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Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

After three years of domestic turmoil that affected his career, Tiger Woods is back on top of world golf

|  By Vincent Ezemeke  |  Apr. 8, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

BY winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, Tiger Woods has reclaimed the ranking as the world’s No1 golfer for the first time since he was brought low by scandal. With his eighth Bay Hill course triumph, 37-year-old Woods replaced Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy atop the rankings and set the seal on an extraordinary comeback after a spectacular fall from personal and professional grace.

“I play well here,” said Woods, who earned $1.08 million in prize money after a closing round of two-under 70. That is about as simple as it gets. It is a by-product of hard work and patience.” It took an extra day, but Woods out-dueled fellow American Rickie Fowler down the stretch, winning the $6.2 million event in Orlando, Florida by two strokes. Woods has won 14 majors in his career and had previously spent a record 623 weeks on top of the world.

Woods in action
Woods in action

Woods had not led the rankings for nearly three years, after injuries and an infamous scandal saw him stumble. He fell to his lowest rank on November 11, 2011 when he dropped to 58th in the world. His woes began in 2009 when a US tabloid aired claimed he had an affair with a nightclub manageress. Two days later, amid speculations about his marriage, he was slightly injured when he crashed his car near his home.

In December of that year, Woods issued two statements admitting to serial marital infidelity and announced he would take a break from golf. He later said that he had undergone therapy to help him change his behaviour. He returned to golf at the 2010 Masters in April, but his marriage was over and his divorce with former model Elin Nordegren was granted in August. His game had clearly suffered during the turmoil and his return to the top took three years.

Last week, Woods announced that he was dating US ski star Lindsey Vonn, and this weekend’s tournament seems to have confirmed his return to form. “The first step in the process was getting healthy. Once I got there, then my game turned,” Woods said. “I’ve won six times on the tour the last couple of years. That’s not bad.” Woods also claimed his 77th PGA tour victory – his 99th professional victory – in his final tune-up event for next month’s Masters.

The victory followed a severe thunder storm on Monday, March 25, that prompted the postponement of the fourth round. Woods and playing partner Fowler, began on the third hole on Tuesday with woods quickly setting the tone with birdies on a pair of par-fives.

He finished on 18 with a bogey but it was enough to reach 13-under 275, giving him the win and propelling him to the No1 spot for the first time since October 2010. “I am getting back to winning golf tournaments,” Woods said. “I won some golf tournaments the last couple years so consequently I moved up.”

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