Yesterday’s historical final round of The Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club was high drama on so many levels: Tiger’s first win in 5-years (first major in 10). The perfect prelude to the much anticipated Ryders Cup. Justin Rose wins the Fedex Cup (along with the $10M that goes along with it).
But for me, the real story was one of redemption. Many experts, pundits, and weekend golfers had written Tiger off. Many had reached the point of mentioning Tiger in terms of what he ‘used to do’ on the golf course. His personal life was a wreck (think the notorious DUI mug shot). His body was beginning to fail him (knee surgeries, back fusion surgeries, etc.). For many it was all over ‘but the shouting’. For many, what took place yesterday was a figment of many folks’ imagination. But as Tiger is proned to do — he beat the odds. He kicked the odds butt. He took the odds, dipped them in oil, rolled them in cracker crumbs and… well, you get the point.
“We’d thought we’d never see it, and I don’t believe he thought he’d see it either. TOUR Championship winner. Tiger Woods a winner again. Number 80.”
More important than the symbolic putter that was awarded to Woods for his win, and more important than the $1.6M check that he walked away with; Woods walked away with closure. He set a goal for himself, and despite the numerous hurdles that he faced along the way (and there were many), he made it to the mountaintop.
To many of the children that were seen walking the course at East Lake, Woods was a legend via stories told to them by their parents; they heard the stories of miraculous comebacks, gargantuan drives off the tee, clutch putts made under the most high-pressure situations, and the theatrical fist-pumps that were a sign that he had sealed the deal. These kids however, had never actually seen this mythical character perform these herculean feats in the flesh. On September 23, 2018 they got an opportunity to see the Tiger Woods who, prior to, they had only heard about. And oh what a sight he was.
Sunday’s final round was absolutely incredible and if you attended, you knew you were going to be a part of something special. Let’s not forget, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy (who was paired with Tiger) were playing. As well as Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson, and loads of other well-known, top players. It’s just that Tiger absolutely stole the show, to the point where when he was round the 18th hole crowd chaos ensued.
“I was having a hard time not crying coming up the last hole. I was thinking I could still blade this thing out of bounds. Just suck it up and hit some shots here. Once I hit the ball on the green, then I gave Joey a high five. It was done, I could handle that from there.” -Tiger Woods
If you can tell by our cover photo, he had a crowd behind him that (in size) looked more like a mob. But it was a massive group of love. Hoards of adoring fans cheering and shouting his name. At a golf tournament. On the 18th hole. Not a Super Bowl victory or an NBA Final, just the greatest golfer the game has ever seen. And one day… maybe one day, the PGA will admit what the rest of us already know: golf needs him.
Thousands were hoping that Woods could do what looked like the impossible: win both the TOUR Championship and the FedEx Cup. But those dreams fell to pieces once Justin Rose birdied the 18. So Rose won the FedEx Cup and Tiger took the TOUR, his first major championship in nearly a decade.
Here are the final stats:
1 Tiger Woods -11
2 Billy Horschel -9
3 Dustin Johnson -7
T4 Justin Rose -6
- 54/58 Tiger Woods’ record when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR, including a 43/45 record when holding the outright lead
- 20/32 54-hole leaders who have gone on to win the TOUR Championship (most recently Tiger Woods/2018)
- 29/47 Third-round leaders/co-leaders to win on PGA TOUR in 2017-18 (most recently Tiger Woods/TOUR Championship)
• Tiger Woods wins his third TOUR Championship and 80th PGA TOUR title, second-most behind Sam Snead (82)
• Before Sunday’s victory, it had been 1,876 days since Tiger Woods last won on the PGA TOUR
• Justin Rose becomes first Englishman and fourth international player to win the FedExCup
• Tiger Woods, No. 2 in the FedExCup, becomes the fourth winner of the TOUR Championship who did not claim the FedExCup
• Bryson DeChambeau, the FedExCup leader entering this week, falls to No. 3
• Billy Horschel moves from No. 9 to No. 5 in the FedExCup with runner-up finish at East Lake
• Hideki Matsuyama’s second-round 66 was the only bogey-free round of the tournament
-KJ and Jon J.
Photo: Hakim Wright