Tiger Roars Back to Win Again
Down five strokes in his first real test in ten months, Tiger Woods roared back to win the Arnold Palmer invitational this past weekend at Bay Hill, Florida.
In charging back to win his sixth Arnold Palmer Invitational, the world's number one golfer showed the form he will need to win his fifth Master's. The 2009 Master’s will take place April 6-12, at Augusta, Georgia. Woods beat an Invitational field that contained, among others, Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Davis Love III, many of whom will also be in Augusta.
The 33 year-old Woods, who took a forced year off to recover from serious knee and leg issues, made victory part of his triumphant return to the golf links in only his third outing back in competition. Woods was knocked out in the second round of the match play tournament he used as his return to the game.
The win at Palmer’s tournament did not come easy for Woods: it took a memorable birdie putt on the 18th hole. There was little doubt however, once he struck the putt on 18, that it would lead to a victory. Woods, himself, knew it was good right away. "I hit a pure putt. I hit it really solid and it held its line all the way there," he told ESPN.
Though Woods is often in the position of having to defend a lead, something he did successfully in his first 12 major victories, he has proven he can also roar back when it is called for. Woods won his last major tournament, the 2007 U.S. Open tournament, playing on a severely damaged knee and a broken leg and had to come from behind to do it. Woods won in an epic 18 hole playoff he forced against Rocco Mediate on the final hole of regular play. Woods sunk a long birdie putt on the 18th hole on Sunday to catch Mediate and then beat him in the Monday playoff round.
The U.S Open is one of few tournaments that require a full round be played on Monday if the score is tied at the end of Sunday’s play. The Master’s which for a long time also insisted on an 18 hole playoff, recently switched to a sudden death format that can end on the first extra hole.
At next month’s Masters, Woods will have the chance to inch closer to Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Major tournament victories.