Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event since 2013 Sunday with a two-shot victory in the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.
Here is some of what he had to say after his emotional victory:
On where this win ranks in his career:
“It’s certainly up there with obviously all the major championships I’ve won, Players, World Golf Championships. But this is under different circumstances. You know, I’ve explained throughout the year that I just didn’t know whether — when this would ever happen again. If I could somehow piece together a golf swing this year, I felt like I could do it. My hands are good enough, and I just didn’t know if I could piece together a golf swing.”
On the meaning of this victory:
“It means a lot. It really does. You know, the people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players that I’m pretty close to, they’ve really helped throughout this process and the last few years. Their support and some of those things that they said coming off that last green meant a lot to me.
On the stampede at 18
“I could hear it. I just didn’t really see much. I was kind of looking forward, and I figured that security would hold them back. When I got down to the golf ball, looked back, and I think the left half of the fairway was covered but not the right half. But the tournament wasn’t over yet. I still had a two-shot lead, but anything could still happen. I still needed to play the hole, and once I hit the ball into the bunker, I tried to miss it right of the flag. I was able to do that. And once I got the ball onto the green, then the tournament was over. When I was hitting that bunker shot, just like every weekend hacker, just whatever you do, don’t blade this thing out of bounds. Just went for a little chunk and run, and I didn’t try and play the lobber all the way back to the flag, just a little chunk and run, and the tournament was over.
On containing his emotion on No. 18
“Nothing that will compare to that win at Hoylake in that regard, losing dad and then — the circumstances are very different, okay. I’m not going to compare the two. But I was pretty emotional when Rory was tapping out, he was finishing out. I looked around, and it was — the tournament was over because I’d already put the bunker shot on the green, and I’d won 80. 80 is a big number. I’ve been sitting on 79 for about five years now, and to get 80 is a pretty damned good feeling.”
On the low and high points of his comeback:
“Probably the low point was not knowing if I’d ever be able to live pain-free again. Am I going to be able to sit, stand, walk, lay down without feeling the pain that I was in. I just didn’t want to live that way. This is how the rest of my life is going to be? It’s going to be a tough rest of my life. And so — I was beyond playing. I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t lay down without feeling the pain in my back and my leg. That was a pretty low point for a very long time.”
On where his comeback stands:
“Just to be able to compete and play again this year, that’s a hell of a comeback. As I said, some of the people that are very close to me, they’ve seen what I’ve gone through. I was alluding to some of the players have seen what I’ve gone through, and they know how hard it was just to get back to playing golf again, and forget the elite level. Just be able to play golf again and enjoy being with my kids and living that life. And then lo and behold, I’m able to do this and win a golf tournament.:
On what this win will mean for his kids?
“I think they understand a little bit of what Dad does now. I hadn’t won any tournaments in which they can remember, so I think this will be a little bit different for them. To be able to have shared what I did with them at the British Open this year, I had a chance, I had the lead. They felt it, that atmosphere. They felt it, and they know what their dad can do on a golf course now. It’s not what I used to be able to do. A lot of times they equated golf to pain because every time I did it, I would hurt, and it would cause me more pain. And so now they’re seeing a little bit of joy and seeing how much fun it is for me to be able to do this again.”