Tiger tames par-5s, ends drought

David Cannon/Getty Images

Tiger Woods wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational for his first PGA TOUR victory since September 2009.

Tiger Woods shot a 2-under 70 and finished at 13-under par to capture first place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It is his first win in an official PGA TOUR event since the BMW Championship in September 2009 and his first win in an official worldwide event since the JBWere Australian Masters in November 2009.

Woods ended his career-long drought of 26 PGA TOUR events and 30 official worldwide events without a victory in convincing fashion, extending his 1-shot 54-round lead to five shots on Sunday. It was the largest margin of victory on the PGA TOUR since Rory McIlroy won last year’s U.S. Open by eight strokes.

Since Woods’ last PGA TOUR win, there have been 71 different winners, 23 multiple winners and 37 first-time winners. Steve Stricker had the most wins during this span with five.

Tiger’s win was hardly surprising after he entered the day with a one-shot lead. Woods has now won all six times at Bay Hill when entering the final round with at least a share of the lead, and is 49-for-53 on the PGA TOUR in his career.

This is Tiger’s seventh win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, tied for his most victories in any single tournament. It is also one shy of the most by any golfer since 1920 in a single PGA TOUR event, a record set by Sam Snead with his eight wins at the Greater Greensboro Open.

How Woods Won

Woods showcased an all-around game, finishing tied for first in greens in regulation and fifth in percentage of putts made inside of 10 feet.

Tiger Woods
2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Woods also dominated the par-5s at Bay Hill, finishing -12 on those holes, the best mark in the field. Entering this tournament, Tiger was -101 on par-5s at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his career and +6 on par-3s and par-4s.

Tiger didn’t have an eagle in his four rounds but he created plenty of chances for himself. Woods had nine eagle putts, four more than any other golfer. Woods missed all nine eagle putts, but they led to eight birdies.

Stat of the tournament

Tiger Woods now has 72 career PGA TOUR victories, one shy of matching Jack Nicklaus for the second-most all-time. Woods got his 72nd win at age 36, Sam Snead, the all-time leader with 82 victories, got it at age 43, and Nicklaus reached 72 wins at age 44.