Victory is the ideal Masters tune-up for Woods

Tiger Woods completed his tournament preparation for next month's US Masters in the best possible way by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando yesterday.



The American world number one, who said at the start of the week he had finally shaken off the rust after eight months on the sidelines, came from five strokes behind to triumph by a shot.

"It's always nice to win a tournament pre Augusta and I was able to do that again this year," Woods told reporters after beating overnight leader Sean O'Hair with a birdie on the final hole.

"It's a validation of what I've been working on from the physical standpoint ... but also the work I've been doing with (swing coach) Hank (Haney). This win definitely validates all the things I've been trying to do."

Woods was delighted to visit the winner's circle again in only his third tournament since coming back from reconstructive knee surgery.

He made his hotly anticipated return at last month's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona, where he was eliminated in the second round, and then tied for ninth in last week's WGC-CA Championship at Doral.

"This feels like we hadn't left," Woods said after clinching his 66th PGA Tour title with two birdies in the last four holes at the Bay Hill Club and a closing three-under-par 67.

"You just remember how to do it. It hasn't been that long for me but you just have that feel of what to do and it's a matter of getting it done.

"As I look back at my three tournaments, I've gotten better at each one and that was the whole idea was to keep progressing to Augusta," the 14-times major winner added.

"I was hoping I could get my game where I could feel hitting shots again because I'd been only on the range and putting at home.

"Doral was great for that because I got better every day with my feel. This week I came right out of the gate and I had it just because I had basically got it down at Doral."

Woods, who will be bidding for a fifth Masters title in his next start, produced superb form from tee to green at Doral but struggled with his putting. At Bay Hill, he putted well and was therefore able to score well.

As for the perfect combination at Augusta National for the April 9-12 Masters, he said with a flashing smile: "I'd like to hit the ball like I did at Doral and putt like I did this week."

On Sunday, Woods sank a 16-footer in fading light to birdie the final hole and claim a record sixth victory at Bay Hill.

"It was uphill and, not only that, it was into the grain, left to right," he said of his final stroke of the week.

"I kept telling myself, with the temperature getting a little cooler, this putt is going to be a little bit slower because of that. I hit a pure putt, hit it really solid and it held its line all the way there."

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'