It’s hard to put into words exactly what we witnessed from Tiger Woods this season. For those who don’t entirely comprehend, this has been absurd.
Woods considered himself lucky to play in December of 2017 at the Hero World Challenge after undergoing a spinal fusion. Then in January of 2018 he made his first cut since the 2015 Wyndham Championship and then played in back-to-back weeks for the first time in a while in February.
In March, Woods played a meaningful Sunday round when he finished tied for second at the Valspar Championship. He followed that up with a tie for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and it was at this point that many finally understood that Woods can still play this game.
While the 14-time major champion failed to finish inside the top 30 at the Masters, he did put on a show at The Players with a third round 65 to finish tied for 11th, but a missed cut at the U.S. Open didn’t sit well with many. However, over his next four tournaments, two of which were majors, he finished tied for fourth, tied for sixth, and solo second.
That tie for sixth at the Open Championship and solo second finish at the PGA Championship proved that Tiger Woods is definitely back and still more than capable of competing in major championships.
However, there are many who need a win to be convinced and at the final tournament of the 2017-2018 season, Tiger Woods gave them that.
Woods entered the final round of the Tour Championship with a three-stroke lead, and in his career he is 23 for 23 with a three stroke lead after 54 holes. He eventually extended that lead to five and then made fans sweat as he gave up strokes down the stretch on the back nine to decrease the lead to two with only two holes left.
On the 72nd hole, Woods smoked his drive down the fairway …
… and that was all she wrote.
The crowd that followed Tiger up the 18th was insane. It is something we haven’t witnessed in what feels like years.
After he made the putt to win, Tiger threw his arms up in what can only be a combination of celebration and relief.
Woods carded rounds of 65, 68, and 65 before settling into cruise control on Sunday with a round of 71.
He now has 80 wins, and is second only to Sam Snead.
While there are some who lament the way that Woods has taken the lead on a Saturday and turned Sunday into a formality over the course of his career, this win was different because of everything that has lead up to it over the last five years.
For a little more perspective I present the graphic below that shows where Woods was ranked in the official world rankings in November of 2017.
In under a year, Woods has clawed his way from outside of the top 1,000 golfers in the world to 21st and just improved on that number to move to 13th with his Tour Championship win.
It’s good to have Tiger back in the win column and also, to all who said Tiger would never be any good again, where are you? How about those who said he would never win again or compete in a major? I am pretty sure he’s done both of those things this season.
I told all of you he wasn’t done with this game.