Golf: Tiger Woods ends 30-month title drought
27 March, 2012
ORLANDO: Tiger Woods snapped the longest winless drought of his career with a dominating five-shot victory over Graeme McDowell at the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday.
It marked the first PGA Tour victory for Woods in 30 months, ending a winless spell that coincided with the personal turmoil that followed a 2009 sex scandal. Woods drained a short par putt on the par-four 18 to complete his round of two-under 70 and post a 13-under 275 total at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge course. The 14-time major winner, wearing his Sunday red and black pants, celebrated his 72nd PGA Tour victory with a fist pump then the customary shaking of hands with runner-up McDowell, who finished at eight-under 280.
England's Ian Poulter finished in third seven shots behind Woods, while South Africa's Ernie Els was part of a group of seven golfers who tied for fourth. The win was the largest margin on the PGA Tour since Rory McIlroy won the 2011 US Open by eight shots. Now with the Masters just a couple of weeks off, Woods can try to continue his march towards Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors. Woods entered the final round with a one-shot lead on McDowell then seized command on Sunday with a flurry of birdies on the front nine. He compiled a four-shot lead midway through the round by making four birdies on the front. Woods, who has a formidable record as a frontrunner, is familiar with the Bay Hill course having lived in the area previously. He has a stunning 38-2 record on the PGA Tour when taking an outright lead into the fourth round. He was paired in the final group Sunday with McDowell, who rallied from four shots back to beat Woods in the 2010 Chevron World Challenge.