- 923 days. 26 tour events. That’s how long it had been since Tiger Woods hoisted a trophy.
On Sunday, that drought came to an end. Woods claimed a five stroke victory over Graeme McDowell in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla. With the win, Tiger claimed the number six spot in the World Golf Rankings, the first time he had been in the top ten since May 22, 2011.
As Woods approached the 18th green, you could notice one feature that fans hadn’t seen in a while: a smile. “It was pure joy,” Woods said in a press release.
“I think he really just kind of nailed home his comeback,” said Graeme McDowell in a press release. “Great to have a front-row seat watching maybe the greatest of all-time doing what he does best — winning golf tournaments.”
“I’ve gotten better, that’s the main thing,” said Woods. “I’ve been close for a number of tournaments now. And it was just a matter of staying the course and staying patient, keep working on fine-tuning what we’re doing. And here we are.”
Woods finished the tournament with a four round score of 13 strokes under par, 275. This was Woods’ 72nd PGA Tour win, one win shy of Jack Nicklaus for second most wins in history. Woods is also four majors shy of becoming the all-time leader.
In conjunction with all the smiles and happiness, a serious condition developed. The tournament host, Arnold Palmer, had to be taken to the hospital 15 minutes before the end of the tournament with concerns of high blood pressure. This was due to a new medication Palmer had been taking. Alaistair Johnston, Palmer’s longtime business manager and vice chairman at IMG said in a press release “Nobody is overly concerned,” Palmer spent the night in the hospital, for observation and for precautionary measures.
Woods tweeted this a few hours after his victory: “Heading home now and I can’t stop smiling. Thanks to Otown fans and everyone watching for all the love. Get well soon, Arnie.”
This was the first time Woods has shot every round under par since the return from his personal leave at the Masters in 2010.
“I am excited, no doubt,” Woods said. “I’m looking forward to the momentum I’ve built here.”
Let’s just hope that he keeps that momentum and plays well at the Masters coming up in just a few weeks.
“It’s not like winning a major championship or anything,” Woods said. “But it certainly feels really good.”
(Photo courtesy of David Cannon, Getty Images.)