Scenes at East Lake still give me chills, says Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods admits the amazing scenes surrounding his Tour Championship triumph still gives him “chills” as he prepares to make his first start of 2019.

Tiger Woods returns to action this week. Picture: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Woods has won the Farmers Insurance Open seven times and also claimed the last of his 14 majors, the 2008 US Open, at host venue Torrey Pines.

But even if the 43-year-old claims the 81st PGA Tour title of his career on Sunday, it is unlikely there will be a repeat of the outpouring of emotion which greeted his comeback win at East Lake in September, when thousands of his delirious fans spilled onto the 18th fairway to follow their idol to the green.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“It gives me chills almost every single time I see it,” Woods told a pre-tournament press conference at Torrey Pines. “At the time it didn’t seem like that because I didn’t really look back, I only looked back a couple times over my right shoulder.

“I didn’t really get a good look until I went to the green. After I hit my pitch shot, I got on the green, I looked and I’m like holy cow, there’s a lot of people out there.

“But the rush and the commotion that happened, I’ve experienced things like that; ‘97 Western Open, the Open Championship at St Andrews. I’ve experienced things of that nature, but not that energy. That was very different. The energy of the crowd was at just red line and they were so into it.”

Asked if such scenes could be repeated, the former world No 1 added: “I don’t think so. Maybe one day it might, who knows. I never thought I ever expected it to get to that level and nobody in this room ever expected for that to even happen, so who knows?

“But all I know is that it was really loud and very special and when I look back on it, I wouldn’t say the TV angles of it, but more so the still photos of it because I didn’t realise how many people really had their phone up and were screaming and yelling.

“When you see like some of the photos I have at home where there’s like 70, 80 people in this one little shot and everyone has their phone up, it’s a different time.”

Woods is currently ranked 13th in the world, one place behind Australia’s Jason Day, who defends the title he won last year following a play-off with Alex Noren and Ryan Palmer.

Palmer was eliminated on the first extra hole and Day and Noren completed four more before play had to be suspended due to darkness, with Day sealing victory on Monday morning.