Tigers Back


Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Was Tiger Woods ever really gone?
Sure didnt seem like it Sunday at Bay Hill where golfs biggest stud did what nearly everyone expected him to do, he erased a five-shot deficit to Sean OHair and won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the sixth time when he dropped a 15-foot birdie putt that made the ground shake.
The drama. The putt. The fist-pump. All is right in the world of golf again.
Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer
Tiger Woods is congratulated by tournament host Arnold Palmer once again. (Getty Images)
No matter what Woods did at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it was going to the biggest news of the week. If he wouldnt have won wed be heading to the Masters sniffing Azaleas with the anticipation of Woods collecting his first victory since last years U.S. Open.
Since he did win, it sets up Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson hype heading into Augusta that reaches heights weve never seen before. For the first time, both of the games two biggest draws will drive down Magnolia Lane in peak form.
But anything other than a Woods victory here at Bay Hill wasnt an option. Especially when, while he was standing over his putt on the 18th green ' darkness close behind ' he heard someone scream out the dreaded p-word.
Yeah, some guy yelled out playoff, Woods said. And. . . .
The rest is history.
OHairs five-shot lead was whittled down to two after the third hole and down to one after seven. But an OHair birdie on the ninth gave him a two-shot lead with nine remaining. Woods most crucial shot of the day was a 15-foot par save on the par-3 14th hole, then he followed with a 25-footer for birdie on 15 that tied the ballgame.
Woods took his first lead in a Tour event since the U.S. Open when OHair made bogey on 16, gave it back with a bogey on 17, then made birdie on 18 to capture his 66th PGA Tour title.
It was unbelievable drama, said Zach Johnson, the third member of the days final group with Woods and OHair. I tried to stay in my own world. . . but its kind of hard when youre seeing what youre seeing.
Too much Tiger, too much Tiger, too much Tiger. The media hears those criticisms often. But such thoughts are ridiculous. There were more people following Woods during his four rounds than followed everyone else combined during the same span.
When we write about him, people read. When we talk about him, people listen. When hes not at an event and we still talk about him, people still listen. Anyone who has something negative to say about the coverage he receives just doesnt get it. No one else can do the things he can do with a golf club in his hands. No one.
Its not like its the Tiger show and Im just out there to watch him, OHair said, with Woods standing in the back of the room awaiting his turn to speak with the media. And I think thats the one thing the media thinks about the guys out here, and its not about that. Were trying to win golf tournaments, and he just happens to be that good.
Yes, he is. So good that he has the ability to make people think he never left.
Its like Stevie (Williams) was saying out there, this feels like we hadnt left, Woods said. You just remember how to do it. It hasnt been that long for me, but you just have that feel of what to do and its a matter of getting it done.
Was he ever really gone?
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • Full Coverage - Arnold Palmer Invitational