Tiger Woods was close to tears after capturing his first title since 2013 with a two-stroke triumph at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sunday.
Tossing aside five years of career-threatening injury woes, Woods reasserted his status as the best frontrunner in the history of the sport, leading throughout the final round and finishing at 11-under-par 269 at East Lake.
With the massive gallery chanting his name as they stampeded the final fairway in scenes reminiscent of British Opens of yesteryear, Woods moved within two victories of Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 PGA Tour titles.
“I was having a hard time not crying coming up the last hole,” he said.
“All of a sudden it started hitting me I was going to win the tournament.
“I’ve been sitting on 79 (wins) for five years now. To get 80 is a pretty damn good feeling.”
After carding 71, Woods walked off to a big kiss from girlfriend Erica Herman and a hug from agent Mark Steinberg as security tried to keep the frenzied fans at bay.
The victory capped off a season that started with questions over whether Woods, now 10 years removed from his 14th major title, would even be able to play a full schedule after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April 2017.
It also preserved Woods’s perfect record of never having lost after leading by three shots or more going into the final round, a record he extended to 24-for-24.
With his 43rd birthday approaching in December, Woods remains a long shot to win five more majors to overhaul the career tally of Jack Nicklaus even if the Golden Bear himself was not ruling it out.
Woods will have little time to celebrate his victory before joining the US team for the Ryder Cup against Europe starting on Friday.
He did have time, however, to remember his father and earliest mentor Earl, who died in 2006.
“Pops would be very proud of the way I went out today,” he said.
“I knew if I shot under par I would win. Just to be able to compete and play again this year, that’s a hell of a comeback.
“It’s been an unbelievable season from beginning to end. I appreciate it much more now than 20 years ago.”