Tiger Woods is back, healthy and hungry

The year 2018 was witness to Tiger Wood's resilience and his single-minded approach to making up for the lost time. After all, life has been on a spin for Tiger since November 2009 since his personal life became public.

Tiger Woods sported a nervous smile as he stepped on to the first tee to open his campaign in the $3.5 million Hero World Challenge, a year-ending event that he hosts annually at the Albany Golf Course, Bahamas.   -  Getty Images

It all started here, precisely during this week, last year.

Battling self-doubt, Tiger Woods could feel the weight of expectations as the golf world got excited about a 1,199-ranked 42-year-old making a comeback in the company of some of the finest names in the sport.

Dressed in all black, Tiger sported a nervous smile as he stepped on to the first tee to open his campaign in the $3.5 million Hero World Challenge, a year-ending event that he hosts annually at the Albany Golf Course, Bahamas.

What unfolded over the next four days made the world take note of the seriousness of the man who had very little left to prove in terms of golfing achievements.

Tiger, golf’s most famous name, not only carded three rounds in the 60s but also temporarily led the field before eventually finishing tied ninth in an invited field of 18.

Read: Hero extends association with Tiger Woods for four more years

These four days gave Tiger the belief that he could return to competitive golf, a world he ruled for 683 weeks, including a record 281 in succession till October 2010.

The year 2018 was witness to Tiger’s resilience and his single-minded approach to making up for the lost time. After all, life has been on a spin for Tiger since November 2009 since his personal life became public.

Several women exposed him as a serial cheater. He responded by apologizing for his “infidelity” but couldn’t save his six years of marriage with Swedish, former model Elin Nordegren. 

On the golf front, Tiger’s reign as the World No. 1 for 281 straight weeks ended in October 2010. Since then, Tiger has had four back surgeries to fix a ‘pinched’ nerve, the last of which came in April 2017.

Before coming to Albany, Tiger entered only two events in 2017 and missed ‘cut’ in both.

It was in such a background that Tiger began picking up the pieces on this course. The ninth place saw him leap 531 places in world rankings — Tiger’s record single-week leap — to hold a year-ending ranking of 668!

Also read: The numbers behind Mickelson's remarkable milestone

This year, Tiger stacked up awe-inspiring numbers. In 22 starts, Tiger notched up seven top 10 finishes, runner-up in the PGA Championship before winning his first title in five years by beating an elite field in the Tour Championship.

Tiger’s triumph — 80th on the PGA Tour and first after 2013 — brought him closer to breaking Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 PGA Tour victories.

In terms of winnings, Tiger collected $5,443,841 to raise his career prize-money earning to a whopping $115,504,853.

This week, Tiger will be part of the strongest field seen in this annual, invitational field. After years, the five-time champion will be in contention for the title. And that’s what makes this event different from the preceding editions seen here. More importantly, for the sport, Tiger looks healthy and hungry.

DATESEVENTSCORESPOSITION

Ranking

Before

Ranking After
Sept. 20-23Tour Championship65-68-65-711st2113
Sept. 6-10BMW Championship62-70-66-65Tied 6th2621
Aug. 31-Sept. 3Dell Technologies Championship72-66-68-71Tied 24th2626
Aug. 23-26The Northern Trust71-71-68-70Tied 40th2626
Aug. 9-12The PGA Championship70-66-66-642nd5126
Aug. 2-5WGC-Bridgestone Invitational66-68-73-73Tied 315051
July 19-22The Open71-71-66-71Tied 6th7150
June 28-July 1Quicken Loans National70-65-68-66Tied 4th7967
June 14-17US Open78-72Missed Cut8079
May 31-Jun. 3The Memorial72-67-68-72Tied 238380
May 10-13The Players Championship72-71-65-69Tied 11th9280
May 3-6Wells Fargo Championship71-73-68-74Tied 55th9392
Apr. 5-8The Masters73-75-72-69Tied 32nd10388
Mar. 15-18Arnold Palmer Invitational68-72-69-69Tied 5th149105
Mar. 8-11Valspar Championship70-68-67-70Tied 2nd388149
Feb. 22-25Honda Classic70-71-89-7012th544389
Feb. 15-18Genesis Open72-76Missed Cut550544
Jan. 25-28Farmers Insurance Open72-71-70-73Tied 23th647539
Nov. 30-Dec. 3 2017Hero World Challenge69-68-75-69Tied 9th1199668