Something is very, very right again in my sports world. Sun. Dec. 4 marked the 749th day since Tiger Woods last won a tournament. Fans at the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif. saw that drought end yesterday, too.
Yes, he’s back! Well, maybe, but he certainly seemed like the Woods we’re used to, making several clutch shots down the stretch, clinching the win with a birdie put on 18. Even Zach Johnson, who lead Woods by a stroke going in to yesterday’s play, nodded in approval, as Woods celebrated his first victory in over two years. Whether or not he’s truly back to his old form remains to be seen, but didn’t it feel good seeing Woods dressed in his trademark black and red, playing meaningful golf on a Sunday once again? Didn’t feel even better that he was able come out on top?
Despite entering Sunday’s play a stroke behind, Woods grabbed an early lead as Johnson bogied both the third and fourth holes. Woods then gave that lead back with a bogie on 12, along with birdies by Johnson on 13 and 16. Then the driven, charismatic Woods returned. As Johnson parred 17, Woods sank a 15 foot birdie putt to tie. After an amazing approach shot put Woods 6 feet from the cup, Johnson missed his birdie putt and settled for par and a score of 71 for the day. Woods then drained the 6 footer for a birdie, a final round score of 69 and the win.
Woods said he didn’t know what he was thinking when his winning putt dropped. He only said he thought he was screaming something, followed it up with an emphatic punch of the air and gigantic smile.
Johnson couldn’t help but be impressed by Woods’ victory too, saying “I’m obviously disappointed because I didn’t come out on top and that was my goal. . .But there were a lot more positives than negatives this week. And Tiger birdies the last two holes. You just tip your hat.”
Johnson said he wasn’t surprised by Woods’ comeback, and said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Woods continue playing well in 2012.
“I think he’s going to have a good year,” Johnson said. “If the man is healthy, that is paramount. Because he has the most experience, and he’s the best player I’ve ever seen. He knows how to win whatever the circumstances.”
“It feels great,” Woods said, adding, “I know it’s been a while, but for some reason, it feels like it hasn’t, because coming down the stretch, I felt so comfortable.”
It was definitely comfortable to see him there too.