In the past, a successful season for Tiger Woods would probably include at least one major win and a few more wins in regular PGA Tour events, but four back surgeries since 2014 have changed the American’s outlook. He labeled the 2018 season a success just because he was able to get back to playing competitive golf.

The 14-time major winner was unsure if he would ever return to the course again after the spinal fusion surgery in 2017, but made a comeback at the start of the year. He was expecting to gradually progress, and he would have chomped at the bit if someone told him he would play 18 tournaments before the season concludes.

But Woods got more than that — he not only played the entire season, he recorded six top six finishes which included an outright second place at the USPGA Championships. The cherry on the cake, however, came at the Tour Championship on Sunday when all his hard work culminated in him capturing his 80th PGA title at the East Lake Golf Club in Georgia.

The American’s win was so much more than just a victory on the golf course, it was a triumph over everything Woods has gone through in the last few years — his injuries and the scandals. It was one of those sporting achievements that brought pure joy to majority of the golf fans, who have been waiting for this moment since he made his comeback at the start of the year — there were chants of 'Tiger! Tiger!' as he approached the 18th green with a sea of people following him.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods won his 80th PGA Tour title, his first in 1,876 days. In this picture, Woods of the United States celebrates making a par on the 18th green to win the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, Sept. 23, 2018. Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

The Tour Championship win was the tournament Woods has won in 1,876 days — his last win came at the Bridgestone Invitational in 2013. The former world number one started the tournament ranked outside the top-1000 in the world, but after his win on Sunday, he will be ranked number 13 when the rankings are re-calibrated Monday.

“I just loved it out there, the fight and the grind but I was trying hard not to cry at one point,” Woods said. “At the beginning of the year this was a tall order but I proved I could progress and put it together.”

“It obviously means a lot,” the American added. “It was hard not to think of all the days when I didn't know whether I would walk pain-free again, let alone play and compete. It's been a hell of a comeback and it's a pretty damn good feeling.”

Woods completed the win at the East Lake Golf Club with a 1-over 71 round, which was poor compared to his opening three rounds of 65, 68 and 65. It was the third that set him up for the win going into Sunday.

After being tied for the lead after two rounds with Englishman Justin Rose, the American played a sensational third to take a three-shot lead going into the final day. Despite playing over par, Woods ensured he held off a charge from compatriot Billy Horchel to take the win by two strokes.

Woods’ Tour Championship win also saw him makes up 18 places in the FedEx Cup standings and eventually finished in second place just 41 points behind Rose, who picked up the $10 million check.

The former world number one’s other dream when he made his return earlier this year, apart from getting back to playing competitive golf regularly, was to make the Ryder Cup team. He was appointed the vice-captain earlier in the year, but he was keen to play in the biennial event.

Woods’ form as the season progressed convinced US Ryder Cup team captain Jim Furyk to pick him as one of the wildcards and with just three days to go before the event starts in Paris, the captain’s decision has been vindicated after the American rounded out what was already a successful season with a win.