Woods won his first PGA match in five years on Sunday, coming out on top in the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. Woods shot a 1-over-par on Sunday and finished the tournament — which spanned from September 20 to 23 — with an 11-under-par score. For his win, Woods earned $1.62 million in prize money — and praise from President Donald Trump.
On Sunday afternoon, President Trump tweeted, “Tiger is playing great. Looks like a big win could happen. Very exciting! @TigerWoods”
Tiger is playing great. Looks like a big win could happen. Very exciting! @TigerWoods
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2018
For Woods, the win is notable for a couple of reasons. He has undergone four back surgeries in the past five years, so his health had become a major question; but now, ESPN has him favored to win the next Master’s (a win there would represent his first victory in a golf major since 2008).
There’s been immense reaction to his Sunday victory on social media.
My congratulations to @TigerWoods on winning the @playofffinale! I am very happy for him and extremely proud of him. Tiger has worked very hard to get to this place, and has played very well all season. @PGATOUR
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) September 23, 2018
Real talk, I can't believe how emotional that was. I didn't think I'd bawl my eyes out. People texting me left and right saying they're just sitting there crying. Tiger cried. The announcers are freaking crying. Sports are the best.
— Riggs (@RiggsBarstool) September 23, 2018
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) September 23, 2018
Tiger is really the 🐐. pic.twitter.com/mDKvetHj8s
— AAWOL (@WeAreAAWOL) September 24, 2018
Woods’ win also holds significance for Trump; the golf star refused to bash the president when pressed by reporters to make such a comment last month.
“He’s the president of the United States,” the golfer explained. “You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like [or] dislike [the] personality or the politics, but we must respect the office.”
When asked by the press to comment on the president’s immigration policy and his relationship with the NFL and NBA, Woods refused to take the bait.
“We’ve played golf together,” he said. “We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during the presidency.”
When asked for a general comment on race relations in the country, he said, “No. I just finished 72 holes and [am] really hungry.”
For these comments, Woods was attacked by the media — including “First Take” co-hosts Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith at ESPN.
Kellerman said, “It really bothers me. I’m angry with what Tiger Woods said, because it is a thoughtless statement dressed up as a thoughtful statement, and it either holds in contempt the intelligence of people who hear it, or else it’s just a stupid thing to say.”
Smith, also not happy with Woods’ comments, then added that the golfer is “not black.”
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.