Tiger Woods practices on the Ryder Cup course for the first time

Marcus Newton
September 28, 2018

The 42-year-old, 14-time major victor carded a one-over 71 at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Course to claim the 80th PGA Tour title of his glittering career.

It was a day that many thought might never happen again after Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery in April a year ago and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence the following month when he was found asleep at the wheel of his vehicle. But his struggles have dated back to the highly public unraveling of his marriage and private life almost nine years ago.

Former Masters champion Garcia was selected by Bjorn for the matchplay showdown despite a poor run which has seen him miss five straight cuts at major tournaments and slip to 28th in the world rankings.

"I just can't believe I pulled this off", an emotional Woods said in a green-side interview televised on CBS. "It's a pretty damned good feeling".

With his 43rd birthday approaching in December, Woods' supporters will argue he is back in the race to win five more Majors and overhaul Nicklaus' career tally of 18. I know they will be loud. The players who have turns at No. 1 during his absence caught the full brunt of Woods in control. Tiger Woods is a victor again, five years and 50 days since the last time he claimed a tournament trophy, in August of 2013 at Akron.

Woods very almost won the FedExCup too, but Britain's Justin Rose birdied the 18th to secure top spot and the £7.6million prize.

While many had doubted if Woods would ever be competitive again, he sent a convincing message that he is indeed back.

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"It's certainly up there with obviously all the major championships I've won, Players, World Golf Championships", Woods said, at once elated and reflective in his post-round press conference. "I can only think of Muhammad Ali, Bob Champion maybe, something like that maybe", he said. I just didn't want to live that way.

Whether the United States wins its second straight Ryder Cup won't depend on what Tiger Woods does in Paris, but what Tiger Woods did at East Lake could (and should) give them a jump start.

"You know, he won yesterday as an individual, and I know how much that means to him and how important it was, but he's flipped that page pretty quickly and is really excited to join his teammates and move forward in that process". He finished the tournament at 11 under par to take home his 80th victory, two shy of Sam Snead's record.

"These next three days are very key for us to get to know this golf course, to understand as best we can the ins and outs", Furyk said.

Woods was made to sweat however after a shaky three-over-par 73 on his final round.

With the remainder of the 30-man field struggling to make any inroads, Woods then played solid if unspectacular golf to keep a stranglehold on the lead.

He compared the event to Jack Nicklaus' US Open win at Baltusrol in 1980.

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