Tiger Woods is back on top of the golf world, and he is set on breaking Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors and Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 wins after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill on Monday.
Hello world, again.
Woods, in his final tuneup before the Masters, shot a 2-under 70 on Monday and finished at -13 for the tournament, two shots ahead of Justin Rose.
By winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational for a record eighth time, Woods reclaimed the world No. 1 ranking from Rory McIlroy and won his 77th event on the PGA Tour. This is the first time Woods has been the world’s top-ranked golfer since October of 2010 and the eleventh different time he has climbed to the top of the world golf rankings. Only Woods and Snead have won a tournament eight different times.
“I play well here,” Woods said. “It’s as simple as it gets.”
Woods said his success was a byproduct of “hard work” and “patience.”
“I’m very pleased with the way I’m playing,” Woods said.
Woods has won three times this season and six of his last 20 starts on the PGA Tour, which is an astounding 30% winning percentage.
On the 18th hole at Bay Hill, where some of Woods’s greatest moments have occurred, Woods nearly holed in a 73-foot putt for par before tapping in for bogey.
The tournament was over after the 16th hole.
On the par-5 16th hole, Woods two-putted for birdie to go to -14. Rickie Fowler, who was staying in Woods’s old mansion this week, which is now owned by Bubba Watson, made triple-bogey 8 to lose three strokes and go to -8 for the tournament. They started the 16th hole two shots apart.
On Saturday, Woods roared to the lead by eagling the 16th hole. He shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead over Justin Rose and Bill Haas. Play was suspended on Sunday due to rain.
Woods won for the ninth time at Bay Hill–if one counts his 1991 U.S. Junior Amateur Title. He has 14 majors and has spent his life devoted to chasing Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors. He seems primed to make a run at that record this year, as his game, especially his putting and shot game, looks as good as it did when he held the so-called “Tiger Slam” of holding all four majors at once.