Tiger Woods seemed like he wanted to express himself with more than his customary fist pump as his putt rolled in for birdie on the final hole at the Chevron World Challenge on Sunday to end a drought that was once inconceivable.
For the first time in 749 days and 26 tournaments and after his personal life fell apart before our eyes, Woods won on the golf course. And he did it in the old Woods fashion with a breathtaking Sunday that included two clutch putts for birdies on the final two holes to come from down one stroke to defeat Masters champion Zach Johnson by one stroke.
Woods, the one-time unchallenged world’s No. 1 golfer, kept his emotions in check as reporters tried to get him to say Sunday’s win was a relief or that it felt different than all the all the rest.
“Any different?” Woods asked. “It feels great. Kind of hard for me to elaborate beyond that. I know it’s been awhile, but for some reason, it feels like it hasn’t. As far as making the putt and the feeling afterward, I think I was screaming something. But it was just that I won the golf tournament. I pulled it off with one down, two to go.
“To go birdie-birdie is as good as it gets.”
And for the moment the win turns the page on what is wrong with Woods’s game and questions of if he will ever win again. His last win before Sunday had come during the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, 2009.
Since then Woods has seemed to endure one setback after the next with the biggest coming on Thanksgiving Day of 2009 when he crashed his car in the now infamous golf club incident that was the result of a disagreement between Woods and his now ex-wife. Stories and admissions soon came about his infidelity.
But finally there was something else to talk about Sunday as Woods seemed to set the stage for a much more positive season in 2012. Woods will begin the 2012 season next month in Abu Dhabi.
As a result of the win, his world ranking jumped from No. 52 to No. 21.
Woods was asked again Sunday if this win feels better than the rest before of how long it took between victories.
“They all feel good,” he said. “They’re not easy. People don’t realize how hard it is to win golf tournaments. I’ve gone on streaks where I’ve won golf tournaments in a row, but still … I don’t think I’ve taken it for granted. And I know because of how hard it is.”
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(Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)