Can Tiger Woods finish the week on top of world as well as head over heels?

The American golfer can replace Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings with victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Tiger Woods could be no.1 twice over come Sunday, top of the world golf rankings as well as the affections of Lindsey Vonn. The Facebook confirmation of Woods’s romance with the snow queen of American sport contradicts his self-imposed privacy policy. “I never talk about my private life” is a familiar refrain on the golf courses of the world, rendered ridiculous by the online revelation of true love shared with billions.

Thus in one click has Woods invited all manner of queries when he addresses the media ahead of his defence of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. This is where, a year ago, Woods claimed his first victory since the sex scandal that shattered his marriage in November 2009. He has won four times since, twice this year, including his last outing at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami, where he spent the week with Vonn on his yacht ‘Privacy’.

The formal announcement of a relationship on the Monday of a tournament was entirely by design. In the thinking of Woods it gets an awkward detail out of the way. The story will be 48 hours old by the time he is confronted by a microphone, at which point he will refer the honourable gentlemen to his Facebook page and return to the subject of chipping and putting, arguably more interesting than his skiing clinics with Vonn, and certainly of more significance.

Woods was impressive in posting his 76th PGA Tour win at Doral, where a putting lesson from his old chum Steve Stricker led to the best display of his career on the greens. A minimalist 100 putts over 72 holes kept Woods two shots clear of the pack, ironically led by Stricker. A repeat at Bay Hill, a tournament he has won seven times, would see Woods supplant Rory McIlroy at the top of the rankings for the first time since October 2010.

The field along the Florida Coast is only marginally shallower than Miami, and includes the returning Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood, all sharpening games ahead of the Masters next month.

Another on an upward curve is Luke Donald, whose fourth place in Tampa last week was his best of the year. Donald has migrated half way across the world to contest the Malaysian Open, a journey  he made light of on setting foot at the Kuala Lumpa Golf and Country Club. “Any time you have a 12-hour time difference there's a bit of adjusting to do, but I've never really had a problem with jetlag in the past,” Donald said. “I’ve travelled a lot as a golfer and that has certainly helped me become a global player, learning how to deal with different courses, different grasses and different types of competition.”

The appearance fee and the ticking of a European Tour box on his schedule offer some compensation for the right field hike during the build-up to Augusta. Donald has two weeks to resume sleeping patterns on the America clock, and besides, his chance of a first victory since Wentworth last May is, perhaps, a good enough reason to experience Malaysian hospitality.     

“The results in my first couple of events weren’t as I’d have liked, but last week there was a lot of improvement,” he said. “I’ve felt a lot more comfortable with my game and a lot more in control of the golf ball. I came up a little short in the end, but the game feels like it’s trending in the right direction. We’ve got the Masters in a few weeks’ time and I’m excited about that.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015