Tiger Arrives at East Lake for the Tour Championship
ATLANTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods has surpassed most of his goals this season after missing the majority of the last two years due to injury. Adding a win at the regular-season ending Tour Championship would put an exclamation mark on his comeback.
“I want to get that W,” Woods said Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club, where he is one of 30 participants in the last of four FedExCup Playoff events for the first time since 2013.
Overcoming four back surgeries, Woods has registered six top 10 finishes in 17 starts on the PGA Tour in 2018, something few thought possible. He’s come close to recording his 80th career victory several times and would love to accomplish it this week.
“I just haven’t put it all together at the same time,” he said.
Regardless where he winds up, the year has been a huge success. At the end of 2017, Woods was No. 668 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s now 21st.
“The season itself has been amazing,” said the 42-year-old Woods, the only two-time winner of the FedExCup. “To be able to play this well and to come back from where I’ve come back and to get here has been a pretty tall order and something I’m proud of.”
Next week, he will compete for the United States in the Ryder Cup outside Paris.
On Tuesday, Woods played nine holes with American teammates Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.
Woods won the Tour Championship in 2007 and is a four-time runner-up. He captured the inaugural FedExCup crown in 2007 and again in 2009.
“In general, this is a ball striker’s course,” he said. “I mean, you’ve got to hit your golf ball well. You’ve got to drive it well, place your irons correctly. But it really does set up for a good ball striker. For most of my career, that’s basically what I’ve done.”
Woods enters No. 20 on the FedExCup points list. If he wins the Tour Championship, he has a chance to claim the title and the $10 million bonus but needs a lot of help.
For starters, DeChambeau, the current leader, would have to finish tied for 15th or lower. In addition, Justin Rose, Finau, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Keegan Bradley would all have to slip.
Next year, the playoffs will be reduced to three events and should be less complicated. Players who reach the Tour Championship will start the 72-hole tournament with stroke bonuses based on their performances and will have a much better idea where they stand.
“It’s very different, but I think it has simplified things, not only for the players but certainly the fans,” said Woods.
He starts his first round Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET with Tommy Fleetwood.
The nines at East Lake have been switched since Woods last played, but he’s up for the challenge. No one is happier to be competing.
“It’s been fun,” said Woods of the journey.