More than anything else, 2018 was the year Tiger Woods reasserted himself as a force in the game of golf. We look back on his triumphant return.
1 / 20
The first time we thought he was going to do it. Woods poured in a 44-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th and walked to the 18th tee at Innisbrook one behind leader Paul Casey with one to play. It didn't end in victory, but it did produce one of the best Tiger roars in a number of years.
2 / 20
Needing birdie to force a playoff with Casey, Woods hit iron off the 18th tee at Innisbrook, leaving himself a lengthy second shot. It was a curious choice for a player who needed birdie, and Woods' uphill approach to the final green came up well short of the pin. He settled for a par and second place. At the end of the year, Woods conceded that victory here would have come "too soon."
3 / 20
And you may find yourself suddenly in charge of your own team. And you may tell yourself, these aren't my beautiful players. This isn't my beautiful trophy. How did I get here? Well, when Woods wasn't sure what was still left for him as a competitor, he started considering a captaincy. He was officially announced as the leader of the 2019 U.S. Presidents Cup team in March and now figures to be just second playing captain in the event's history.
4 / 20
The second time we thought he was going to do it. The guy was marching around Bay Hill the way he seemingly always marches around Bay Hill. The scene as Woods stalked his way through the back nine on Sunday, as fans lined his paths from greens to tees, as win No. 80 once again looked in reach, was exhilarating.
5 / 20
One off the lead through 15 holes, but with the leaders well behind him on the course, Woods knew he needed at least a birdie on the par-5 16th to keep pace. Standing on the 16th tee with the leaders in sight and the roars of the crowd still ringing in his ears, Tiger Woods contemplated three different options for his most critical tee shot of the week. He couldn’t decide on any of them, and as a result deposited his chances of winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational into a backyard left of the fairway. “I was caught,” Woods said. “I couldn’t decide what I was going to do. ... I bailed out and hit a bad shot. And that’s on me for not committing.”
6 / 20
Oh, man. We were so young and innocent. We had no idea this was just the precursor to a refund of $19.99. Marketing opportunism aside, it was great to see Tiger and Phil stroll around Augusta National for a practice round. Sure, once we realized there was an end game, the moment became a little less special. But if this is the beginning of a new, warmer, elder-statesmen chapter for Woods and Mickelson, we'll take it. Best friends forever!
7 / 20
8 / 20
Tiger Woods hopes of capturing his 15th major victory and fourth U.S. Open title came to an end in about 20 minutes. After striping his opening tee shot down the middle, Woods made a triple bogey at the first. He four putted the 13th on his way to back-to-back double bogeys. He shot 8-over-par 78.
9 / 20
Tiger Woods arrived at TPC Potomac with a new putter, a mallet-style TaylorMade Ardmore 3 he'd use for the next two months. The switch led to a tie for fourth that left him 10 shots behind the winner, Francesco Molinari, who was quickly headed for bigger and better things.
10 / 20
The third time we thought he has going to do it. Like, really do it. For much of the afternoon, it seemed like the Molinari-Woods pairing would produce an improbable champion - just not Molinari. Woods was in control of his game at the halfway point, with a one-shot lead at the turn, within reach of a 15th major. Look at that fist pump.
11 / 20
The recoil. Oh my god, the recoil. Woods was tied for the lead at Carnoustie, in the fairway bunker at the 10th, 151 yards from the flag. He had to carry the steep lip and a burn short of the green. “I thought that this is the tournament,” Woods said later in the year at the Hero World Challenge. “I win the Open Championship, or I lose the Open Championship on this shot. If it clips the bunker, I lose. If it comes out, I’m going to go ahead and win this thing.” Woods hammered a pitching wedge and recoiled during his follow-through. It not only cleared the lip and the burn, but his shot plopped onto the front edge of the green, 20 feet away for birdie. Woods was unable to convert the birdie putt, then played his next two holes in 3 over par to tumble out of the lead, ultimately finishing in a tie for sixth.
12 / 20
One hole later, he drove into thick fescue on 11, then rocketed his second shot into the crowd, the ball ricocheting off a fan’s shoulder, and then another’s iPhone, and settling in more hay. He was too cute with his flop shot, leaving it short of the green, and then missed an 8-footer for bogey. He followed it up on 12 with another misadventure in the rough, leading to a momentum-killing bogey. He’d never again pull closer than two shots.
13 / 20
The fourth time we thought he was going to do it and the second time at a 2018 major. Surrounded by thousands of his closest friends, Woods made birdie from left of the ninth fairway and sent Bellerive into a frenzy as he made the turn in 3-under 32.
14 / 20
It wasn't enough. Neither Woods nor anyone else was going to catch Brooks Koepka on Sunday. But Woods' closing birdie popped the crowd and it popped Woods himself. He let out multiple fist pumps as he closed out a final-round 64. He soaked in the adulation, walked across a bridge, waving to the fans below, and then waited in the scoring area to congratulate Koepka. It wasn't a win. But it was fun.
15 / 20
Another new putter! But it was brief experiment. After a poor putting week at The Northern Trust, Tiger Woods arrived at TPC Boston with his second TaylorMade putter of the summer, a TP Black Copper Juno. The move left fans and analysts wondering, "If he's going back to a blade, why not just use the Scotty?" Indeed.
16 / 20
A week later at the BMW Championship, Woods' Scotty Cameron Newport 2 came back for good. If we won 13 majors with one putter, we'd probably stick with that one. But what do we know?
17 / 20
Woods' career is a collage of iconic moments, and this one occupies a high spot on the list. The Tour Championship looked like an old-school Open Championship as thousands collapsed on Woods and almost literally pushed him to victory on 18. It was the scene only Woods could create, and it was a long time coming.
18 / 20
For the first time in five years, after Woods and the rest of the golf world thought he would never play golf again, he did it. Victory No. 80. Tiger raised his arms in the air and Tiger Tracker changed his profile picture. Only two more to Snead.
19 / 20
One down with two to play, Woods knotted The Match with Phil Mickelson when he chipped in from off the green at 17. It was perhaps the lone highlight of the afternoon.
20 / 20
Not exactly a top moment for Tiger, but after months of planning and preparation, Woods and Mickelson pulled off "The Match" - sort of.
Images from the European players and their wives and girlfriends at the 43rd Ryder Cup gala.
Image of Bryson DeChambeau and how his body has transformed, through the years, from an NCAA champion to becoming a multiple PGA Tour winner.
Here's a look at some of the best photos of the Match II with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady from Medalist Golf Club.