‘I kept giving myself chances’ – Tiger Woods reacts to his historic win, injury woes, and failure

Tiger Woods driving

Tiger Woods won a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour win at the Zozo Championship in Japan this weekend. 

Woods held off the challenge of home favourite Hideki Matsuyama in Tokyo as he drew level with Sam Snead at the top of the all-time rankings.

And, speaking to Golf TV afterwards, he was quizzed on a number of issues:

How does it feel to get to the 82nd PGA Tour title?

It’s incredible – the number is crazy, how many wins that is, because you have to do it for a long period of time. Sam 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. I have been in the position where I have lost a lot of events where I have failed.

But I kept giving myself chances. Fortunately enough I have been able to win a few events over the years, I’ve gone on little hot streaks and hot runs and it’s all amassed into a number of 82.

Can you believe the longevity in your career?

No, I can’t believe I’ve been out here for that long. What was crazy was that talking to Wolfie, saying that he was born to after I won the Masters. That put things in perspective really fast.

I’m playing against kids now that literally started after I won my first Major championship. That’s the cycle of sports – that’s the way it goes 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.

Did you ever get to play with Sam Snead?

The only time I got a chance to play with Sam was over a couple of holes where he had an outing and I was two down through two! He came out and watched me play at my first LA Open so that was kind of trippy, coming off the 10th green and there was the great Sam Snead standing right there.

I’m 16 years old and I end up piping one right down the middle of the fairway so that felt pretty good. Fast forward to having spent the dinners with him over the years, to hear the needling, the jabbing, the good times that we had, then to ultimately tie his record, it’s very special.

How does it feel to get the win, but also have the control over your game and your body?

Having the knee procedure allowed me to start putting good again. It’s the simple things like being able to get down and read a putt. I really didn’t do much of it last year, I didn’t squat, end up kneeling down from up high, lining my ball up instead of squatting and lining up my line.

Little things like that, and eventually I didn’t rotate round the golf ball, put more strain on my back, that was getting worse so I had to manage that. In hindsight, I probably should have done the procedure like I planned last year after the Hero, but who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have won the Masters. All in all, I would have much preferred to win the Masters.

How excited are you for the rest of the season and going into next year?

This week I had decent control with my game, but more importantly I felt I was putting good again, like I was rolling again. My pace was good and I felt like I could see things again. I don’t know why it is but I felt like I was back to normal again.

I was down into to my normal routine, do my normal routine to line up a putt and I just hit it and I felt just so much better that I was able to get a little lower and see things again which you don’t really do from up high.