ATLANTA, United States - Tiger Woods tees off in the season-ending Tour Championship here Thursday for the first time in five years, determined to end his victory drought ahead of next week’s Ryder Cup.
Woods got his first look at East Lake on Tuesday playing the back nine of the suburban Atlanta course in the company of USA Team rookies Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau. Woods and the 25-year old DeChambeau also look set to be playing together during next week's Ryder Cup showdown at Le Golf National course in Versailles, outside Paris.
Woods, ranked 21st in the world, captured the inaugural FedEx Cup in 2007 and won again in 2009 but at No. 20 on the FedEx Cup standings it is near impossible for Woods to land the $10 million first prize cheque.
"It's exciting to be back," said Woods. "I haven't played this event, haven't been here in quite some time, and it's great to have accomplished one of the goals I set out at the beginning of the year, to make it back to East Lake to be part of the Tour Championship and part of these top 30 guys.
"I've accomplished that. Now I want to get the 'W' (win) and then head into next week in the Ryder Cup. The season itself has been amazing, to be able to have played this well after coming off of what I came off of. I didn't know how many tournaments I'd play in, and next thing you know, here I am in the Tour Championship.
"There's some guys that can't say they've accomplished that, have gotten into the Tour Championship, but to have come back from where I've come back from and to get here has been a pretty tall order and something I'm proud of."
While Woods has surprised the greater majority of sports observers in the 17 events he's contested, the now 42-year naturally was not about to single out 2018 as his most successful.
“Well, the 'W' category doesn't compare to some of the years I've had where I've won eight or nine times in a year, but to have come off the last few years of inactivity and to be able to have qualified for East Lake and to be as consistent as I've been and to have put together a game from pretty much nothing, that's something I'm very proud of," Woods added.
Woods will contest the opening round in the company of reigning European number one Tommy Fleetwood and finds himself in the company of the Englishman for a third occasion this year. The duo was grouped for the opening two rounds of this year’s Masters and also for the first two days of the recent Northern Trust in New Jersey.
"We will have run out of things to talk about," joked Fleetwood. "No, it’s been great being grouped with Tiger and I cannot say enough how good it is to see him back being competitive."