Tiger Woods wins Tour Championship

Tears as Tiger snaps 1876-day drought

FOR the first time in 1876 days, Tiger Woods has tasted a tour victory.

The 42-year-old had gone more than five years in between victories before his historic win at the PGA Championship on Monday (AEST).

That barely begins to tell the story of his journey to hell and back.

Right now, with that sweet taste of victory in his mouth, none of that will seem to matter.

He's a winner once again.

Despite his early five-stroke lead, Woods still left fans with a nail-biting finish, carrying a two-stroke lead walking to the 18th hole.

He went on to par the 18th, to finish 11-under - and claim the tour-ending event ahead of American runner-up Billy Horschel.

He was just one stroke away from also claiming the FedEx Cup Playoff - and the $US10 million payday that comes with it - but World No. 1 Justin Rose sank his final putt to finish tied for fourth at six-under. His final round of three was just one stroke away from handing Woods the biggest payday in golf.

The fans were emotional, the commentators were emotional - even Woods was emotional, but the tears took a while to come.

"I was having a hard time not crying coming up the last hole," Woods said.

"I kept saying, 'Hey, I could still play this out of bounds.' But once I got the ball on the green I gave (caddie) Joey (LaCava) a high five because I knew it was done."

You couldn't blame him. It was sheer madness in Atlanta as he walked up the 18th fairway.

Woods did eventually crack.

During the trophy presentation on live TV, Woods choked up and needed a moment to compose himself when asked about his comeback.

"I can't believe I've pulled this off after ..." he said before his face screwed up in emotion and he tried to hide his face.

After taking a moment to compose himself, Woods said: "It's been tough."

It's what will make this victory taste so sweet.

The 14-time major champion's win at East Lake Golf Club chalks up his 80th career win.

The victory also has golf's highest-profile player on the verge of a top 10 ranking. Projections have Woods climbing as high as No. 13 in the world - less than 12 months since he returned to golf in December as the No. 1199 ranked golfer in the world.

The immensity of his comeback has left commentators stunned.

American sportscaster Jim Nantz declared Woods' win "the most improbable comeback in sports history".

Woods has gone from not knowing if he would ever return to golf to a champion once again.

He started out with a three-shot lead heading into his final round and it took only four holes for him to stretch the lead to five over Rose. The gallery at East Lake was enormous in anticipation of Woods winning for the first time in more than five years.

He didn't disappoint - going on to claim one of his most memorable victories and his first trophy after his four back surgeries.

Woods spent 10 months on the sidelines last year while recovering from spinal fusion surgery and only started to make full golf swings in mid October.

He returned to the US PGA Tour in January and although he has racked up two runner-up results among six top 10s and 11 top 25s this season, Woods was still searching for his first worldwide win since August 2013. He's not searching any more.

Woods had a five-shot lead after six holes of the final round, and there is no other player that generates interest in the sport, especially after the back surgeries he has overcome. Crowds were huge. TV ratings were at 15-year highs.

Woods gave his supporters a nervous wait as he crashed from 13-under back to 11-under on the back nine - carrying just a two-stroke lead over Horschel with three holes to play.

It was never truly in doubt.

Tiger's back.

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