ATLANTA—Tiger Woods is facing long odds in capturing the FedEx Cup and the $10-million bonus.
But that's all relative this year.
Just having his own parking spot at East Lake, being back at the Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, even feeling lost during a practice round because the nines were flipped, all were reminders that his greatest accomplishment this year was being part of the 30-man field.
“I think the season itself has been amazing, to be able to have played this well,” Woods said yesterday.
"I didn't know how many tournaments I'd play in, and next thing you know, here I am in the Tour Championship. . . .
“To have come back from where I've come back from, and to get here, has been a pretty tall order,” he noted.
Woods didn't make it in 2014 because of his first back surgery and his ill-advised attempt to return too early.
He missed the entire FedEx Cup playoffs in 2015 when he couldn't chip the ball onto the green from 20 feet away early in the season, and then his back started acting up late in the season.
He missed all of 2016 while recovering from two more back surgeries, and all but one PGA Tour event in 2017 because of a fourth back surgery.
Never mind that Woods is at No. 20 in the FedEx Cup standings, having started no worse than No. 3 in his four previous FedEx Cup finales.
This is one tournament where it's more about the start than the finish.
“It's great to have accomplished one of the goals I set out at the beginning of the year: to make it back to East Lake to be part of the Tour Championship and part of these top 30 guys,” Woods remarked.
“I've exceeded a lot of my expectations and goals because so much of it was an unknown.”
The only thing left to cap off a remarkable comeback would be a trophy. This is his last chance.
That still probably wouldn't be enough for Woods to win the FedEx Cup for the third time (no one else has won it more than once).
The better odds are with the top five seeds—Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas—who only have to win the Tour Championship to take home the richest bonus in golf.
Thomas has even more at stake. No one, not even Woods, has won the FedEx Cup in successive years.
Thomas was runner-up at East Lake a year ago, which was enough for him to move past Jordan Spieth and capture the cup.
“I'm excited to have an opportunity to do something that no one has ever done, which is pretty cool,” Thomas said.
Spieth didn't make it back this year, finishing at No. 31 after a poor week at the BMW Championship.
East Lake, meanwhile, is only part of the reward for Woods. He will be on the charter Sunday night to France for his first Ryder Cup since 2012.
He finished 11th in the standings and was an easy choice as a captain's pick by Jim Furyk.
Spieth is the only American on the Ryder Cup team not at East Lake.
For the other 11, along with six players on the European team, the focus is on the FedEx Cup and its $10-million prize this week, followed by a cup with no prize at all next week.