Zozo Cham­pi­onship

Tiger Woods makes PGA Tour his­tory with win No. 82

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE -

INZAI, Japan (AFP) — Tiger Woods made golf his­tory Mon­day when he won the Zozo Cham­pi­onship in Japan for his 82nd U.S. PGA Tour vic­tory — equal­ing Sam Snead’s 54-year-old record and ad­ding to his long list of achieve­ments.

The 15-time ma­jor win­ner held off the chal­lenge of home fa­vorite Hideki Mat­suyama to win by three shots at the weather-de­layed tour­na­ment, his first out­ing since arthro­scopic left knee surgery in Au­gust.

Woods broke into a huge smile after he birdied the 18th to com­plete a three-un­der fi­nal round of 67 and fin­ish 19-un­der par at Ac­cor­dia Golf Narashino Coun­try Club.

“It’s just crazy. It’s a lot,” the 43-year-old Woods said of his 82nd of­fi­cial PGA Tour vic­tory. His first came 23 years ago this month in Las Vegas, when he was 20.

“It’s been a long week, five days at the top of the board is a long time.

It was def­i­nitely stress­ful,” said

Woods, who pock­eted a check for 1.755 mil­lion Bri­tish pounds.

Woods led from gun to tape in the in­au­gu­ral U.S. PGA Tour event in Japan, which saw Fri­day’s play washed out by the fringes of a ty­phoon that dumped al­most 25 cen­time­ters of rain on the course 80 kilo­me­ters from Tokyo, forc­ing play into an ex­tra day.

“It’s about con­sis­tency and do­ing it for a long pe­riod of time,” Woods said of ty­ing Snead, who died in 2002 four days be­fore his 90th birth­day. “Sam did it into his fifties and I’m in my early to mid-for­ties. I’ve been very for­tu­nate to have had the ca­reer I’ve had so far.”

U.S. PGA Tour Com­mis­sioner Jay Mon­a­han was watch­ing at home in the U.S. “It was just one of those ‘wow’ mo­ments,” he told AFP by tele­phone.

“He doesn’t fancy ties too much. So he’s al­ready on to: ‘How do I get to 83?’”

Woods said it was “cool” that, with the ad­di­tion of his lat­est ti­tle in Japan, he had now won U.S. PGA Tour events in seven dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

“I’ve al­ways been a global player, I’ve al­ways played all around the world and to tie the record out­side the United States is pretty cool,” Woods told re­porters.

Woods re­sumed his fi­nal round, sus­pended due to dark­ness on Sun­day,

at 7:30 am on the long par-12th but saw his overnight three-shot cush­ion over Mat­suyama im­me­di­ately cut to two.

Mat­suyama in­ex­pli­ca­bly spurned an easy op­por­tu­nity to re­duce the deficit to one as he missed a four­foot birdie putt on 14, but Woods made no mis­take on the same green from 20 feet.

Woods missed a fur­ther birdie chance, from 10 feet, at the 15th and was watch­ing from the 16th tee 181 yards away as Mat­suyama walked in a 20-footer to get to 16-un­der.

Mat­suyama kept up the pres­sure but on the fi­nal hole his bunker shot flew past the flag and when he missed the long putt back his brave chal­lenge ended at 16-un­der for the tour­na­ment after a fi­nal-round 67.

“This was big,” said a smil­ing Woods. “Hideki made it tight. It was a lot closer than what peo­ple prob­a­bly thought.

“It was a very long week be­cause I was tied for the lead for the bet­ter part of five days. I made a mis­take right away at 11 and it be­came a pretty good ball game.”

Reuters-Yon­hap

Tiger Woods holds a win­ning tro­phy of the Zozo Cham­pi­onship, a PGA Tour event, at Narashino Coun­try Club in Inzai, Chiba Pre­fec­ture, east of Tokyo, Japan, Mon­day.

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