Tiger Woods proved there is plenty of life left in him as a top-level golfer when equalling the record number of PGA TOUR wins when his Zozo Championship success tied Sam Snead as the most successful in history.
Woods was winning for the 82nd time on the PGA TOUR as he celebrated victory in the inaugural Zozo Championship, a brand new tournament featuring a field of 78 PGA TOUR players at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba.
It took the 15-time major winner level at the top of the all-time PGA TOUR wins list as he joined Snead as the most successful players in the history of the TOUR—his win also bringing up victory in seventh different country.
Woods, who signalled his return from four years of injury hell by winning the TOUR Championship late last year before bringing up his 15th major victory in this year’s Masters at Augusta, brought the landmark 82 figure up with a three-shot victory over Hideki Matsuyama in Japan.
It was a weather-delayed victory, with Woods playing 29 holes on Sunday before needing to finish the remaining seven holes of his final round on Monday as he wrapped up the victory over home favourite Matsuyama.
“Well, it’s a big number,” Woods said of reaching the magic 82 wins 23 years after winning the first. “It’s about consistency and doing it for a long period of time. I’m very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had so far.”
At 43, Woods achieved the feat at an age nine years younger than Snead, who recorded his 82nd victory when he was 52.
The newest member of the 82 club admitted he thought it was unlikely he would still be playing at the age of 52 during his injury struggles in recent years.
But after making a winning comeback from what was fifth knee operation which he underwent last month, Woods now has cause for optimism when it comes to longevity in the game.
“As far as playing until 52, I hope that’s the case,” Woods told reporters after his Zozo Championship win. “If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have given you a different answer, but certainly the future looks brighter than it has.
“The body can’t do what it used to but I can still think my way around the golf course.
“I know how to play and I was able to do that this week. There was a time if I didn’t know if I would play again so I am very appreciative. I didn’t really know that I would come back and play at this level.”
Woods still has the all-time record of major wins in his sights with his Masters victory in April leaving him three short of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. He will be the defending champion at Augusta for the first major of 2020.
Before then, Woods will captain the United States in the 2019 Presidents Cup and could yet select himself as a wildcard pick to face the International Team at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia in December.
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