Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship on Sunday to claim his 80th career PGA Tour victory, completing a comeback from multiple back surgeries that seemed all but impossible at the start of the season.
Woods shot a 1-over-par 71 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 11-under-par, two shots ahead of Billy Horschel.
Tiger Complete Comeback with Emotional Win
The win at East Lake was Woods� first tour victory in more than five years, making this an emotional triumph for the 42-year-old legend who came into the year ranked 656th in the world.
�I was pretty emotional when Rory [McIlroy] was tapping out, he was finishing out,� Woods said after the tournament. �I looked around, and the tournament was over because I�d already put the bunker shot on the green, and I�d won [my 80th tournament]. 80 is a big number.�
While the final margin was small, Woods never seemed to be in any trouble on Sunday. He came into the final round with a three-shot lead over Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, and started to press his advantage with a birdie on the first hole. While Tiger struggled a bit on the back nine, posting bogies on the 15th and 16th holes, Horschel had already finished his round at this point, giving Woods a clear target score to beat.
�It was a grind out there,� Woods said. �I loved every bit of it. The fight and the grind and the tough conditions and just had to suck it up and hit shots, and I loved every bit of it.�
Rose and McIlroy each could have won the tournament with strong final rounds. But they shot 73 and 74 on Sunday respectively, taking them out of contention and helping Woods build a big lead early in the day.
For Woods, the long-awaited victory was a time to reflect on just how it was that he came back from the verge of competitive irrelevance to win one of the biggest golf tournaments of the year.
�I just think that with what I�ve gone through and dealt with, I�ve gotten lucky,� Woods told reporters. �I�m not playing a full contact sport. At 42 years old with a fused lower spine that�s not going to happen, but in this sport it can. I�ve been lucky to have an opportunity to have the people around me to support me and work through this process with me and I�ve ground out a chance to win golf tournaments again.�
Justin Rose Wins FedEx Cup
While it was largely overshadowed by Woods� performance and the crowds that enthusiastically followed him during the final holes of the tournament, there was another award handed out on Sunday. Justin Rose birdied the 18th hole on Sunday, putting him into a tie for fourth place.
That was enough for Rose to clinch the FedEx Cup title and a $10 million bonus. Had Rose finished any lower, Woods would have earned his third FedEx Cup despite coming into the final tournament in the No. 20 spot in the rankings.
�I was kind of waiting for a break all day, waiting for a putt to drop or something good to happen,� Rose told reporters afterwards. �So it was nice to catch that break right at the end.�