Hear Him Roar! Tiger Woods wins Tour Championship, ends 5-year drought

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods of the United States celebrates making a par on the 18th green to win the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Hear Him Roar! Tiger Woods wins Tour Championship, ends 5-year drought

PGA Tour

Hear Him Roar! Tiger Woods wins Tour Championship, ends 5-year drought

Tiger Woods turned East Lake into a time capsule Sunday, winning his first PGA Tour event in more than five years with a two-shot victory in the Tour Championship.

Woods, 42, completed one of the most arduous and complicated comebacks in sports history with his 80th PGA Tour victory in Atlanta. And what may have been a competition for Woods beforehand became merely another coronation for the world’s greatest golfer of the past 25 years, if not ever.

“It was just a grind out there. I loved every minute of it,” Woods after the victory. “As the year progressed, I proved that I could play.”

Woods closed in 1-over 71 for an 11-under 269 and a two-shot victory over Billy Horschel, who closed in 4-under 66. Dustin Johnson shot 67 to finish third. Third-round contenders Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy each fell back, Rose with a closing 73 to finish T-4 and McIlroy with a 74 to end up T-7.

Playing like he did a decade or so ago, Woods led this season-ending tournament in Atlanta after 18, 36 and 54 holes. He began play Sunday paired with McIlroy and held a three-shot lead over McIlroy and Rose.

A birdie on No. 1 by WoodsΒ seemingly sent a shock wave throughout the course, and the old Tiger intimidation factor began to roar.Β Woods never really was challenged Sunday afternoon. The gallery roared at each par as Woods protected his lead.

Woods gleefully chatted with McIlroy walking off the final tee, knowing the championship was all his. Thousands followed Woods down the hill and toward the green on 18, chanting “Tiger! Tiger!” as he lined up his final putt.

“I had a hard time not crying up the last hole,” he said.

Woods was able to perfectly combine the skill and acumen of a 14-time major champion with the hustle of someone playing for his card on the Web.com Tour.

He entered the week at No. 20 in the FedEx Cup Standings and – for a few moments Sunday – the mathematicians had figured a way he could capture that $10 million season prize in addition to the coveted Tour Championship title.Β But Rose held on, making birdie on No. 18 to leave Atlanta as both the No. 1 player in the world and the 2018 FedEx Cup champion.

It had been 1,876 days since Woods won a pro event. That was the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Those were often difficult and painful days, as Woods endured four back surgeries, underwent treatment for addiction and served nearly a year’s worth of probation after a DUI arrest last Memorial Day.

Not only did Woods have to reclaim his golf swing and his physical stature, he had to reclaim his life.

“This one is going to be up there as one my better accomplishments, considering where I’ve been,” Woods said before winning Sunday.

The lingering question of “Will Tiger ever win again?” has been resolved.

Now, the bigger question of “What’s next for Tiger?” awaits.Β The quick answer is the Ryder Cup this week in Paris.Β But the larger response may not come until next April at Augusta.

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