(CNN) — As Tiger Woods strode down the 18th fairway at Atlanta’s East Lake club, thousands of baying fans following close behind, the world of golf and beyond was once again in thrall to the US star.
Five years and four back surgeries later, the most transcendent golfer in history was on the brink of completing his comeback and securing his 80th PGA Tour title.
His season-ending Tour Championship victory sent social media into frenzy, much like it had the raucous crowd around the 18th green.
Golf greats took the opportunity to congratulate Woods on a win many thought would never come.
Jack Nicklaus, the man widely considered the greatest golfer of all time and whose record of 18 major titles Woods is still chasing, said he was “happy” and “proud.”
Compatriot Justin Thomas, who will play alongside Woods for Team USA at this week’s Ryder Cup, shared a snap of the buzz on the final green and said “golf couldn’t be in a better place.”
PGA Tour host Teryn Gregson recorded a video of the thousands of fans following Woods down the 18th green, with Tiger and playing partner Rory McIlroy having to squeeze through the crowd with the help of security.
The Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee tweeted: “This is the greatest comeback in the history of golf.”
Others said they had never witnessed a scene like it in all their years watching golf.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, was also captivated by Woods’ final round performance, humbly beginning his message: “From one goat (greatest of all time) to another.”
The Open Championship, the major tournament Woods briefly led earlier in the final round earlier this year, echoed the sentiments of golfer Tommy Fleetwood, who deemed Woods to be “good at golf” after his opening-round 65.
Fleetwood went on to call Woods’ victory “the greatest comeback of all time.”
Cheyenne Woods, Tiger’s niece, knows just how hard her famous uncle has worked to reach this point and what this title means to him, tweeting: “This is a special one.”
At one stage, it looked as though Woods would add the $10 million FedEx Cup prize to his Tour Championship victory, but the cash eventually went to Justin Rose.
The Englishman knew a tie for fifth or worse would hand the money to Woods but he held his nerve to birdie the final hole and take the prize.
After the final round, Rose congratulated “the GOAT” on his 80th career victory.
Eventual runner-up Billy Horschel recorded a stunning final round to put some pressure on Woods in the closing stages, but eventually just came up short.
Despite missing out on the title, the American said it was “awesome” to see Woods get back to winning ways.
Going into the final day in second place behind Woods, McIlroy was poised to challenge the top of the leaderboard.
However, he capitulated on the front nine and the challenge never materialized but, despite the disappointment, McIlroy was still able to enjoy the surreal walk down the 18th fairway with Woods.
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