Tiger Woods secured a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title when winning the Zozo Championship in Japan.
Making his first PGA Tour appearance since undergoing knee surgery in August, Woods held a three-shot lead with seven holes remaining when play was suspended due to darkness on Sunday evening. The former world No.1 returned on Monday morning to close out a three-under-par 67 at Narashino Country Club near Tokyo and end the week on 19 under, finishing three shots ahead of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.
Woods’ first victory since winning the Masters in April moved him alongside Sam Snead’s all-time number of PGA Tour titles, with the win also lifting him to sixth in the world rankings.
Woods had 13 TaylorMade clubs in his bag for the win, adding a new Milled Grind 2 lob wedge into the bag for this tournament. After opening on Thursday with three bogeys, Woods went on to rattle off nine birdies in round one, and then never looked back as he carded a 6-under-par round of 64. Woods shot four rounds in the 60s around the Accordia course, and notched up 27 birdies when compiling his third lowest 72-hole total on the PGA Tour.
“This is big,” Woods said. “Hideki put up an amazing fight on his home soil, but to do this in Japan is something I’ll never forget. It’s been an awesome year. But it’s just crazy. Eighty-two wins – it’s a lot. Sam [Snead] did it into his 50s, I’m in my early 40s still. But in order to win that amount of times, you’re going to have to fail a lot, but I’ve kept giving myself chances. Fortunately, I’ve gone on little hot streaks over the years, and it’s all amassed into a number – 82.”
He added: “I’m playing against kids now that literally started after I won my first Major championship. That’s the cycle of sports – and golf is one of those unique sports that we can do for decades and I’ve been able to do it for a long period of time and hopefully I can continue to do it at this high level.”
Tiger Woods’ winning gear
Driver: TaylorMade M5 (10.5°)
Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M5 (15°), TaylorMade M3 (19°)
Irons: TaylorMade P7TW (3-PW)
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 (56°, 60°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS
Ball: Bridgestone TourB XS