Tiger Woods won his first tournament in 5 years Sunday at the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta. There are two camps forming in wake of Tiger’s 80th career victory: those that think this is the greatest career comeback an athlete has ever made and those that think it’s not a big deal because he’s still stuck on 14 majors.
Three reasons why this win is a huge deal.
It’s not a major, but it’s the next closest thing.
The Tour Championship is the final tournament in the FedEx Cup playoffs, meaning that there are only 30 players in the field, but those 30 players are not only the best in the world, they’re also the best players who are red hot. Woods didn’t just beat the PGA tours fringe guys at the RBC Canadian Open (no offense, eh?) he beat Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose while all are playing great golf. Justin Rose had enough points to hold off Tiger in the overall points race for the FedEx Cup, but Tiger made an impact shooting two 65’s on his way to a victory in convincing fashion. (Tiger also stared down Rory McIlroy on Sunday in the final pairing.)
Tiger is healthy.
In the 5 years that Tiger Woods didn’t win a golf tournament, he had 4 back surgeries. Many believed that he’d never be able to compete at a Woods-ian level for 4 straight days of golf ever again, let alone win. We saw several false starts during that time where Woods would make his highly anticipated return to tournament golf only to scratch 7 holes into play or after a rough 2nd round. Woods has been able, at 42-years old- to play a regular schedule this year AND at a high level. Which brings us to the end of this year, Woods is healthy and next week is the Ryder Cup. You want to measure Tiger’s health as opposed to where it has been? Two years ago when the USA defeated Europe in the Ryder Cup, Tiger was an assistant captain. This year as the games begin this Friday in France, Woods made the team on the merit of his play. (I can’t wait to watch Tiger play in the Ryder Cup this weekend.)
Majors schedule next year is front loaded.
The PGA tour has played around with it’s schedule a bit for next year. Traditionally the schedule for majors is: The Masters in April, US Open in June, Open Championship in July and the PGA Championship in August. May was the only month without a major championship, but The Players Championship (the unofficial 5th major) always took place over Mother’s day weekend. In 2019, the PGA Championship (golf’s last shot at glory) aka the final major will be played in May and The Players will take place in August. That means more majors earlier in 2019. Even before Tiger’s win at East Lake on Sunday, Woods had already been placed as the favorite to win the 2019 Masters.
Tiger is back and things are more fun when Tiger is back. The crowd gathered around Tiger on his walk up the 18th fairway is a perfect illustration.
This blog appears in Jeff Solari’s Sports Chowdah.
It is written by The “Unamed Source”.
This one in particular works in local sports media, but for any number of reasons, wants to stay anonymous.