AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 14: Tiger Woods of the United States celebrates after sinking his putt on the 18th green to win during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods: The rise, fall and comeback
02:27 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Tiger Woods added another layer of history to a remarkable year when he won his record-equaling 82nd PGA Tour title at the Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan.

The Masters champion is now tied with legendary golfer Sam Snead, who won 82 titles throughout his more than 50-year career.

Woods held off a strong field to beat home favorite Hideki Matsuyama by three shots with world No.2 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Sung-jae Im of South Korea tied for third.

“Today, we celebrate both Tiger and Sam Snead as they share a record that, given how difficult it is to win just once on the PGA Tour, should sit squarely alongside the greatest accomplishments in sporting history,” said Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner.

The 43-year-old Woods tweeted Sunday that it was an honor to be tied with fellow American Snead for the most wins.

“Thanks Mom and Pop and everyone who helped make this possible … to do this in Japan is something I’ll never forget. It’s been an awesome year,” he tweeted.

Woods waves after winning his 82nd PGA Tour title Sunday.

‘Very appreciative’

The 43-year-old Woods clinched a stunning 15th major title in April, 11 years after his last, when he won a fifth Masters green jacket at August.

It was a triumphant return for the former world No. 1, whose career at the highest level appeared to be over during a long struggle with back injuries which led to spinal fusion surgery in 2017.

“If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have given you a different answer, but certainly the future looks brighter than it has,” Woods said after his win.

“The body can’t do what it used to but I can still think my way around the golf course.

“I know how to play and I was able to do that this week. There was a time if I didn’t know if I would play again so I am very appreciative.”

At his darkest times, Woods said he was unable to get out of bed and feared for his future quality of life, but an impressive comeback season culminating in victory in the Tour Championship in 2018 set up this year’s resurgence.

However, Woods admitted the Masters win took a toll physically and mentally, and his ailing body continued to hamper him during the season.

He missed the cut at the PGA Championship in his next tournament start, finished tied 21st at the US Open and missed the cut again at the Open at Royal Portrush, admitting his surgically repaired body will only allow him to perform intermittently.

After failing to qualify for this year’s Tour Championship, he then took two months off for knee surgery before returning to take part in a made-for-TV event with Matsuyama, McIlroy and Australian Jason Day in Japan ahead of his first PGA Tour start of the 2020 season.

Woods lies three majors adrift of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles. Nicklaus was 46 when he won his final major, a sixth Masters title at Augusta, while Snead was 52 when he won his 82nd PGA Tour title.

The Zozo Championship, played at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, was the first PGA Tour event ever played in Japan.

CNN’s Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.