament in 2018, people tuned into see if this was the week that tiger was finally going to win again.
He drove the crowd into madness when he nearly won the Valspar Championship in March; He teased people again when he took the lead late at the British Open. Finally, he got it done this past Sunday with a gallery that looked ready to engulf him as he approached the 18th green. Social Media went into a frenzy, as he closed in on victory with countless famous athletes offering their congratulations. It was the Tour Championship’s highest TV rating since it was established in 2007. There’s just too much evidence that points to the fact that the world of golf needs Tiger.
This win puts him only two wins away from Sam Sneads record of 82 PGA Tour wins. Of course, Tiger is still four off Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major championships.
Will Tiger be able to beat these records? Will he back to his old self again now that he’s had a taste for victory?
Who knows. He keeps saying that he is just enjoying being out there playing golf again, and that he’s not as worried about the records and the accolades as he once was. No one really knows what’s next. Not even him.
The only thing we do know is that the world will be watching.
Nelson Huffaker is a Freshman who is majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.