THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Two years after his life and career came crashing down, Tiger Woods is a winner again.
One shot behind with two holes to play, Woods finally looked like the player who dominated golf for so much of his career. He birdied his last two holes Sunday, making a 6-foot putt on the 18th, to win the Chevron World Challenge by one shot over former Masters champion Zach Johnson.
Woods closed with a 3-under 69, sweeping his arm when the final putt dropped, then slamming down his first in a celebration that was a long time coming. It had been 749 days and 26 official tournaments since he last won on Nov. 15, 2009 at the Australian Masters, back when he looked as though he would rule golf as long as he played.
But he crashed his car into a fire hydrant outside his Florida home on Thanksgiving night, and shocking revelations of extramarital affairs began to emerge, which eventually led to a divorce. Since then, he has changed swing coaches and endured more injuries, missing two majors this summer and missing the cut in another.
Now, however, it looks clear that Woods is on an upward path.
This was his 83rd win worldwide, and the fifth time he has captured the Chevron World Challenge, which he hosts for his foundation. Woods finished at 10-under 278 and donated the $1.2 million to his foundation.
The win moved him from No. 52 to No. 21 in the world ranking, and likely will send expectations soaring for 2012. Woods will not play again until starting his year in Abu Dhabi at the end of January.
Asked if the emotion was joyous, satisfying or simply relief, Woods smiled and said, "It just feels awesome whatever it is."