One needed only to see the massive gallery swarming to the 18th green, or hear its roar when Tiger Woods’s final putt dropped, to know that his triumph Sunday at the Tour Championship went over extremely well among golf fans. As it happened, his victory was also cheered by other professional golfers, including several PGA Tour players.
One of those was Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who also plays on the European Tour and posted an image from the Sky Sports telecast with a simple, yet telling, caption: “The king is back.”
Lowry was referring, of course, to Woods’s long journey back to the top of the golf world. The victory at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club was Woods’s first since 2013, and the intervening period featured the 14-time major winner struggling with back woes and personal issues to the point where some wondered if he would ever play competitively again.
However, a fourth surgery on his back seems to have done wonders for Woods, who played his first full season since 2013 and posted top-six finishes at the British Open and the PGA Championship before capping the campaign with his first win at the final Tour event.
Justin Rose, who finished tied for fourth at the Tour Championship but, more significantly, won the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize, congratulated Woods on social media, saying, “What a day, what a year.” Woods had offered high praise for the British golfer just after winning the tournament, calling him “the best player in the world.”
Another British golfer, Tommy Fleetwood, tweeted, “We’ve just witnessed the greatest comeback of all time! What a time to be alive!!!”
Finishing second in the tournament Sunday was Billy Horschel, who was playing three groups ahead of Woods and thus had quite the vantage point to witness the scene unfolding at East Lake. “It was awesome to see Tiger back in the winner circle. I’ve never seen anything like the 18th hole. Was pretty insane,” he tweeted.
“Congrats my man on overcoming so much to get back to the top of that mountain!” Horschel continued. “Golf is in an awesome awesome place right now!”
Rory McIlroy, who had the experience of being paired with Woods Sunday, echoed Horschel’s assessment of the unusually fervent atmosphere. “Such a cool experience walking down the last hole with all that excitement! Onwards and upwards,” said McIlroy, who finished tied for seventh.
“Felt like a kid again watching Tiger pull off one of the greatest comebacks in golf history,” Smylie Kaufman tweeted. “Will never forget this win.”
Also watching from afar — “watching from a bar” would apparently also be accurate — was Colt Knost, who said, “Pretty damn cool when the whole bar starts cheering when Tiger Woods wins!” Knost added a goat emoji to salute Woods as the “greatest of all time.”
Woods “has been back for a while. He just likes being dramatic!!” Brandt Snedeker said. “Awesome to watch that walk up 18. And thank you Tiger. My family thanks you. Every PGA Tour player thanks you.”
“Tiger Tiger Woods y’all!” exclaimed William McGirt. “Congrats bud!
Tyrell Hatton, who plays on the European Tour, was among the many who marveled at the sight of the final hole, which was thronged with fans. “The scenes on 18 show how special it is that Tiger is back in the winners circle!!!” he tweeted. “What a moment! What a comeback!”
Hatton also saw fit to express his delight over Wood’s victory with a GIF from the movie “The Waterboy,” which will be presented here without comment.
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