The victory, though, was more than just one in six dozen over an increasingly legendary career. It brought back together Woods and Washington, put further behind the injuries that have dogged Woods off and on for four years, and gave thousands of Washington fans — kept off the course Saturday because of damage from Friday night’s storms — a place where hanging out in the heat didn’t seem so bad. On Saturday, damage from Friday’s thunderstorms left organizers to stage the event without fans allowed on the course. On Sunday, 48,611 showed up to watch Woods win.
“I remember there was a time when people were saying I could never win again,” Woods said. “That was, what? Six months ago? Here we are.”
That this happened at Congressional, in Bethesda, is somehow fitting. Woods is the official host of the AT&T National. His foundation both stages it and benefits from it. When he almost single-handedly saved professional golf in the area in 2007 by merging a heavyweight sponsor with a heavyweight golf course, he also pledged to spread his foundation’s work to the District. Now, 25 District kids have received college scholarships through the foundation, and two campuses in existing Washington schools provide programs in science, math, media — a host of subjects.
Woods donates his earnings from this event — $1.17 million for the win — to his foundation. “So they’re very happy,” he said.
“This week has been phenomenal,” said Greg McLaughlin, the CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation. “D.C. is such a great sports town, and the fans were awesome. They hung in there through the high temperatures and the storm. I can’t wait to come back in 2013.”
But this was also something of a reunion. Woods’s tournament, not to mention Woods himself, hadn’t played in the Washington area since 2009, when he won this very event, then joked on the 18th green as he presented the trophy to himself. Congressional hosted the U.S. Open last year, and in order to completely redo the club’s greens and then stage that event — one of golf’s four major championships — Woods’s foundation moved the tournament to suburban Philadelphia for two years. In the meantime, Woods went through a lurid sex scandal, got divorced, and moved.