The Crazy Moment You Knew Tiger Woods Was Back

It’s been five years, seven different golf world-number-ones, and four Australian prime ministers since Tiger Woods last won a golf tournament.

And now he’s done it again, after returning from his fourth back surgery and a string of what you might very politely call a string of personal indiscretions to win the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.

The moment you knew he was back?

It wasn’t overnight when he led by three strokes, or when he extended the lead to five with just nine holes to play. It was as he strode alongside the fairway on the 18th hole, his victory assured, and the crowd surged alongside him like there was free money for whoever made it to the green first.

Golf is Tiger. But more importantly, Tiger is golf. Despite several young, marketable stars like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson dominating the sport in recent years, no one has that rock star status.

No one galvanises a crowd like Tiger, and no one does the cool things he does, like wearing that trademark red shirt on the final day of tournaments, which has always seemed to symbolise the blood of his soon-to-be-vanquished opponents.

Quite simply, in a sport where middle-aged blokes habitually wear pleated pants, no one has half the charisma.

Tiger Woods celebrates making a par on the 18th green to win the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Photo: Getty.

Woods is 42-years-old these days. With this win, he has secured his 80th win on the PGA Tour – just two shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82.

He stumbled a little towards the end of his round, but his two-stroke margin of victory was enough to ensure that the man who was world-number-one for a cumulative total of more than 13 years is now the biggest thing in golf again -- even if he’s not technically top-ranked again. Yet.

Tiger has been threatening big things all year. He had several top-five finishes on the PGA Tour -- and to put those in perspective, your average golf tournament has around 140 players -- and he finished second at the US PGA Championship, the last of the year’s four Major tournaments.

Major tournaments are what it’s all about for Tiger. Like the four Grand Slams in tennis, they’re the ones everyone remembers.

Tiger has won 14 Majors. He’s second behind Jack Nicklaus -- who won 18 -- on the all time list for male players. From a purely sporting perspective, the tragedy of his demise at the hands of injuries and his serial philandering was that he would never catch Jack.

The dream is alive again. And judging by the public reaction in Georgia overnight, that’s exactly what the people want.

Contact the author: asharwood@networkten.com.au

Lead image: AAP