Arnold Palmer Invitational 2013: Tiger Woods Will Roar to 8th Win at Bay Hill

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIMarch 23, 2013

Tiger Woods is four back of Justin Rose (left) entering the weekend.
Tiger Woods is four back of Justin Rose (left) entering the weekend.David Cannon/Getty Images

Three consecutive bogeys to close Tiger Woods' Friday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational certainly wasn't the ideal way for the prolific golfer to enter the weekend. Despite that collapse, though, Woods is still in optimal position to win for the eighth time at Bay Hill.

The rest of the day was kinder to Woods, whose round of two-under 70 was highlighted by an eagle at the par-five sixth hole, where a majestic iron shot from 215 yards wound up inside 10 feet. After all, he was five under and just one shot behind leader Justin Rose before unraveling at the end.

Rainfall picked up in Orlando as Woods and his competitors Rose and Ernie Els wrapped up their round, which made things all the more difficult as Woods' swing began to betray him.

Who knows better how to get it done on the weekend at Bay Hill than Woods, though?

If tying Sam Snead for the record of most victories at one event weren't enough to get him motivated, Woods' 77th career triumph on the PGA Tour would allow him to ascend back to No. 1 in the world. He would overtake his new Nike teammate Rory McIlroy for the top spot.

Not only would this development signal that, yes, for any doubters, Woods is indeed back, but it would also be a wonderful step toward the two titans possibly battling it out head-to-head in the years to come.

A prospective rivalry between McIlroy and Woods—who have also forged a budding friendship in the midst of the young Northern Irishman's meteoric rise—would no doubt be spurred if the two kept flip-flopping atop the world rankings.

Woods' win may also spark some inspiration in McIlroy, who showed much better form at the WGC-Cadillac Championship but has otherwise had a disappointing 2013 campaign.

This would mark Woods' third win on Tour, while no one else has won multiple times. The balance of power in the sport is definitely beginning to tilt back in Woods' favor.

The ramifications of a Woods victory come Sunday stretch beyond this renowned tournament venue. It is critical to the game of golf, and it adds to the excitement leading up to the first major of the year, The Masters.

In golf-speak, Woods is "close." That means he should easily be able to make a run over the next 36 holes and log yet another chapter of history into the record books—literature that Woods habitually inhabits.

And as we've all witnessed over the years, whenever something magical is on the line and Woods' game is on, he typically doesn't fail to deliver the goods.