Whether you are a golf aficionado or just a casual viewer of the sport, we all know the one name that has dominated the game for the past two decades: Tiger Woods. Major wins, PGA Tour victories, and chasing Jack Nicklaus were the headlines after almost every weekend of golf. We heard daily about how Tiger Woods was the present and the future of golf, not to mention how he became one of the most significant golfers and athletes in the world. After winning his 14th major championship in 2008 at the age of 33, many believed Woods would rewrite the golf history book, and become the best player in the sports’ history.
However, that was a decade ago, and the version of Tiger we have seen the last 10 years are much different. Two knee surgeries in 2008 sidelined him for two months and marital problems at the end of 2009 became the start of a downslope in Tiger’s career. He returned to some part of his greatness in 2012 and 2013, winning a combined 8 majors. Then, the real downfall – injuries and inconsistency put him through a four-year winless major drought. Not only that, but he missed the entire 2016 season and only participated in one in 2017, not even making the cut. Most thought that the reign of Tiger Woods was all but over.
But now, at the end of the 2018 golf season, the narrative surrounding Tiger has changed. He played, played a lot, and didn’t play half bad either. Let’s take a look at how Tiger Woods turned his career around in 2018:
Tiger played in more events in 2018 than any year since the 2012 season
Many assumed that Tiger still had that incredible talent hidden in himself, but people were not sure if his body would hold up long enough to show it. After various knee, Achilles, and back injuries over the course of his career, Woods himself seemed to be doubting his capability to get healthy. Since playing in 16 events in 2013, Tiger’s injuries made him only able to compete in 19 from 2014 through 2017 and only made the cut in 11 of those events.
Thankfully, that changed this year and Tiger played in 18 events during the 2018 season, the most since 2012. This is a great sign for Tiger, and golf itself. In order for him to get back into a groove (and back to his winning ways), Tiger must be healthy enough to play multiple times throughout the year. He achieved that in 2018, including playing in the Master, PGA Tournament, and the Open Championship.
Not only did he play, but Tiger played well in 2018
Playing the game is one thing, anyone can do that in golf. The much harder part is playing well, and playing well consistently. During his 2018 campaign, Tiger did one of those things – he played well numerous times throughout the year, ending the year with 12 top-25 finishes. He finished tied for second at the Valspar Championship in only his fourth event of the season, following that up with a 10-under and fifth place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Woods then placed fourth and sixth in the Quicken Loans National and Open Championship, respectively. He capped off the season with a second-place finish at the PGA Championship, a season-best 17-under at the BMW Championship, and a nice finish at the Tour Championship (we will discuss later).
Tiger did play well in spurts throughout the year, but what he lacked was some consistency. He started the year tying for 23rd at the Famers Insurance Open, just before not making the cut at the Genesis Open by shooting a 6-over. A 1-over at the Masters Tournament was also disappointing, and a 55th place finish with a 2-over at the Wells Fargo Championship didn’t help either. Woods also placed 31st at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, 40th at the Northern Trust, and again didn’t make the cut at U.S. Open. While Tiger did play do some positive things this year, he still has a ways to go to get back to playing the level of golf he wants to be.
Speaking of Tiger’s success, did you hear that he won the 2018 Tour Championship?
His triumphs and defeats this year all led up to this. After a four-year hiatus from winning, he was finally able to do what many believed would never happen again – win a major. In his last event of the season, Tiger won the 2018 Tour Championship. It was a glorious day that Woods’ and golf fans alike had always hoped for. Golf is as great of a game for Tiger as he is for the game itself.
Besides the win itself, hopefully, it gets Tiger on a good track for the 2019 season.
It was sad to see him come off this win and play poorly in the Ryder Cup, but you can’t blame him for being tired in the given situation. Woods will be playing in his head-to-head match play contest with Phil Mickelson, but its more for show than for sport. Either way, now that Tiger Woods has a taste for winning back in his mouth, hopefully, it pushes him to get back to doing it much more often.
Overall, Tiger Woods had an unforgettable 2018 season. He still had his struggles and injury problems, but he also did well at points and showed glimpses of his old self. Tiger winning the 2018 Tour Championship is a good sign, but he still has a lot to look work toward in 2019.