After going winless for more than two years on the golf course, Tiger Woods finally has something to celebrate. Woods won the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, California on Dec. 4 by one shot over Zach Johnson when he sank his six-foot birdie shot on the last hole. It was his first tournament win in his last 27 events. He went a total of 749 days between wins with the last one being the Australian Masters back on Nov. 15, 2009.
Woods started to struggle on the golf course two years ago when his personal life suddenly became public and was filled with turmoil. However, his three-under 69 last round was good enough to win at Sherwood with a total score of 10-under par 278. Woods said it was awesome to finally break his slump and celebrated by pumping his fist and letting out a yell.
It was a close, dramatic finish since Woods was behind by a shot with two holes remaining. He sank two essential putts to pull off the win. He was successful on a 15-footer on the 17th hole to birdie it and pulled even with Johnson and then sealed the win on the 18th hole after Johnson missed a 15-foot birdie putt. Woods said he’s been in contention just twice before this year, at the Australian Open and the Masters, and is relieved he managed to win his last major tournament of 2011. It was his 83rd career victory in a tournament that awards ranking points.
Woods’ world unraveled around him just after winning the Australian Masters when he drove his car into a fire hydrant on Thanksgiving night close to his Florida home. His clean-cut image was then shattered as stories of his extramarital affairs started to come out. His wife then divorced him and he lost four of his major sponsors. He also ended up changing caddies and swing coaches and suffered a couple of injuries. He missed two majors and didn’t make the cut in a third after that.
It appears Woods’ fortunes are now turning around that he’s healthy, but one win doesn’t mean he’s exactly out of the woods just yet. He said he felt comfortable and normal, but was definitely nervous going into the 17th hole. He has now won the 18-man field Chevron World Challenge five times. He hosts the golf tournament for his foundation and donated his winnings of $1.2 million to it. Johnson earned $650,000 for his second-place finish in the tournament and Paul Casey finished in third.
The victory also saw Woods move up 31 spots in the world ranking to number 21 from 52. His next tournament will take place at the end of January in Abu Dhabi.