(CNN) – Tiger Woods says he feels “blessed” after winning his first PGA Tournament in more than five years after a long and painful comeback due to a back injury.
“It’s been unheard of, getting to this level again, I didn’t know if it would happen again, and here I am, here we are,” he told CNN’s Patrick Snell after winning the Tour Championship at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club.
Woods finished 11-under average over the weekend, two clear shots off his closest competitor, Billy Horschel, for his 80th PGA victory.
The 14-time winner of one of the major tournaments, he said he had turned the page after years of pain and disappointment.
“We have left something unknown behind and that was the hardest part, it was something unknown. I didn’t know if I would be able to do this again, or at what level, and here we are with 80 wins, “he said.
Woods said 80 is a pretty good number and that puts him just two spots behind PGA overall winner Sam Snead and ahead of legends like Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.
“It was just a routine out there,” the former world number one told NBC moments after his final putt. “I loved everything: the fight, the routine and the difficult conditions.”
Thousands of fans followed the 42-year-old down the fairway of the 18th hole, cheering “America, America!” when Woods sealed his first win in 1,876 days.
Tiger Woods: his ups and downs
In April in Augusta, Woods described himself as a “walking miracle.” Now he says that he is aware of how lucky he is.
“I’m just blessed, lucky, lucky, it worked for me. My back was in very bad condition there, ”Woods assured CNN. He said that as part of his recovery process, he had to work around his back injury.
“Finding a swing and a game over a fixed point on my back has been very interesting,” he said. “It has not been easy, but I have been very fortunate to have a great team around me; They have worked very hard to give me a chance, and also the support I have had from them, it means the world to me ”.
As he approached the all-time record, he assured in a press conference that he was very happy to give his children some beautiful memories in the process. “I think they understand what their dad is doing now. I hadn’t won any tournaments that they could remember, so I think this will be something different for them. “
“Many times they associated golf with pain because every time I played it hurt me or caused me more pain, and now they see a little joy and how much fun it is for me to be able to do it again,” said Woods.
“Proud of you, right now”
Amid the excitement, it was easy to forget that current No. 1 Justin Rose birdied the 18th hole to finish tied for fourth to secure the FedEx Cup, which is the PGA season finale, and also a check for $ 10 million. “Sorry to ruin your party, guys!” He joked.
“I would like to take this moment to congratulate Tiger. I think the golf world is really proud of you right now, ”Rose said. So far, the display of his golf suggests that Woods has finally overcome the injuries that have plagued him in recent years.
He briefly led last July’s British Open in Carnoustie, before finishing sixth, then as runner-up behind Brooks Koepka in the PGA championship in August. The impressive recovery in his state is also shown in his return as a Ryder Cup player for the first time since 2012.
The leader of the American team, Jim Furyk, has selected him as a wild card for the biennial match against the best golfers in Europe, which kicks off on Friday at Le Golf National, outside Paris.