Tiger Woods earned his first PGA Tour victory in 30 months, moved to No. 6 in the world

March 26, 2012


Tiger Woods earned his first PGA Tour victory in 30 months, moved to No. 6 in the world

By Steve DiMeglio

ORLANDO – Next stop, Augusta National. So said Tiger Woods after he earned his first PGA Tour victory in 30 months, moved to No. 6 in the world and in the process boosted his confidence heading into the Masters, where he’ll go for his fifth green jacket.

After winning his record seventh Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday at wind-whipped, baked-out Bay Hill, Woods said he’d go back to work this week before heading to Augusta National for the Masters in April.

“I still need some work, and it’s going to be good to get a week off and work on a few things,” Woods said after earning his 72nd PGA Tour win, third on the all-time list. “I enjoyed the progression we made this week. Each day there was a little bit of fine-tuning here and there, and we were able to make those adjustments, which was good, and especially with the conditions getting more difficult on the weekend. I was able to hit some really good shots the last two days, and that’s a very good sign going into Augusta. I understand how to play Augusta National, and it’s just a matter of executing the game plan.”

With a final-round, 2-under-par 70, Woods won by five shots over Graeme McDowell. Woods took control of the event with a 65 in the second round, held a one-shot lead after 54 holes and finished at 13-under 275. Now just one behind Jack Nicklaus and 10 behind all-time leader Sam Snead in Tour victories, the victory was Woods’ first since winning the BMW Championship in September of 2009. Woods won the Australia Masters two months later before his public and personal life was shattered by scandal and his body soon started to break down.

Sean Foley, Woods’ swing coach since the 2010 PGA Championships, has enjoyed the progression, as well. And he said more is coming.

“Tomorrow’s a new day,” he said. “We have a long way to go, and he knows that. But I’m so pleased for him today. It was a tough day out there. But he’s putting in the work and he will continue to do so.”

Caddie Joe LaCava, who took over Woods’ bag six months ago, said Woods “was a man on a mission today.”

“He was out to prove himself,” LaCava said. “He told me all the hard work has paid off. And there’s more work to do, and he’ll do it. … He’s very jacked. This win will give him a lot of confidence. He knows all the hard work is paying off. This win has been coming. He probably wishes the Masters started tomorrow.”


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