Tiger’s Back: 13th-Ranked Woods Wins Pro Tour Championship [VIDEO]
Tiger Woods knocked the dust off Sunday at the Tour Championship for his first tournament win since 2013.
It doesn’t ever take much for the sports world to frenzy, but for golf, there’s one constant when it comes to intrigue: Tiger.
When Tiger Woods wins, golf wins. And post-Tiger golf never wins. This is what made Sunday so special at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Golf in 2018 climaxed with the greatness of a -11 showing by the Big Cat, who came out of the box swinging and arrived at the course with a sleeveless shirt. It was a statement followed immediately by an afternoon of ubiquitous control. Steady, calculated swings — followed by swift transitions to the following holes — all while keeping ahead of the field. It’s fitting that he chose to make such a statement early on, capping what was the most compelling year for the sport in years.
In the midst of the NFL’s dominance over Sundays, the sports world paused to admire a flash of dominance by the sports most popular name. Golf got the eyes of America directed again towards it, not because of Dustin Johnson or Jordan Speith, or who have you, but because of Woods. The game simply ascends the confines in which it has been placed when he is on the course. Those confines are obliterated when he does well.
That’s just what he did on Sunday. Four back surgeries and five years later, Woods is far removed from the times of consistent major wins, and he’s even farther removed from his dominant late 1990’s/early 2000’s self. That unprecedented era of dominance made an appearance on Sunday, mirroring flashes of the old Tiger when he was demonstrably taken aback by his winning par on the 18th green at the season-ending Tour Championship. Instead of his trademark demonstrations of exuberance, often accompanied by an uppercut or fist pump, raised arms and damp eyes batted in disbelief of the astounding accomplishment by the forty-two-year-old.
Woods described his pursuit of a win as something like an itch, longing to be scratched. “I’ve been sitting on 79 for about five years now,” he said. “Eighty is a big number … To get 80 is a pretty damned good feeling.” It’s remarkable to empirically consider the ground Woods made up during his comeback to the game. Just a short year ago, he was recovering from his fourth back surgery. When Woods returned to the competitive golf scene last December, he was rated 1,199th in the world. Since then, he’s made his way to 13 in the world rankings. And it was all done with one swing at a time, well-paced and considered with the calculation of a numeric master.
His comeback was an impending storm, brewing on its way back to the courses Woods has consistently dominated, only to hiatus for a few short years. It was of no surprise to his competitors, either, who adorns his performance with words of admiration. Phil Mickelson said Woods’ performance on Sunday was sure to happen at one point or another. “He’s played such good golf all year that it’s just not surprising,” Mickelson said. “You knew he was going to win soon.”