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Tiger Woods season in review: Tour Championship win caps remarkable comeback

24 september 2018 01:48

Tiger Woods capped a historic 2017-18 season with a victory at the Tour Championship at East Lake on Sunday.

Fresh off four back surgeries since 2014, Woods started his latest comeback attempt at the Hero World Challenge, an event sponsored by the Tiger Woods Foundation. He finished tied for ninth there, but everyone was still watching Woods with bated breath, hoping he did not limp off the course early as he had each of the last three years.

But Woods' near-miracle season was just getting started. His next event was the Farmers Insurance Open, a return to Torrey Pines where Woods earned his last major title – the 2008 U.S. Open. He finished tied for 23rd there, showcasing a new swing.

Still, Woods just seemed happy to be competing again.

"To be able to play golf again and earn my way back to this level is something that I was hoping I would do at the beginning of the year, but I didn't know. And I've done it," Woods said at the time.

While early signs were good, Woods' comeback was still far from promising until his trip to Tampa Bay for the Valspar Championship. For the first time in five years, Woods was back in contention. He ultimately finished tied for second, but it showed he was healthy and poised enough to challenge the world's best players.

Since his five-win season in 2013, Woods was cursed with chipping woes, poor putting and snap hooks off the tee. It appeared his best days were far behind him and Jack Nicklaus' record 18 major championships were easily safe. But that may not be the case.

"The name of the game is you've got to make putts and you've got to roll it," Woods said.

Roll it Woods did at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he finished tied for fifth. Suddenly, Woods had back-to-back top-five finishes and his comeback was on.

A lull followed for Woods, who then went five straight events without a top 10. His own event, the Quicken Loans National, saved the day. Woods finished tied for fourth there, firing a final-round 66 to gain some momentum for The Open.

The majors had not been kind to Woods heading to Carnoustie for The Open, but for the first time since 2008, it appeared Woods might win a major. He held the lead on the back nine on Sunday, but a messy double-bogey on the 10th hole derailed his chances. He settled for a tied for sixth, but everyone knew Woods was back.

A month after his near miss at Carnoustie, Woods headed to Bellerive in St Louis, an unfamiliar site to many of the world's best players, for the US PGA Championship. Heavy rain left the course playing easy, and Woods was one of the players to take advantage of the conditions.

Caught in a three-man clash for the title, Woods shook off Adam Scott late in the final round, leaving Brooks Koepka as his main adversary standing in his way for a 15th major championship win. Woods shot a final-round 64, however, Koepka held on to win his third major in two years. Still, Woods' runner-up finish erased all doubt he could again win big events.

Then, on Sunday, Woods capped off his terrific comeback season with an improbable win at the Tour Championship. After a hard-fought five-under 65 in the opening round, he awoke everyone already tuned into the NFL season. He followed that with a two-under 68 and another five-under 65 to take a three-shot lead into the final round.

Pitted against Rory McIlroy and world number one Justin Rose, Woods fought off five years of demons to claim the Tour Championship and almost won the FedEx Cup in the process. It became official: Tiger Woods was back.

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