Tiger Woods on brink of breaking title drought at Tour Championship

Jo Caldwell
September 24, 2018

Woods won the 2007 Tour Championship here by eight strokes after taking a three-stroke lead into the final round. The Englishman, recently installed as the world No 1, retains a live chance of winning the FedEx Cup and associated $10m bonus even if he falls short at the Tour Championship.

With one round remaining, Woods leads by three from Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose on nine under.

The Tour Championship may have been over before the final round even started as Woods strutted onto the premises wearing a backwards hat and sleeveless shirt with his biceps popping, It felt inevitable at that point, with Woods having been a ideal 23 for 23 closing out PGA Tour events that he led by 3+ strokes through 54 holes, that he would touch off what had already been an wonderful season for him to this point.

Rose will be playing not only for the victory but also the FedExCup, which is worth $10m to the victor of the season-long PGA Tour points race.

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The end result was Woods' first win since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2013. I've got a bunch of guys behind me who have been playing well and are playing well. "Just considering where I've been, what I've had to dig through and fight through and the amount of help I've had to have to get myself to this point".

McIlroy said he relished the chance to duel Woods.

More than turning back time, every hole seemed like the one before Saturday at the Tour Championship. Other than the Valspar Championship, in which he trailed by one heading into the final round and ended up finishing tied for second behind Paul Casey by a single shot, Woods has been fighting from well behind in his other top-10 finishes.

Rose and McIlroy have five major titles between them, so Woods should not expect to be handed the title.

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The closest he was through 54 holes was four shots at The Open and at the PGA Championship, in which not even a final-round 64 was enough. A flip wedge to 12 feet and two putts later, he was back in a tie with Rose.

He added another at the third and by the time he birdied the seventh hole, his sixth birdie of the day, he'd extended that lead to five shots and was sending an unmistakable message that reached well beyond the steamy confines of East Lake. It was a sudden drop for Rahm, who took bogey from the rough on the 14th hole and then put his tee shot into the water on the par-3 15th for a double bogey and a 68. He settled for a 65, the lowest score of the day.

"In some ways, it felt like a Sunday just with the energy", Rose said after a 68. "I'm certainly more equipped than I was in March". "I got off to just an ideal start ... and the next thing you know I'm off and running".

"I didn't hit it very good overall today, didn't quite have the sharpness I had yesterday and it was pretty evident", Woods told reporters.

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