Tiger Woods appeared to be headed for an ugly finish to an ugly week on Sunday at the Hero World Challenge, where he went out in 40 to fall all the way to two over for the tournament. But like he showed many times during this remarkable comeback season, the 14-time major champion will always battle to the end.
Woods came home in three-under 33, making four birdies on the first six holes of his back nine before dropping one stroke on the way in at the par-3 17th. His final tally of one-over 73 was enough to avoid a dreaded last-place finish, one that belonged to playing partner Hideki Matsuyama, who finished at even for the week.
In past years, finishing 17th in an 18-man field might spell doom for the tournament host, at least in the eyes of fans and media. As for Woods himself, it certainly wouldn’t leave him optimistic heading into the 2019 season. But the new version of Woods wouldn’t allow a few poor rounds to spoil a season that saw him return to the winner’s circle and contend in the final two majors of the year.
“It was an incredible year,” Woods said. “To go from where I was at this point last year to go where I am now, I’m so blessed and so thankful to have everything turn my way and have the whole year. It was transforming as you’re watching and I was playing, and where it is now.”
Woods, who was under the weather following “The Match” with Phil Mickelson, was never really able to get anything going following his Tour Championship victory. A whirlwind stretch to end the season certainly played a role, and Woods has already claimed his 2019 schedule will be much lighter. As of now, the only event he’s committed to is the Genesis Open at Riviera in February, but his good pal Notah Begay III said Woods could surprised and show up at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. There’s also the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a place Woods has won a few times at throughout his career.