Tiger Woods finally broke his career-long, two-and-a-half-year dry spell at Bay Hill Club on Sunday to win the 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational. The former No. 1 player in the world last won an official event on the PGA Tour in September of 2009 at the BMW Championship. This week's win was his 7th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and his 72nd career victory. It's also Woods' first win since he and swing coach Sean Foley began working together in the summer of 2010.
Bay Hill was challenging, especially on Sunday with high winds and tough hole locations, resulting in an average score of 2 over par. After three rounds of 69, 65 and a 71, Woods began the tournament on Sunday in the lead at 11-under par, one shot ahead of Graeme McDowell and three shots ahead of Ernie Els and Ian Poulter. McDowell doubled-bogeyed the par-4 first hole to give Woods a three-stroke lead out the gate. McDowell eagled the par-5 sixth hole to make up for his terrible start, but he laid up into a bunker and made bogey on the par-5 12th hole, failing to put pressure on the leader. After losing his tee shots right and into fairway bunkers on the 10th and 15th holes, Woods saved pars with a long two-putt and a par putt from 15 feet. Woods finished with a 2-under par 70, a five-stroke victory over Graeme McDowell, to claim his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
All facets of Woods' game seemed to be coming together this weekend. This was his first tournament with all 4 rounds under par, and he's consistently hitting fairways and greens, shaping the ball, and making putts, as well as that mental toughness he's been known for. The 2012 Masters Tournament is just 2 weeks away, where Woods has won 4 times and Phil Mickelson 3 times.
Full PGA Tour Leaderboard
NOTE: Tournament host Arnold Palmer was taken to the hospital before the end of the final round, apparently due to high blood pressure from new medication. He spent the night at the hospital, but is reported to be fine and in no danger.