Tiger Woods regained the world No.1 spot as a result of winning the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
Woods, who last topped the rankings in October 2010, was rarely stretched en route to his eighth victory over the challenging central Florida course. Not only did he equal Sam Snead’s record of wins at a single PGA Tour event – the Greater Greensboro Open – it was his third title of the current season from just five starts.
Woods finished with a two-under-par 70 in the final round, which was not completed until Monday 25 March after a freak storm hit the Orlando area on Sunday. His 13-under-par total of 275 gave him a two-shot margin over second-placed Justin Rose from England.
Now Woods has replaced the absent Rory McIlroy at the top of the game, he will be heavily backed to add to his haul of 14 Majors when the Masters gets under way in just over two weeks’ time.
Not surprisingly the 37-year-old was happy to talk up his chances after receiving the trophy from tournament host Arnold Palmer. “I’ve turned some of the weaknesses that I had last year into strengths. I’m really excited about the rest of this year,” Woods, who at one point had dipped outside the world’s top 50 as a result of personal problems, injury and a loss of form, said. “The very beginning of the year I was excited because of how the end of last year turned. My short game came around, I thought my swing was getting better, my short irons got better, and lo and behold, I won a few tournaments this year.
“It was a by-product of hard work, patience and getting back to playing golf tournaments.”
Rose, 32, also finished with 70 for an 11-under-par total of 277, but it was Woods’ playing partner Rickie Fowler who came closest to threatening his victory parade, closing to within two strokes with three holes remaining.
But Fowler’s challenge evaporated after a disastrous triple-bogey 8 at the 16th and an ultimately disappointing round of 73 that was only good enough for a tie for third alongside fellow Americans Keegan Bradley and Mark Wilson and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.