Tiger Woods finally got his roar back, completing a victory at the PGA’s season-ending Tour Championship on Sunday with a one-over par 71 at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Woods, the former No. 1 golfer in the world and one-time threat to Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major wins, has been trying to regain his old form after four back surgeries and personal challenges that landed his name on the gossip pages as much as sports pages.
The victory was the 80th in Woods’ career, two wins away from Sam Sneed’s PGA record of 82, according to the PGA record book. It was Woods’ first win since capturing the Bridgestone Invitational in 2013, per Fox News.
Woods finished 11-under for the tournament, two strokes better than Billy Horschel, followed by Dustin Johnson, who was 7-under.
“It was just a grind out there,” Woods told NBC Sports moments after the victory after the crowd roared the background. “I loved every bit of it. The fight and the grind and the tough conditions. Just have to suck it up and hit shots. Loved every bit of it.”
Woods appeared emotional after the win, suggesting that he gained confidence through a full season on the tour to lead him to his winning moment.
“At the beginning of the year, that was a tall order,” Woods said to NBC Sports about finding the winning touch again this season. “As the year progressed and I proved that I could play and found a swing, and put pieces together, I knew that I could do it again.”
It did not come easy, though, for Woods, hitting consecutive bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes to make things interesting down the last two holes. Rory McIlroy, who played alongside Woods during the final round, struggled on the front nine, knocking him out of title contention early, according to Fox Sports.
Woods admitted getting choked up on No. 18 with his cushion holding up.
“It was a hard time not crying coming up the last hole,” Woods said, as Fox News wrote. “But I said, ‘Hey, you know, I can still play this thing out of bounds, so let’s suck it up and let’s hit some shots here.’ But once I got the ball on the green, then I gave [caddie] Joey [LaCava] a high-five, because it was done. I can handle that from there.”
The victory was only the second bit of good news the golfer received this month. He learned this past week that his probation for reckless driving in Palm Beach County was terminated a month earlier than the original sentence, according to Golf.
Last Oct. 27, Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving in a deal with local prosecutors that allowed him to enter a diversion program and pay fines in connection with an incident in May, 2017, when officers found him unconscious in his vehicle parked off the side of the road, Golf stated.
Woods was found to have the painkillers Vicodin and Dilaudid in his system, along with the sleeping aids Xanax and Ambien with THC, the website stated. Woods had to submit to random drug and alcohol screens and was not allowed to consume alcohol during his probation, per Golf.