The upcoming 2018 Ryder Cup tournament between the United States and Europe at the Le Golf National in Paris later this month could not have asked for a better advert than the return to form of Tiger Woods.

The American golfer, who returned at the start of the year after spending more than a year on the sidelines with a back injury, continued his incredible comeback by taking the share of the lead with a 5-under 65 round at the Tour Championship event at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday.

Woods was unsure if he would ever return to playing competitive golf after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in 2017, but returned this year with limited expectations. It has gone from strength to strength as the year progressed with the American currently playing in his 18th tournament.

The 14-time major winner has recorded six top six finishes during the course of the season and despite not adding to his 79 PGA Tour wins, he has already deemed the season a success. Moreover, his return to the Ryder Cup team as a player was also one of his dreams, and he achieved it when Jim Furyk named him as one of the captain’s four picks.

Woods now has a chance to end the season on a high ahead of the Ryder Cup in Paris later this month by winning the Tour Championship. He has a share of the lead alongside fellow American Rickie Fowler and was happy with the way he played Thursday. 

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods shares the lead at the Tour Championship after a first round 65. In this picture, Woods of the United States reacts after making a putt for eagle on the 18th green during the first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, Sept. 20, 2018. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“It would just enhance the year,” Woods, the only two-time FedExCup champion, said about a potential win, as per pgatour.com. “To be able to play golf again and to earn my way back to this level is something that I was hoping I would do at the beginning of the year, but I didn’t know. And I’ve done it.”

It is the second time in two tournaments that Woods has the share of the lead after the opening round. He led at the same stage at the BMW Championships with a round of 62, but went to finish tied sixth after struggling in the second round at the Aronimink Golf Club. Despite his round at East Lake three shots more, he feels it was better owing to the tricky nature of the course in Georgia. He began with a bogey in the first, but turned it around with four birdies in the next 13 and then rounded it off with a 28-foot putt for an eagle at the 18th. 

“Conditions were soft there,” Woods said talking about his first round at the BMW Championships. “It’s hard to get the ball closer (at East Lake). There's so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can't get the ball close. The Bermuda rough, you just can't control it. It puts a premium on driving and puts a premium on allowing for a little bit of chase on some of these greens. When I had some good looks, I went right after it, and otherwise I played pretty conservatively.”

Woods will be hoping to continue his momentum going into the second round on Friday and his recent form will surely come as a major boost to the United States team ahead of their defense of the Ryder Cup that begins on Sept. 28. And his return to form is going to ensure the event will get more attention whether or not the American picks up the win before heading to Paris.