Friday 15 November 2019

Tiger Woods claims historic victory on the PGA Tour as late charging Rory McIlroy comes up short

Tiger Woods records another significant victory on the PGA Tour
Tiger Woods records another significant victory on the PGA Tour
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Tiger Woods held his nerve to win a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title, as he held off the challenge of home favourite Hideki Matsuyama and Rory McIlroy in a dramatic final round at the ZOZO Championships in Japan.

After the tournament moved into a fifth day as bad light forced the leaders to return for a Monday finish, Woods equalled one of the iconic records in golf as he drew level with Sam Snead for the most wins on the PGA Tour.

Snead's record has stood since 1965, with the Woods revival over the last 18 months allowing him to edge closer to the great American in a list that ranks the most successful players of all-time.

After his famous win at The Masters in Augusta last April allowed him to edge to within one tournament win of Snead, he has now drawn level as his score of -19 was enough to win the first ever PGA Tour event to be held in Japan by three shots.

Woods has reached his mark of 82 wins on the PGA Tour in six fewer years than Snead, with his 15 Major titles comparing favourably to Snead's seven wins in the game's biggest events.

Snead and Woods have won nine more PGA Tour events than third-place Jack Nicklaus, with the latest win for Woods seeing his rise up the world golf rankings continue as he jumped up to sixth in the latest table.

Tiger Woods celebrates winning the tournament on the 18th green. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Tiger Woods celebrates winning the tournament on the 18th green. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

"This was big," declared Woods. "I missed some puts on the back nine and Hideki put some heat on me, but we knew what we needed to do on the 18th hole.

"To win 82 times on the PGA Tour is just crazy. Today was another one of those days when I was able to pull it out, but this was definitely stressful.

"Physically I can't do any of the things I used to do, but I have to think my way around the golf course. I can't hit it has far as I used to, but these victories are special now. I didn't know whether I would play again, so I'm happy and fortunate to do this again."

McIlroy remains in second place in the world rankings and while his final round of 67 included back-to-back birdies on the final two holes, he was never in contention to challenge Woods at the top of the leaderboard as he finished third.

Matsuyama missed some chances to get closer to Woods on the back nine, but this was a day to toast the brilliance of Woods as he added another notch to his already glistening legend.

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