Tiger Woods, 42, won the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday.
In front of thrilled crowds and millions more on television Sunday afternoon, the comeback artist beat out a 30-man field.
The group of golfers he competed against included 18 of the top 20 players in the game; his win ended a five-year period in which he had no titles to his name.
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Woods parred on the last hole to shoot a 1-over-par 70; he wound up beating pro golfer Billy Horschel, 31, by two strokes, as ESPN noted.
Beaming as he was presented with a trophy after the win, Woods said, “It started hitting me that I was going to win the tournament, and I started to tear up a bit” — and that caused the crowd behind him to go wild.
“I’ve worked my way back, and I couldn’t have done it without those around me … some knew what I was struggling with, and it was really special to see them [other players] here.”
Clearly some other golf greats were watching Sunday: The legendary Jack Nicklaus tweeted this:
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
And Stephen A. Smith tweeted this:
BIGTIME Congrats to @TigerWoods. It’s not a MAJOR, but it matters a lot. A testament to a level of perseverance reserved for the great ones in this world and, clearly, he is one of them. I’m happy for him. We all should be. The sport – the sports WORLD — needs a GREAT Tiger!
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 23, 2018
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It had been exactly 1,876 days since Woods enjoyed his last victory.
He endured four back operations in recent years that left him wondering if he would play the game again.
Woods recovered from the spinal damage that caused long absences for him from the world of competitive golf; he was missing from the game almost all of 2016 and 2017.
Pro golfer Justin Rose, 38, had a final-round 73 that took him out of contention for the Tour Championship. But he birdied the last hole to grab the FedEx Cup — and a $10 million bonus, as ESPN reported.
Woods would have won his third FedEx title if Rose had not birdied that last hole.
“I didn’t know that Rosie [Justin Rose] had just won the FedEx [Tour Championship] Cup ahead of me,” said Woods, congratulating Rose — who stood next to him — and his family.
Woods triumphed Sunday as throngs of excited golf fans followed him from hole to hole. In the past, he’d had a legendary performance on the last few holes, and he dominated the course at East Lake Golf Club from the first day with a performance that was equal parts, as The New York Times put it, “magical and methodical.”
He entered the final round with a three-stroke lead over his nearest challengers, leading by at least three strokes.
This was Woods’ 80th win of his career, which is two short of Sam Snead’s career tour record, as The Times noted.
“It is a measure of how dominant Woods was before injuries corroded his game that despite all the time he missed, he moved into a tie with Dustin Johnson for the most PGA Tour victories among active players — 19 — since the start of 2008,” The Times said.
A few times this season he’d come close to a win. But “whenever he threatened, most notably at the year’s last two majors, the British Open and the PGA Championship, he could not close, a major deviation from his play in his prime.”
Last month, Woods had said he felt this season was one of the finest of his career. He noted that as 2018 began, “I didn’t know what I was going to do, I just didn’t have a clue,” The Times also noted.
And ESPN went so far as to say: “Woods is now the favorite to win next year’s Masters.”
See Woods win the championship in the video below.