Tiger Woods prepares for first Tour Championship in five years

Tiger Woods prepares for first Tour Championship in five years

The crowd at East Lake was larger and louder than it has been in five years, which was the last time Tiger Woods was at the Tour Championship.

"I think the season itself has been unbelievable", he said.

"To be able to play golf again and to earn my way back to this level is something that I was hoping I would do at the beginning of the year, but I didn't know", Woods said.

"It was tough because we had a four-point lead starting out the day on Sunday and I worked my way back against Francesco (Molinari) and was one up and thought my match would be the deciding point, (but) some of the guys had some tough losses".

He didn't make it in 2014 because of his first back surgery and his ill-advised attempt to return too early.

The FedEx Cup began in 2007 with a $35 million bonus pool and four playoff events with $7 million purses.

Having undergone spinal fusion surgery previous year, Woods has defied belief during a US PGA Tour season featuring multiple chances to earn an 80th career victory. Stats would bear that out; while he's all over the map statistically in terms of driving distance and accuracy, he ranks fifth in shots gained overall and ninth in scoring average, suggesting that when one facet of his game is flailing, the others are strong enough to pick up most of the slack. "Maybe I'll have more of a chance to win".

"This was by far better than the 62 at Aronimink", Woods said. This year, Dustin Johnson had the most points in the regular season by 83 points over Thomas. Winning the FedEx Cup would cap off a great year for the Englishman.

At least, Woods acknowledged, next year will be easier to understand when the FedEx Cup format changes to a final event that will throw out the points and be based on stroke bonuses to start the tournament.

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'The European side is one of the best they've ever had, ' said the American.

The lowest-seeded player to win the FedEx Cup was Bill Haas (No. 25) in 2011.

Spieth didn't make it back this year, finishing at No. 31 after a poor week at the BMW Championship. However, he has failed to land inside the top 10 in his last two starts. Woods had the lead on the 11th hole at the British before fading to a tie for sixth. Bradley posted three top-10 finishes before the BMW Championship, where returned to the winner's circle.

The state of Woods' game - and more important, his back - has allowed him to look into the future in ways that he hasn't been able to in a number of years.

Now that the 2018 Tour Championship field is locked, SportsLine simulated the event 10,000 times, and the results were surprising.

"I haven't driven it well, I haven't hit my irons well, [or] I haven't putted well", Woods said. He was already set to attend the event at Le Golf National outside Paris, France, but captain Jim Furyk offered him a wildcard selection as a player.

From world No.2 Brooks Koepka to No.25 Phil Mickelson, 14 American golfers were unavailable for the World Cup.

The victor of the FedExCup receives $10 million, while the Tour Championship offers a $9 million purse.

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