Tiger Woods is back — wins Tour Championship

(l-r) Larry Fitzgerald Jr., Larry Fitzgerald Sr., Tiger Woods
Photo courtesy of Larry Fitzgerald Courtesy of Larry Fitzgerald

Only two players in golf history have won 80 or more tournaments on the PGA Tour. Sam Snead won 82, most of all-time; but now Woods is back.

“I looked around and the tournament was over because I’d already put the bunker shot on the green, and I’d won 80,” said Woods. “Eighty is a big number. I’ve been sitting on 79 for about five years now, and to get 80 is a pretty good feeling.”

Woods has come a long way from personal tragedy, divorce, scandal, and four back surgeries. After five years and 1,876 days, this is one of the greatest achievements in sports history.

The great Ben Hogan came back from a serious auto accident many years ago to win again on the PGA tour. However, this is different. A year ago, after his back had been fused, Woods said he did not know what the future would be.

He worked his way back, went through chipping and pitching woes. However, for the first time, he was pain-free.

In February of this year, my son Larry Jr. and I spent some time with Woods in Jupiter, Florida at the Medalist Golf Club. Woods and Larry are Nike athletes. Woods shot 65-68-65-71 to win by two shots over Billy Horschel.

Woods finished second in the Fed-Ex Cup. He was very close to winning for the third time. Justin Rose, the new world number-one player, won the $10 million Fed-Ex Cup. He beat Woods by 41 points.

Once I saw Woods play nine holes with my own eyes, I believed he would win again. He started the year ranked 1,166th in the world. Today, after his third career Tour Championship win to beat the top 30 players on the PGA Tour, Woods is now 13th in the world. He got a check for $1,620,000.00, plus nearly $4 million for runner-up in the FED-Ex Cup playoffs.

Woods winning again is a huge boon for golf. He has won 14 Major Championships and is listed as the favorite to win the Masters in April. He’s the second-highest-paid athlete in career earnings all-time at $1.7 billion.

It’s been a remarkable year for Woods. He finished second in the PGA Championship, sixth in the British Open, second in the FED-EX Cup playoffs, and won the Tour Championship. The record crowds at the Tour Championship in Atlanta were so supportive, cheering and rooting for Woods. The TV ratings were the best in 15 years at the Tour Championship.

Somebody said nobody could move the meter like Tiger Woods. NBC course analyst Roger Maltbie said, “Woods is the meter.” This week, he leads the American team to France for battle vs. Europe for the Ryder Cup.