Not his competitors or even a thunderstorm could deny Tiger Woods his third win of the 2013 PGA Tour season. In a fourth round pushed to Monday by inclement weather, Woods held off Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose down the stretch to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Woods shot a 2-under 70 in the fourth round to finish at 13-under for the tournament.
The triumph is Woods' second in a row, his third in 2013 and his 77th career PGA win. It also returns him to the top of the world ranking for the first time since October 2010.
"It was one of my goals to get back to that position after being out of the top 50 there for a while, being hurt and having all my points come off when I couldn't play," Woods said after surging into the lead at Bay Hill during the third round, via The Associated Press. "That was not a fun stretch. But I had to get healthy in order to compete, and so far I've had five wins on tour. So I'm heading in the right direction."
After fitting in two holes on Sunday before play was delayed by the storm, Woods began Monday at the par-4 3rd hole with a three-stroke lead on Fowler, Ken Duke and Keegan Bradley. Within two strokes of Woods at the start of the par-5 16th hole, Fowler hit two balls into the water en route to a triple bogey. Woods would birdie the hole and hold on for the win. Rose finished two strokes back in second place.
CLICK HERE for a hole-by-hole breakdown of Woods' final round.
"I think he plays every shot like he plays them on Sunday. His intensity is the same on Thursday often as it is on Sunday, and that makes Sunday a lot less different for him," said Rose, via Golfweek. "He plays in that kind of atmosphere far more regularly than a lot of guys do, and it's adjustment for most of us. It's a known for him."
With his eighth career win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods tied Sam Snead's record for most career wins at a single event, per PGA Tour Stats. As the world No. 1, Woods will arrive at The Masters in two weeks with another record on the minds of many fans. Woods' longstanding chase of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 career major wins resumes at Augusta. Woods won his 14th career major at the U.S. Open in 2008 but has not added to his tally since.
"I still think he can do it," Nicklaus said at the Honda Classic earlier this month. "But that said, he has still got to do it. He hasn't won one in five years. He had better get with it if he's going to."
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Tiger Woods is back to No. 1 in the world with a game that look as good as ever.
Woods tied a PGA Tour record Monday by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the eighth time, and this one had some extra significance. It returned him to the top of the world ranking for the first time since the final week of October 2010, the longest spell of his career.
Woods never let anyone closer than two shots in the final round at Bay Hill that was delayed one day by storms. With a conservative bogey he could afford on the last hole, he closed with a 2-under 70 for a two-shot win over Justin Rose.
Next up is the Masters, where Woods will try to end his five-year drought in the majors.
Woods fell as low as No. 58 in the world as he coped with a crisis in his personal life and injuries to his left leg. One week after he announced he was dating Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn, Woods celebrated his third win of the season, and his sixth going back to Bay Hill a year ago.
"It's a byproduct of hard work, patience and getting back to winning golf tournaments," Woods said.
Vonn tweeted moments after his win, "Number 1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Like so many other wins, this one was never really close.
Rickie Fowler pulled to within two shots with a 25-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole, but after he and Woods made bogey on the 15th, Fowler went at the flag on the par-5 16th and came up a few yards short and into the water. Fowler put another ball into the water and made triple bogey.
Woods played it safe on the 18th, and nearly holed a 75-foot par putt that even drew a big smile from the tournament host. He walked off the green waving his putter over his head to acknowledge the fans who had seen this act before.
Woods tied the tour record of eight wins in a single tournament. Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times from 1938 to 1965 at two golf courses. Woods tied his record for most wins at a single golf course, having also won eight times at Torrey Pines, including a U.S. Open.
"I don't really see anybody touching it for a long time," Palmer said as Woods was making his way up the 18th fairway. "I had the opportunity to win a tournament five times, and I knew how difficult that was."
Rose, who played the first two rounds with Woods, closed with a 70 to finish alone in second.
Fowler had to settle for a 73 and a tie for third with Mark Wilson (71), Keegan Bradley (71) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (72).
Already with three wins this year, Woods is closing in on another Snead record – 82 career wins. Woods won for the 77th time on tour.
Rory McIlroy had been No. 1 since he won the PGA Championship last August. He is playing this week at the Houston Open.
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1996 - 2 PGA Wins
Las Vegas Invitational Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic
1997 - 4 PGA Wins
<strong>Masters Tournament*</strong> Mercedes Championships GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic Motorola Western Open *Major Victory
1998 - 1 PGA Win
1999 - 8 PGA Wins
<strong>PGA Championship*</strong> Buick Invitational Memorial Tournament Motorola Western Open World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational National Car Rental Golf Classic Disney The Tour Championship World Golf Championships-American Express Championship *Major Victory
2000 - 9 PGA wins
Mercedes Championships AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Bay Hill Invitational Memorial Tournament <strong>U.S. Open Championship* British Open Championship* PGA Championship*</strong> World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational Bell Canadian Open *Major Victory
2001 - 5 PGA Wins
<strong>Masters Tournament*</strong> Bay Hill Invitational The Players Championship Memorial Tournament World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational *Major Victory
2002 - 5 PGA Wins
Bay Hill Invitational presented by Cooper Tires <strong>Masters Tournament* U.S. Open Championship*</strong> Buick Open World Golf Championships-American Express Championship *Major Victory
2003 - 5 PGA Wins
Buick Invitational World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship Bay Hill Invitational presented by Cooper Tires 100th Western Open presented by Golf Digest World Golf Championships-American Express Championship
2004 - 1 PGA Win
World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship
2005 - 6 PGA Wins
Buick Invitational Ford Championship at Doral <strong>Masters Tournament* British Open Championship*</strong> World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational World Golf Championships-American Express Championship *Major Victory
2006 - 8 PGA Wins
Buick Invitational Ford Championship at Doral <strong>British Open Championship*</strong> Buick Open <strong>PGA Championship*</strong> World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational Deutsche Bank Championship World Golf Championships-American Express Championship *Major Victory
2007 - 7 PGA Wins
The Tour Championship BMW Championship <strong>PGA Championship*</strong> World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational Wachovia Championship World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship Buick Invitational *Major Victory
2008 - 4 PGA Wins
<strong>U.S. Open*</strong> Arnold Palmer Invitational World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship Buick Invitational *Major Victory
2009 - 6 PGA Wins
BMW Championship World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational Buick Open AT&T National The Memorial Arnold Palmer Invitational
2012 - 3 PGA Wins
AT&T National The Memorial Arnold Palmer Invitational
2013 - 5 PGA Wins
Farmers Insurance Open Cadillac Championship Arnold Palmer Invitational The Players Championship Bridgestone Invitational *Tavistock Cup (Unofficial Event)