How Tiger Woods Won His First Title in 5 Years


Tiger Woods said he was beyond playing golf amid his debilitating back issues after the former world number one broke a five-year wait for victory at the Tour Championship.

Woods led throughout the final round and finished at 11-under-par 269 at East Lake, where he carded a closing 71 for his 80th PGA Tour victory. Justin Rose of Great Britain, on the strength of a 18th hole birdie, won the FedEx Cup playoffs, making him the season-long champion of the PGA Tour.

"I never dreamed Tiger Woods would come back and swing the way he has after surgery".

Woods recovered from the spinal damage that caused long absences for him from the world of competitive golf; he was missing from the game nearly all of 2016 and 2017.

Still, a 5-under-par 65 to forge a three-stroke advantage after being tied for the 36-hole lead at East Lake produced some vintage stuff, as Woods birdied six of his first seven holes. "I knew there would be an unsettling vibe if I left myself 4 feet there, so it was really important to get a good lag putt up there and make the job as easy as possible".

March 2, 2014: Back pain forces Woods' withdrawal from The Honda Classic with just five holes remaining in final round.

ATLANTA _ It's a comeback not even Tiger Woods saw coming a year ago including a chaotic celebration that golf hasn't seen even in the best of times.

He will head to France this week for the Ryder Cup back somewhere near the peak of his powers, and with Sam Snead's record of 82 US Tour victories in his immediate sights.

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The win comes days before the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Woods, who returned in January after missing nearly the entire previous two years with a debilitating back injury, held a three-shot advantage heading into the final round. "I just didn't want to get run over", Woods joked afterwards.

His season-ending Tour Championship victory sent social media into frenzy, much like it had the raucous crowd around the 18th green.

Woods' 2018 season was nearly inconceivable previous year. But by the end of the tournament, Woods' odds had been trimmed to 9-1, ahead of Spieth's, at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

"I guess it's different now because the art of clapping is gone, right?"

Woods opened with a birdie, while Rory McIlroy made bogey from the bunker on the fourth hole.

"The up and down at 17 was huge", added Woods, who was flying to Paris later Sunday with the U.S. team for week's Ryder Cup.

Tiger Woods seized the headlines and ended five years of frustration Sunday by winning the Tour Championship by two strokes over Billy Horschel. In order to win the cup, he needed to win the event - which was close to a lock all day - and Rose needed to finish in a three-way tie for fifth or worse.