Thursday, September 23, 2021

Tiger Woods returns as winner again, first after a five-year drought

Tiger Woods of the US (L) celebrates with caddie Joe LaCava after the fourth round of the Tour Championship golf tournament and the FedEx Cup final at Eastlake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 23 September 2018. Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship and Justin Rose of England won the FedEx Cup. EFE

Atlanta, USA, Sep 23 (EFE).- Former world number one and 14-time major champion Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour Championship on Sunday, more than five years after his last win, the fourth and final playoff tournament of the FedEx Cup of the PGA Golf Tour, held at the East Lake Club in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

Five years, one month and two days have passed since Tiger Woods lifted his last trophy on Aug. 4, 2013. It was at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, at the TPC Southwind in Memphis (Tennessee), and seven strokes ahead of his compatriot Keegan Bradley and the Swede Henrik Stenson.

The 42-year-old Californian has finally left behind his countless physical – in April 2017 he had back surgery for the fourth time in three years – and personal problems to win again.

This brings to 107 the professional victories (80 on the PGA Tour) of one of the best players in history, who spent 683 weeks sitting on the throne of number one in the world, 281 of them consecutively.

Woods began the year 2018 as number 656 in the world and step by step climbed to 21st, the rank he occupied at the start of the Atlanta tournament, which he now has won for the third time in his career.

Tiger Woods started the fourth and final round this Sunday as leader and three strokes ahead of the current world number one, England’s Justin Rose, and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, fifth in the ranking and with whom he played the last round.

Tiger Woods of the US (R) and Justin Rose of England (L) pose with the Tour Championship trophy and the FedEx Cup after the fourth round of the Tour Championship golf tournament and the FedEx Cup final at Eastlake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 23 September 2018. Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship and Justin Rose of England won the FedEx Cup. EFE

He began the last round with a birdie to increase his advantage to four strokes. His cushion increased to five after Rose and McIlroy bogeyed on hole 5.

The Northern Irishman was the first to drop out of the fight by making a double bogey on the 7th which moved him seven over Tiger Woods.

Justin Rose shortened the distance on the 8th, but it soon returned to five strokes after he bogeyed on the 9th.

A bogey on the 10th reduced Tiger Woods’ lead to four strokes again, but this stretched again to five after Rose bogeyed on the 11th and was joined on the board by American Billy Horschel, who shortly after became Woods’ leading pursuer.

The second birdie of Woods day came on the 13th hole and served to place him again at 12 under par in the overall score and five strokes under Horschel, and six under former world number one Dustin Johnson. Justin Rose dropped to seven and began to fear for his goals: winning the FedEx Cup and remain world number one.

Two bogeys on the 15th and 16th, coupled with a Horschel birdie on the 18th, suddenly left Tiger Woods’ advantage at just two strokes and still two holes to go for the Californian.

After a par on the 17th, Woods made it to the last hole with this two-stroke margin. Another par on the 18th, after missing a birdie there, brought him the long-awaited and expected victory.

Tiger Woods finished the tournament with a total of 269 strokes (11 under par), two less than Billy Horschel and four ahead on Dustin Johnson.

Justin Rose, who was on the ropes, did win the FedEx Cup and maintained his status of world number one.
Woods will move up eight spots in the world ranking to number 13.