Woods wins at Bay Hill to regain No.1 spot
Tiger Woods returned to World No. 1 in stunning manner with an eighth victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
After a tornado ripped through central Florida on Sunday, Woods returned to play his last 16 holes and signing for an eventual three under par 69 for a 14-under par victory tally.
Woods’ victory is his third win in five PGA Tour starts this season and he now matches a record set by the late Sam Snead who captured eight Greater Greensboro Open titles between 1938 and 1965.
“I just play well here and that’s about as simple as it gets,” said Woods.
“And in getting back to World No. 1 is just a by-product. A by-product of hard work, patience and getting back to winning golf tournaments.”
“I’ve won some golf tournaments the last couple of years and consequently I’ve moved back up to Number One.”
Tournament host, Arnold Palmer, who was among the first to congratulate Woods, described Woods’ efforts as a ‘miracle’.
Palmer said: “To win this event times is a miracle and I don’t see anyone touching the record for a long time.”
“I won a tournament five times and I knew how difficult that was.”
“But I am also surprised Tiger has now won this event eight times and he has done it on the same golf course because Sam won on different golf courses in Greensboro, North Carolina.”
Woods had up to 30 text messages in the short time from winning to his post round press conference.
“I’m just kind of scrolling through my phone and all the people who have supported me and all the texts saying thank you,” he said.
“I’ve tried to text back thank you’s as fast as I possibly can, but it’s been incredible to have all the support, and you know, all the hard work has paid off to get me to this point, and it feels good to have won this event.”
“This event means so much to me over the years. I lived here. This is my first house I ever owned, and it was here in Orlando, and both my kids were born here. And it has it is a very special place.”
However Woods was quizzed if he had received a text from McIlroy and the player he disposed as the game’s best.
Woods said: “No, not yet. But I’m sure to expect a call.”
Woods will compete in this week’s five team Singles shootout for the Tavistock Cup at the nearby Isleworth Club but won’t compete again until the April 11th Masters.
Woods ended an 872-day absence as the game’s top player since October 30th, 2010 and with four players, all European in Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer trading places for the No. 1 ranking.
McIlroy held the leading reins for 204 days since winning last August’s PGA Championship, and must now win this week’s Shell Houston Open to unseat Woods before the year’s first Major.
And Woods thumbed his nose as those sceptics suggesting that until Woods wins that illusive 15th Major he will not be fully recognised as the game’s best player.
“It’s their opinion but I know I am very pleased with the way I am playing and enough of that,” said Woods.
However history is against Woods being fitted for a fifth green jacket.
Three times previously in 2000, 2003 and 2008 Woods has won three events before the season’s first Major but won the Masters.
New world number three, Justin, Rose posted his third straight top-10 to finish second with a round of 70 for a 11 under par tally.
Rickie Fowler, who shared third place on eight under par with Spain’s ‘Gonzo’ Fernandez-Castano (72), had been Woods’ nearest rival for 15 holes but then handed Woods victory when he put two balls into the water at 16 for a triple bogey eight.
And Fowler made it three balls in the drink with the American after putting out back-handing his ball also into the water.
Woods’ Nike Golf Bag
Driver: Nike VR Tour 8.5-degree (Graphite Design DI 6X)
Fairway Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15º and Nike VR_S Covert 5-wood/19º
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 56º and 60º
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Nike ONE Tour D
Footwear: Nike TW’13
Apparel: Nike Tiger Woods Collection