Tiger Woods gets eighth win at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods by Keith Allison, on Flickr

He had to wait an extra day due to the terrible weather conditions on Sunday, but Tiger Woods won his 77th PGA Tour event on Monday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It’s the third win in six starts worldwide for Woods in 2013, and his eighth career triumph at Bay Hill, which ties Sam Snead’s PGA Tour record for most career wins at one venue. The victory also moves Woods back to number one in the Official World Golf Rankings, leapfrogging Rory McIlroy, who wasn’t in the field this week. It’s the first time that Woods has been ranked as the world’s number one player since he lost the title to Lee Westwood on October 30th, 2010.
What happened
Woods entered the final round with a two-shot lead over Rickie Fowler, and it was mostly due to his putting. According to Justin Ray of ESPN, Woods not only led the field in strokes gained putting this week at 2.81, he also bested his own personal mark of 2.34, set at the 2004 Wachovia Championship. It’s an impossible thing to back up with stats, but it just seemed that whenever he got on the greens this week, that putts were either going to drop, or he wasn’t going to leave himself with a difficult two-putt. We saw this same thing a few weeks ago at the Cadillac after he got that impromptu putting lesson from Steve Stricker, and there’s an argument to be made that when he putts like this, Woods is pretty much impossible to beat. Now, it wasn’t all positive for Woods, as his tee shots were leaking and the approaches into greens could have been better, but that’s probably just a case of looking too hard for faults, especially when he putts like this:

For Woods, the obvious focus is now on the majors, and most notably, the Masters in a couple of weeks. He’s been installed as the heavy favourites by the bookmakers, and it’s expected that he will be taking home his fifth green jacket, despite not winning the tournament since 2005. With a field as good as the one that will be at the Masters, it’s a little ludicrous to assume that one player has a huge advantage, but considering Woods’ track record at Augusta and the manner in which he’s dominating the game right now, it’s easy to see him picking up his first major since the 2008 U.S. Open. As nice as these wins are, Woods will always be judged on his major championship performances, and until he wins another one, fairly or unfairly, there will be questions about where his game is.
Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Tiger Woods -13
  • 2. Justin Rose -11
  • T3. Mark Wilson -8
  • T3. Keegan Bradley -8
  • T3. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano -8
  • T3. Rickie Fowler -8

Shots of the tournament
This is not as easy as Nicholas Thompson made it look. With his ball partially submerged in the water on 17, Thompson rolls up his pants and sticks one within a couple of feet. In case you’re ever in that position, try and play it like a bunker shot, hitting a couple of inches behind the ball, but good luck.
Also, Sergio Garcia had an up-and-down week to say the least, ending with him withdrawing after the horn sounded on Sunday halting play due to a potential tornado in the area. Before he did that, he climbed a tree on the tenth hole and hit a one-handed, backwards shot with the toe of the club and actually managed to get it back into the fairway. The entire video is worth watching:

Casual swearing of the week
If you had to pick the player most likely to swear on the course, good shot or bad, Ian Poulter would be at the top of the list. In Saturday’s third round, Poulter REALLY wanted his tee shot on the par-3 2nd to sit on the green:

Sometimes golf just isn’t fair
In Friday’s second round, Graham DeLaet nearly jarred one for eagle on the par-5 sixth hole. Unfortunately for him, his ball hit the flag and rolled 40 feet away from the hole. This really isn’t an out of the ordinary occurrence, just ask Sergio Garcia who famously complained one day after the Open Championship that those things just seemed to happen to him more than other players. What took place after with DeLaet’s playing partner Chad Campbell is what makes this unique:

Good on DeLaet for making the birdie save from long distance, which helped him get above the cut line.
The stupid thing Johnny Miller said this week
We talked about this a few weeks ago when Johnny Miller criticized the playful Twitter banter of Poulter and Graeme McDowell, but once again, NBC’s lead analyst decided to take a shot at one of Europe’s best players. During Saturday’s third round, Miller suggested that Justin Rose has underachieved in his career based on his four career victories. It’s a fair comment that Rose probably hasn’t won as much as he should have, but Miller is once again completely ignoring every other professional tour in the world, and focusing only on Rose’s four PGA Tour wins. Rose’s 13 wins as a professional is not a small accomplishment, and every single one of his four PGA Tour wins have come at big tournaments, winning the Memorial and AT&T National in 2010, the BMW in 2011 and the WGC-Cadillac last year. There’s a reason that Rose is the fifth ranked player in the world, and considered a contender in every tournament he enters. Tim Rosaforte and Brandel Chamblee from the Golf Channel referenced his four career wins before Sunday’s broadcast as well, so it’s not just Miller who is pumping the pro-American slant.
Other notes

  • Notables missing the cut: Geoff Ogilvy, Branden Grace, Russell Henley, Tim Clark, Robert Garrigus, Ernie Els, Ryan Moore, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Bo Van Pelt, Webb Simpson and Scott Piercy
  • Fowler is taking a little bit of heat for his aggressive approach into 16 that essentially cost him the tournament, but I really don’t understand why. Knowing Woods was in the bunker, and having just cut the lead to two shots, Fowler saw an opening and took an aggressive line at the flag, and the ball ended up in the water. He probably looked at the situation and figured that with only two holes left, he needed to make a move, and he went for it. Love the mindset, it was just poor execution on his part.
  • Mike Weir withdrew midway through his third round citing a rib injury. Nothing official yet, but there are reports that he could be out for a little while, which would put his appearance at the Masters in jeopardy.
  • Couldn’t help but notice the name of Camilo Villegas on the positive side of the leaderboard this week. After his breakout in 2010-2011, it’s been a bit of a rough go for him over the last year or so, but the PGA Tour would love to see him get back on track. He’s a very marketable player for them, especially in non-North American markets.
  • Happy to see that my darkhorse pick for the Malaysian Open this week, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, came through and won for me at 56-1. And no, I still have no clue on how to pronounce his name.
  • Any chance we’ll be getting a mea culpa from Chamblee for his assertion from a few months ago that Woods needed to fire Sean Foley and go back to Butch Harmon? Yeah, right.

3 Comments on “Tiger Woods gets eighth win at Bay Hill”

  1. Pingback: Martin Laird wins the Valero Texas Open | AdamSarson.com

  2. Pingback: 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Preview | AdamSarson.com

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