Newsmaker of the Year No. 2: Tiger Woods

By Jason SobelDecember 28, 2013, 2:10 pm

Let's face facts: From the moment that big golf ball in Times Square dropped at midnight to commemorate the beginning of 2013, Tiger Woods was a virtual lock to make's list of newsmakers of the year.

If he returned to glory, winning five times and regaining his standing as the world's No. 1-ranked player, he'd make the list. If he failed to win a major for a fifth straight year, his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus continuing in a holding pattern, he'd make the list.

As it turns out, both scenarios came true.

It was more best of times than worst of times for Woods this year, but his not-so-Dickensian tale continued in the form of his most Woodsian performance in nearly a half-decade.

Woods competed 19 times around the globe in 2013, winning at a 26.3 percent clip that nearly mirrors his career number. That includes victories at old stomping grounds Torrey Pines, Bay Hill, Doral and Firestone, with a second career title at the pesky Players Championship serving as his coup de grace during a campaign that netted a record 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year award.

Following his final appearance of the year, a runner-up finish at his own Northwestern Mutual World Challenge during which he was uncharacteristically caught from behind by Zach Johnson and even more uncharacteristically missed a par putt in the playoff to lose, Woods was asked to assess his results.

“Pretty damn good year,” he said matter-of-factly. “Five wins and, you know, on some pretty good venues, so very pleased with the year.”

After a down period due to injury and personal scandal that saw him drop to as low as 58th in the world, Woods supplanted Rory McIlroy as the No. 1-ranked player with his third win of the season at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his eighth career victory there, tying the all-time single-tournament PGA Tour record.

It wasn’t all glory for Woods, though. At the major championships – the four tournaments upon which he so often maintains that he measures himself – he finished T-4 (Masters), T-32 (U.S. Open), T-6 (Open Championship) and T-40 (PGA Championship), solid performances for most mere mortals, but further disappointment for one still chasing Nicklaus’ elusive mark.

While this year will be grouped in with the previous four as another failure to push closer to that record, it will be remembered more specifically as the year of the rules controversies.

In Abu Dhabi, he took an improper drop that was deemed a penalty and led to a missed cut. At the Masters, another bad drop after hitting the flagstick and seeing his ball carom into the creek guarding the 15th green led to a disputable penalty that kept him in the tournament based on a decision by the rules committee. At the Players, he drew further criticism when his tee shot on the fourth hole of the final round snapped left and some believed he gave himself a favorable drop. And at the BMW Championship, Woods maintained his ball only oscillated after moving debris from behind it, while slow-motion video evidence showed a slight movement; he was assessed a penalty prior to signing his scorecard.

There were even controversies over the controversies. Nick Faldo, working for CBS, was among those who suggested Woods should withdraw following the Masters ruling. Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee wrote in a article that Woods was “a little cavalier with the rules.”

Conversely, it was also a year during which he opened up and showed more of his personal side for the first time since a widely publicized divorce. In March, he announced that he and world-class skier Lindsey Vonn were dating. While they didn’t exactly do the talk-show circuit together, they weren’t living in total private, either. From hanging on NFL sidelines together to Woods attending her skiing events to Vonn placing a squirrel on his shoulder at the Presidents Cup in the ultimate YouTube moment, the high-profile couple hardly kept a low profile. Hey, she even called him “dorky-goofy” in a live television appearance.

That wasn’t the only sign of transparency. Following his victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, with the cameras still rolling, Woods’ four-year-old son Charlie embraced him in celebration for the first time.

“This was the first win he’s ever been at,” Woods later explained. “That’s what makes it special for both of us. He’s never seen me win a golf tournament.”

Chances are, he’ll see him win again soon. Woods will enter 2014 still in pursuit of Nicklaus, and much closer to the all-time victory record of Sam Snead, needing two wins to tie and three to claim sole possession of the mark.

The smart money says it will happen early, with Woods prepared for another successful campaign. One thing is for certain: Whether it’s another Player of the Year type of season or he falters, he’ll find his name on this list of newsmakers once again next year.

More Newsmakers in 2013:

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 3: Adam Scott

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 4: Phil Mickelson

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 5: Anchoring

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 6: Inbee Park

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 7: Rory McIlroy

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 8: Henrik Stenson

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 9: Jordan Spieth

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 10: Vijay Singh

Newsmaker of the Year: Honorable mentions

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Key stats from Woods' historic win at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:47 pm

Tiger Woods won his 80th career PGA Tour title on Sunday with a two-stroke victory at the Tour Championship. Here are the key stats from the final round at East Lake.

• 80th career PGA Tour win; first since 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

• Two wins behind Sam Snead for most in PGA Tour history

• Snead was 47 years old when he won his 80th career PGA Tour title (Woods is 42)

• 43-for-45 converting outright 54-hole leads in PGA Tour career

• 24-for-24 converting 54-hole leads of three or more shots

• First win in 1,876 days; 118 players won on PGA Tour between Woods' wins

• Third career Tour Championship victory (most all-time)

• Has won Tour Championship in three different decades (1999, 2007, 2018)

• Fifth PGA Tour event won in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s)

• Projected to move to 13th in World Ranking with victory

• Was ranked 1,199 before beginning of 2017 Hero World Challenge

• Snead won 11 times after turning 43 (Woods turns 43 in December)

• Eighth PGA Tour win in Georgia; fourth-most of any state (Fla., Calif., Ohio)

• Extended lead to four strokes with birdie on first hole of round

• Second in field in strokes gained: putting this week

• First in field in scrambling this week (17-for-24)

• Finished second in FedExCup; was making first Tour Championship start since 2013

• Led field in one-putt percentage this week (51.4%)

• Finishes season first on PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)

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Social media explodes over Tiger's 80th win

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

After a five-year hiatus, Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to the winner's circle on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

As evidenced by a quick look at social media, Woods' win set the golf world on fire, with everyone from Jack Nicklaus to Michelle Wie sending their congratulations to the 42-year-old.

Here are the best reactions from a wild Sunday at East Lake, where Woods claimed PGA Tour victory No. 80:

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Rose captures FedExCup, $10 million

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

ATLANTA – Like the “Price is Right” big wheel, $10 million spun around and around on Sunday, waiting to land on someone. It rolled past Dustin Johnson, looked like it was going to settle on Tiger Woods, and then made a final tick to rest on an ecstatic Justin Rose.

Rose won the FedExCup title on Sunday at the Tour Championship, two-putting for birdie on the par-5 18th to secure the big bonus. Woods, who won the tournament, finished second, with Bryson DeChambeau third.

Rose entered the final round as the projected winner, tied for second in the event, three shots back of Woods. However, it was a struggle from the start for the – now former – world No. 1. Rose made four bogeys and one birdie over his first 15 holes, and when he bogeyed the par-4 16th, the scenario became clear: Play the last two in 1 under or lose the cup.

Final FedExCup results and payout breakdown

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson had an outside shot at claiming the $10 million, but parred the last. He finished in solo third place, four back of Woods.

Woods, meanwhile, was in command of the tournament from the start on Sunday. He played steadily, for the most part, and no one provided a challenge. In order to win the cup, he needed to win the event – which was close to a lock all day – and Rose needed to finish in a three-way tie for fifth or worse.

So, here he was, Rose, tied for SIXTH place on the 18th hole. A birdie and he’d jump into a three-way tie for fourth – as well as into a mountain of cash.

Rose hit the par-5 18th in two and successfully two-putted to clinch the cup. He didn’t win a playoff event, but his MC-2-2-T4 results were good enough, points wise, to capture the season-long race.

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Highlights: Tiger's final round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:40 pm

Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship on Sunday by two strokes. Here are the highlights from the final round.

Woods got off to a great start with a birdie on No. 1.

He then made eight straight pars to close out the front nine in 1 under par. Woods started the back nine with a bogey at 10, but he rebounded with this birdie at No. 13.

Woods leaked some oil coming in with bogeys at 15 and 16, but this par putt on 17 gave him a crucial two-stroke lead heading to 18.

For the fourth straight day, Woods smoked his drive on 18.

A huge gallery followed Woods up the 18th hole.

Woods missed his birdie putt on 18, but it was an easy par for a two-stroke victory and win No. 80.