As Tiger Woods trotted down the 18th fairway at East Lake Golf Club on Sunday, Sept. 23, he did not walk alone. A massive crowd of thousands of enthusiastic fans followed closely behind him, cheering him on to his eventual victory. It was a scene that will be truly iconic for years to come, as the overjoyed fans chanted “Tiger” and “USA” repeatedly. Woods needed only a bogey on the par-5 18th to secure his Tour Championship victory, and he was able to two-putt for par to win the event. While Woods posted a +1 round of 71 on Sunday, he scorched the field in the first three rounds, going -12 thru the first three days of competition. His winning score of -11 gave him a two-stroke cushion over runner-up Billy Horschel who finished at -9.
Woods’ performance this weekend showed that he has resurged once again as a contender and favorite in every golf tournament he competes in. Woods climbed to the number 13 rated player in the world and finished second behind Justin Rose in the Fedex Cup Standings for 2018.
Sunday’s win was also historic as Woods has now notched his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him only two wins shy of Sam Snead for the most in golf’s history.
Woods, 42 years old, now looks toward the 2019 golf season as one that could be truly historic. There is no doubt that Woods has the talent to steal Snead’s title in 2019 and become golf’s most decorated player. Woods is also four major championship wins away from Jack Nicklaus, and while that may seem daunting, Nicklaus won his final major at the age of 46. Woods still has time.
After a five-year stretch filled with multiple scandals, four back operations and lackluster performances on the course, the golf world questioned if Woods would ever be the electrifying and dominant player that he once was. Even Woods has admitted that he started to doubt himself and whether he would ever be able to compete at the highest level again. However, with an incredible 2018 season and victory at East Lake, is Woods back? You bet.
Woods is now playing the best golf he’s played in five years and continues to show even more improvement as each tournament passes. Woods will now look forward to representing the United States in the Ryder Cup this weekend (Sept. 28-30), an event that he watched from the sidelines in 2016 as a coach for Team USA. After that, he will look to chase history in 2019. Could a successful upcoming season establish Woods as golf’s all time great? We will have to wait and see.