Tiger's Bay Hill win: How it happened

Tiger Woods during the the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.

Tiger Woods during the the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.

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Avondale, LA - TPC Louisiana

8:29:00 AM ET. 04/24/2014




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ORLANDO, Fla. — Tiger Woods finally brought the buzz back to the very thing that made him famous — winning.

Two weeks after another injury scare, Woods looked dominant as ever in that red shirt on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

It was his first PGA Tour victory since a sex scandal at the end of 2009 led to one of the greatest downfalls in sports. And with the Masters only two weeks away, Woods looks more capable than ever of resuming his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus in the majors.

Woods closed with a 2-under 70 for a five-shot win over Graeme McDowell.

The question two weeks ago was when he could play again. Now, it's whether he can get back to being the player who once ruled golf.

Woods refused to acknowledge this as his first PGA Tour win in 923 days, dating to Sept. 13, 2009, at the BMW Championship. He counts the unofficial Chevron World Challenge last December. Even so, this was significant — a full tour event against a strong field, and a performance so clean that he was never seriously challenged on the back nine.

The final hole was a mere formality, and Woods tapped his putter on the ground waiting for his turn, knowing that 30 months without a win on the PGA Tour was about to end. He walked off the green with his arm extended, waving his cap to a raucous gallery.

"It does feel good. It feels really good," Woods said before signing his card. "It's been a lot of hard work."

See how Tiger's round unfolded, shot-by-shot:

• • •

No. 18: Par 4, 458 yards

Tiger won't need a dramatic birdie on the 18th to secure this win. He can simply walk down the fairway and bask in the fact that his losing streak is one hole from being finished.

Off the tee: Tiger wastes little time, hammering his tee ball down the middle of the fairway. McDowell hammers driver down the middle as well.

Approach shots: From 179 yards, Tiger plays a beautiful shot from left to right and will have about 30 feet for a birdie. McDowell follows the same line and will be putting first.

On the green: McDowell hits a nice lag to about two feet and picks up a finishing par. Tiger two-putts for a par and wins his seventh Arnold Palmer Invitational title.

Tiger on the day: 2 under (13 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 17: Par 3, 221 yards

Tiger has plenty of lead to work with to not take any chances over the final two holes.

Off the tee: With 5-iron, Tiger lands on the green and about 60 feet under the hole. McDowell uses 4-iron and takes it left and off the green.

Around the green: McDowell's birdie try goes left of the flag and settles about 12 feet from the pin. Tiger's birdie attempt stays to the right and settles about three feet away from the hole. McDowell misses his par putt and picks up another bogey to fall back to 8 under, while Tiger puts it in the heart to extend his lead to five shots.

Tiger on the day: 2 under (13 under for the tournament)

• • •

No. 16: Par 5, 511 yards

It certainly hasn't been the cleanest round, but these conditions feel like a major. It's firm, fast, the greens are crusty and the wind is playing a factor.

Off the tee: Tiger uses 3-wood off the tee and smokes it up the middle of the fairway. McDowell takes driver and sends it up the middle as well, but is still behind Tiger.

Second shots: McDowell goes right of the green with his second shot, while Tiger takes 7-iron and puts it just off the back of the green.

Around the green: Putting from way off the green, McDowell plays a nice third shot to about four feet. Tiger hits his eagle attempt a bit too hard and it runs by the hole by about six feet. Tiger's birdie attempt runs out of speed and he picks up a par, while McDowell pulls his putt to the left and also makes par. Tiger takes a four-shot lead into the final two holes.

Tiger on the day: 2 under (13 for the tournament)

• • •

No. 15: Par 4, 467 yards

This is the hole that Tiger hit out-of-bounds to the left on Saturday, and he'll be sure not to make that mistake again.

Off the tee: Tiger takes fairway metal and sends it right and into a fairway bunker, while McDowell hits a perfect tee ball into the middle of the fairway. Tiger is in disbelief that his ball didn't clear the bunker.

Approach shots: From 189 yards, McDowell plays a nice shot to about 30 feet right of the pin. With trees right in front of him, Tiger cannot see the flagstick from the bunker, Tiger comes up well short of the green and in front of the bunkers lining the putting surface.

Around the green: Tiger hits his third shot onto the green and leaves himself about 12 feet for par, which he drains to save par. McDowell's birdie putt stays right and he taps in for a two-putt par to stay four shots behind Woods. Tiger swung his right fist as his par save dropped in the hole, showing how important that was for him.

Tiger on the day: 2 under (13 under for the tournament)

• • •

No. 14: Par 3, 215 yards

McDowell is just unable to get any momentum going. Whenever he hits a good shot, he can't capitalize with his next.

On the tee: With 4-iron in hand, Tiger comes up well short and right, getting a bit too much of the tee box before impact. McDowell uses 3-hybrid and also comes up short and into a greenside bunker.

Around the green: McDowell gets too much ball out of the bunker and flies the green and lands in the rough on the opposite side of the green. McDowell two-putts from there for bogey. Tiger plays a nice chip shot to about four feet under the hole, but misses the putt to the right and taps in for a bogey. He stays four ahead of McDowell with four holes to play.

Tiger on the day: 2 under (13 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 13: Par 4, 370 yards

It may as well have been a birdie for Tiger on No. 12, extending his lead to four shots and will play super conservative to the clubhouse.

Off the tee: Tiger takes fairway metal off the tee and pummels it up the middle of the fairway, while McDowell plays hybrid up the right side.

Approach shots: McDowell hits a beautiful shot to about six feet above the hole, while Tiger takes no chances with the water in front and hits it about 40 feet past the hole.

On the green: Tiger gives his lengthy birdie try a run, settling about two inches in front of the hole and taps in for a par. And McDowell again doesn't take advantage, sending his birdie try by on the right and makes a two-footer for par. Tiger remains four shots ahead.

Tiger on the day: 3 under (14 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 12: Par 5, 574 yards

Now holding a three-shot lead, Tiger may not attack this green in two.

Off the tee: McDowell smokes his drive up the right side and Tiger yanks his drive to the left and will have to deal with some trees out of the rough.

Second shots: McDowell uses fairway metal and he finds a bunker in front of the green, which will provide some obstacles. Tiger also takes fairway metal from the rough, and puts it about 30 yards in front of the green.

Third shots: McDowell gets out of the bunker cleanly, but comes up well short and will have about 50 feet for birdie. Tiger also comes up short, but will be putting from about 25 feet.

On the green: McDowell hits it too hard on his birdie putt and runs it about 10 feet past. Tiger hits a nice birdie putt, leaving himself about 18 inches for par. McDowell's par putt lips out and picks up bogey, while Tiger taps in for par to extend his lead back to four shots.

Tiger on the day: 3 under (14 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 11: Par 4, 438 yards

It is much windier than it has been at any point this week. It shouldn't affect Tiger, just likely forcing him to play more conservatively to protect his lead.

Off the tee: Tiger takes iron off the tee and plays his signature "stinger," taking it right up the middle of the fairway. McDowell plays a fairway metal off the tee and takes it up the right side and in the fairway.

Approach shots: Before both players get to their ball, a rules official catches up to Woods. It looks like the group is on the clock and received a warning. McDowell plays a nice second shot, landing nearly pin-high and it runs about 15 feet past the hole. Tiger's second shot is a poor one, missing his first green in regulation, hopping up into the gallery and he'll have a slick putt back down the green.

Around the green: Tiger gets a good lie in the rough and he chips it to about six feet under the hole, and he drains the par putt. McDowell drains his lengthy birdie putt to move to 11 under to cut Tiger's lead to three.

Tiger on the day: 3 under (14 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 10: Par 4, 400 yards

After a clean first nine, hitting every green and missing only one fairway, Tiger will likely go into conservative mode with a four-shot lead.

Off the tee: Taking fairway metal off the tee, Tiger hammers it, but it finds a fairway bunker on the right side and will present a tough second shot. McDowell takes the same line, but gets a good kick to the left and down the fairway.

Approach shots: With 116 yards left, Tiger aims to the left of a greenside bunker and flies all the way to the back of the green, setting up a 65-foot birdie try. McDowell only has 54 yards left and sticks it to about six feet past the hole.

On the green: Tiger's birdie try comes up short and leaves himself about four feet for par. He makes that for a good two-putt par. McDowell doesn't take advantage of his nice second shot, missing his birdie attempt and taps in for par. Tiger stays four shots ahead.

Tiger on the day: 3 under (14 under for the tournament)

• • •

No. 9: Par 4, 474 yards

The birdie at No. 8 seems to have energized Tiger. A birdie at that par 4 is a definite bonus.

Off the tee: Tiger blasts driver up the left side, over a bunker and into the intermediate cut of rough, giving him a great angle to attack the back right pin location. It is Tiger's first missed fairway of the day, but by a foot. McDowell goes to the right and will have a tree to contend with.

• Approach shots: McDowell gets his second shot to the green, but runs through the green and into the rough on the back. Tiger doesn't like his second shot, but he puts it about 20 feet to the left of the pin.

Around the green: McDowell plays a nice chip to about three feet, but misses the comebacker and settles for a bogey. Tiger misses his birdie just to the right and he taps in for a par, but now leads by four strokes with nine holes to go.

Tiger on the day: 3 under (14 for tournament)

• • •

No. 8: Par 4, 460 yards

Tiger is definitely making McDowell beat him, hitting every fairway and green in regulation.

Off the tee: Both McDowell and Tiger use fairway metals and hit the fairway, with Tiger's ball running down the middle of the fairway.

Approach shots: From 182 yards, Tiger tests the wind quite a bit before his shot - it is gusting from the right. Whatever he figured out, it worked. He hits the left side of the green and it rolls out to about four feet to the right of the hole. McDowell also hits the green, about 30 feet to the right of the hole.

On the green: McDowell two-putts for a par, while Tiger knocks in his short birdie putt to extend his lead to three strokes.

Tiger on the day: 3 under (14 under for tournament)

• • •

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• • •

No. 7: Par 3, 199 yards

After an opening double-bogey, McDowell is keeping the pressure on Tiger. McDowell is 1 under on his round.

Off the tee: McDowell uses 5-iron and comes up short, landing on the front of the green and about 70 feet away from the pin. Tiger takes 6-iron and attacks the pin, landing about 20 feet past the hole location on the far right of the green.

On the green: McDowell's birdie putt carries a lot of speed, but settles about three feet past the hole, which he makes for par. Tiger plays a nice birdie putt to about eight inches for another easy par.

Tiger on the day: 2 under (13 under for the tournament)

• • •

No. 6: Par 5, 555 yards

Tiger is 11 under on 13 par 5s for the week, the best in the field. Tiger has hit every fairway and every green on the day.

Off the tee: With driver in hand, Tiger smacks a small fade over the water and into the middle of the fairway. McDowell clears the water by only a few yards and it bounces into the middle of the fairway, about even with Tiger.

Second shots: From 267 yards, Tiger plays his best shot of the day and puts it on the green, with about 15 feet left for eagle. McDowell also puts it on the green, using fairway metal to about 60 feet under the hole.

On the green: McDowell drains the lengthy eagle putt to move to 11 under. Tiger watches his eagle attempt not start enough left, but taps in for a birdie. Tiger's lead is cut to two shots.

Tiger on the day: 2 under (13 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 5: Par 4, 390 yards

Tiger is creating some breathing room, three clear of McDowell and four clear of Ian Poulter.

Off the tee: Tiger takes 3-iron off the tee and sends it up the left side of the fairway. McDowell does the same and both should be able to attack the pin on the right side of the green.

Approach shots: McDowell puts it in the middle of the green, leaving himself more than 30 feet for birdie. From 169 yards, Tiger lofts it way up in the air and lands it about 18 feet beyond the hole, where he'll have a uphill putt for birdie.

On the green: McDowell finds the line with his birdie attempt, but comes up about two feet short, which he makes for a par. Tiger's birdie putt doesn't start enough left and he two-putts for a par as well. Tiger maintains his three-shot lead over McDowell.

Tiger on the day: 1 under (12 under for the tournament)

• • •

No. 4: Par 5, 561 yards

Tiger is 10 under on the par 5s this week and will need to continue that trend today.

Off the tee: McDowell takes his drive up the left side and will be able to attack the green, while Tiger takes the same line and blows it past McDowell's tee ball and near the middle of the fairway.

Second shots: McDowell lays up in the middle of the fairway, leaving himself around 100 yards to the green. Tiger has a much longer second shot than he has had all week (267 yards to the hole and into the wind), and he pulls fairway metal and actually gets over the green in two, coming to rest about 15 yards off the back of the green. The pin is in the back.

Third shots: McDowell lands it hole-high, but it spins back under the hole and about 25 feet away from the pin. After getting relief from a valve cover, Tiger hits it a bit too firm and runs it past by about 20 feet.

On the green: McDowell picks up a two-putt par after missing his birdie just to the right. And Tiger nails his birdie putt, putting the right-to-left bender in the heart of the cup to extend his lead to three strokes.

Tiger on the day: 1 under (12 under for the tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Ian Poulter birdies the par-4 5th hole to move back to 8 under.

• • •

No. 3: Par 4, 434 yards

Tiger got through two of the hardest holes on the course at 1 over and will now get to some scoring holes.

Off the tee: Tiger uses fairway metal and hammers it down the middle of the fairway, about 20 yards past McDowell's tee ball.

Approach shots: McDowell puts his second shot into some greenside rough. From 141 yards, Tiger takes 9-iron and he knocks it to about five feet.

Around the green: McDowell rolls in a 45-foot birdie to move to 9 under, and Tiger answers with a birdie of his own to retain his two-shot lead.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 2: Par 3, 231 yards

Tiger couldn't have scripted a better start, as his lead balloons to three shots by only making a par at No. 1.

Off the tee: With 4-iron in hand at No. 2, Tiger hits the green in regulation, avoiding disaster at the dangerous par 3. He leaves himself about 50 feet to the flag. McDowell uses hybrid and comes to rest right behind Tiger's ball, so he'll give Woods a read on the putt.

On the green: Tiger's birdie putt misses to the left and runs about six feet past the hole. He misses the comebacker and picks up a bogey. McDowell two-putts for a par and is now only two shots back of Woods.

Tiger on the day: 1 over (10 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 1: Par 4, 461 yards

It is much breezier today, probably swirling around 15 mph, presenting a different challenge to those at the top of the leaderboard. Tiger is wearing his traditional Sunday garb - red shirt and black pants.

Off the tee: Tiger takes a fairway metal off the tee and hammers it up the left side, with the ball kicking off the left and into the middle of the fairway. McDowell follows suit, but he uses driver to do so.

Approach shots: From 186 yards, Tiger hits the green, about 20 feet beyond the hole. Meanwhile, McDowell puts his approach into a greenside bunker, where the ball buries.

Around the green: McDowell has to hammer his third shot out of the bunker and it runs across the green and into another bunker. Coming back, he knocks it past the flag and into the intermediate cut. He two-putts for double-bogey.

Tiger doesn't give his birdie putt enough gusto and he leaves it about 18 inches short. He taps it in for par and takes a three-shot lead.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for the tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Ernie Els three-putts the first green to pick up a bogey and fall back to 7 under. Ian Poulter picks up a bogey on No. 2 to also fall back to 7 under.

• • •

ROUND 3 COVERAGE

Tiger can now prove he is back

Jeff Rude: Outside of an errant tee shot, Tiger Woods showed that his ball striking is the best it has been in years. And, on Sunday, he'll face the ultimate litmus test to show the world that he is back. Story.

• • •

5 Things: Tiger's statistical dominance at Bay Hill

5 Things: Tiger Woods' statistical dominance at Bay Hill; another Graeme McDowell-Tiger showdown on Sunday; and Ian Poulter's resurgence at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Story.

• • •

Tiger fires 71 to take one-shot lead at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods moved ahead by as many as four strokes on Saturday, but a late double-bogey brought him back to the field and he'll take a one-shot lead into the final round at Bay Hill. Shot-by-shot

• • •

Graeme McDowell knows what to expect in showdown with Tiger

Graeme McDowell and Tiger Woods will share one commonality on Sunday: They are both looking for an elusive win. Story.

• • •

Ernie Els finding his game, but will it get him into Masters?

Sean Martin: Ernie Els doesn't have his invite to the Masters just yet. And, yes, he is thinking about it. The solution? Play like he did on Saturday, and the Augusta tee time will take care of itself. Story.

• • •

ROUND 2 COVERAGE

Tiger Woods vaults into a tie for the lead

Tiger Woods is back in a familiar position: atop the leaderboard at Bay Hill. Tiger fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to vault into a tie for the lead with Charlie Wi. Shot-by-shot

• • •

Wi, Tiger tied; McDowell, Dufner one shot back

Tiger Woods putted for birdie on every hole at Bay Hill on Friday. He shares the lead with Charlie Wi, while Graeme McDowell and Jason Dufner trail by one shot. Story.

• • •

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• • •

ROUND 1 COVERAGE

Tiger Woods off to a solid start

Tiger Woods took advantage of the par 5s on Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, using three birdies on the long holes to propel him to an opening 3-under 69 at Bay Hill. Shot-by-shot

• • •

Charlie Wi has a change in fortune

Jeff Rude: Charlie Wi posted an octuple bogey last week at the Transitions. He had a shaky track record at Bay Hill. So, of course, he is the early leader at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Story.

• • •

Ernie Els wants to move past Transitions collapse

Bay Hill notebook: Ernie Els says that he is over his bad finish at Transitions next week, and he wants everyone else to get over it as well. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson battles back to limit deficit. Notebook.

• • •

TOURNAMENT PREVIEW COVERAGE

Tiger says he is fine after scare

Hate To Be Rude: Tiger Woods gets a scare on Wednesday when he felt a twinge in his back, but says he is healthy and is showing a more cautious nature in dealing with injuries. Story.

• • •

Tiger needs to work on his short game

Jeff Rude: Tiger Woods seems to be healthy. And his ball-striking is impressive. It will be the work he does on the greens that will allow him to win over the next few weeks. Story.

• • •

Book review: Brad Klein weighs in on Hank Haney's book on Tiger Woods

In medicine, there’s a legally established principle of confidentially that survives the therapeutic relationship. Not so on the driving range, as Tiger Woods now knows thanks to Hank Haney's upcoming book "The Big Miss." Story.

• • •

Tiger has good and bad moments at Tavistock Cup

Tiger Woods seems to be healthy, but his game struggled a bit on Tuesday on Day 2 at the Tavistock Cup, settling for an even-par round during singles action. Round 2 recap

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