Tiger Woods has captured his first title since 2013 as he finished the Tour Championship in Atlanta atop the leader board with a two-stroke lead. Out of the woods, Tiger has given his fans perhaps the best reason to roar in five years while the champion himself struggled to hold back his emotions and tears.
Woods had never lost after having entered the final round with a lead of three strokes or more. He made it 24 out of 24 with this great win.
As the fans chanted his name on the packed final fairway, the triumphant Tiger raised his hands to announce the end of the disastrous five years of agony on and off the fields.
“I was having a hard time not crying coming up the last hole,” Woods reportedly said after sharing a moment of celebration with caddie Joe LaCava. “I’ve been sitting on 79 (wins) for five years now. To get 80 is a pretty damn good feeling.”
The 80th title places him a mere two wins shy of Sam Snead’s PGA Tour record of 82 titles. The win also laid to rest any doubts whether Golf’s biggest icon will ever be able to extend his victory count past 79, the number that was stagnant for five years.
Tiger had to deal with emotional and physical blows in this period of disappointment. Other than the social stigma of his extra-marital relations and unrest in the family, he also underwent a spinal surgery in April last year.
“My body was a wreck. I was beyond playing. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t lay down without feeling the pain in my back and leg. I didn’t know whether I would be able to live without pain again,” Woods said.
The man who wondered if he’d ever play again has emerged a champion yet again. The man who won his first tour title at the age of 20, is a champion at 42 as well. The vintage Tiger is back as a new and improved man.
The triumph of the golf’s biggest brand icon will also brighten the commercial prospects for sponsors who did not let their faith be shaken by the turbulences in Woods’ life. The big gains for those faithful brands shall follow from here on.
Already in 2018, Bridgestone’s sales of golf balls have reportedly increased by 115% over the same period a year ago. The company has attributed that to Woods. Bridgestone had already begun to market a Woods edition golf ball. Bridgestone Golf makes a full line of golf clubs, but Woods plays the brand’s golf balls and his endorsement deal covers the golf balls only. Woods replaced the ball that Nike Golf stopped making with Bridgestone.
“Winning take care of everything,” Tiger had said.
Nike Golf, which stopped making golf clubs in 2016, but still outfits Woods in apparel and shoes.
Full Swing, a company that makes a range of indoor golf simulators; Kowa, a diversified Japanese company whose pharmaceutical products include a pain medicine for which Woods does television ads that air in Japan; Upper Deck, the sports cards and collectibles company; Hero MotoCorp, the India-based motorcycle maker; Monster Energy, makers of the energy drink were the brands that stood by Woods in his troubled times.
Woods is a content partner of the PGA Tour, which means that TigerWoods.com and PGATour.com have an agreement to share content between their respective websites.
Among other brands – AT&T, Accenture, Gatorade, Buick (General Motors), Titleist, American Express, Gillette (Proctor & Gamble), General Mills, TLC Laser Eye Centers, Tag Heuer and Rolex – which Woods endorsed at least four had moved out from their deals to avoid any backlash or negativity.
Woods’ sponsorship deal with Gillette did not survive the golfer’s scandals of 2009-2010. The sponsors who cut ties with the golfer in the aftermath of his scandal-plagued year were AT&T, Accenture, Gatorade and Gillett