Back in the winner's circle

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Tiger Woods' remarkable comeback is complete as he grabbed No. 80 at the PGA Tour’s season-ending tournament. Steve Carroll wraps up the action

So Tiger Woods is a winner again?

It had been 1,876 days since Tiger Woods last won a PGA Tour event.

But the man who once wondered whether he’d ever lift a club in anger again has produced what many thought was impossible – claiming yet another trophy.

The Tour Championship, at East Lake in Atlanta, is Tiger’s 80th victory and will surely go down as one of his most memorable.

The scenes at the final hole certainly will, with thousands of spectators following Woods down the fairway and surrounding the green as he moved on his victory march.

It could only happen for Tiger.

And it followed a largely vintage final round performance – one that wouldn’t have looked out of place in his prime.

Tiger Woods

He suffocated the field – finding fairways and greens and playing with supreme authority – as his much-vaunted rivals all but cowered in his presence.

Rory McIlroy now knows exactly how Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els felt for about a decade and a half.

The Northern Irishman, three shots behind at the start of play, looked shell shocked once his attack at all costs approach sank like a torpedoed battleship.

Three bogeys and a double in the middle of the front nine finished his hopes – with the four-time major winner finding it impossible to hit a fairway.

Justin Rose failed to get a flier too and, as he couldn’t exert the required pressure, the real possibility of blowing the FedEx Cup – and the $10 million bonus – started to dominate his attention.

It was largely serene for Woods until a heart stopping moment when his ball narrowly cleared the water at the par 3 15th.

He handed back a shot there, along with another at the next, as the enormity of trying to end a five-year gap without a victory naturally produced a few nerves.

But as the huge crowd chanted his name, he closed out with a par for a two shot victory over Billy Horschel and lifted his arms aloft in triumph.

Golf next year had better watch out. Tiger is on the trophy prowl once more and it will be majors on his mind in 2019.

Did Tiger also win the FedEx Cup?

No. That was our man Justin Rose.

It was calculators out time throughout the back nine as Rose struggled to keep his nose in front in the race for the FedEx Cup.

Any number of players were in the hunt for the massive $10 million bonus once the Englishman started careering down the field with bogeys at the 11th, 14th and 16th holes.

Rose needed a birdie at the last to win the FedEx Cup and an eagle to hang on to his World No. 1 status.

His approach to 18 hit the top of a greenside bunker and kicked forward giving him a long putt chance for a three.

It was inches short, but he tapped in to take the huge cash prize by a tiny margin over Woods.

He greeted it with a huge smile – wouldn’t you if you’d just won a $10 million bonus? – but his reign at the top of the rankings has lasted just two weeks.

Wait… Rose won the FedEx Cup but lost his World No. 1 spot?

Yes. We explained all last week about how Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas could all displace Rose, and DJ’s 3rd-place at East Lake has lifted him back to the summit.

Best quote

Tiger Woods:

I had a hard time not crying on the last hole. I had to suck it up and hit some shots. Once I got the ball on the green, it was done. I could handle it from there.

Best moments

 

 

 

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