Ranking Tiger Woods' 8 Victories at Bay Hill Club and Lodge
You know we're talking about something special when we start ranking a player's collection of wins at a certain tournament.
And like him or not, Tiger Woods has done some very special things in golf.
The fact that he's racked up eight wins in Arnold Palmer's annual tournament at Bay Hill Club and Lodge is just short of amazing. The fact that he's also won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational eight times, the Farmers Insurance Open and the WGC-Cadillac Championship seven times and the Memorial five times is also mind-boggling.
As for the eight wins at Arnie's place, it might seem difficult to rank them. But because of the historical significance of them, it's really not.
Here's how I see them.
8. 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Win No. 5 was not easy by any means as Tiger Woods had to make a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to beat PGA Tour journeyman Bart Bryant and win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Woods took a few steps toward the hole as the ball was rolling and slammed his hat to the ground when the ball hit the bottom of the cup.
He needed to shoot rounds of 66-66 to beat Bryant, who came home in 68-67.
The win was Woods' fifth consecutive to start the 2008 season, which was to be highlighted in June by his playoff win in the U.S. Open.
Winning at Bay Hill gave Woods 64 PGA Tour victories and tied him with Ben Hogan in that category.
7. 2002 Bay Hill Invitational
Tiger Woods isn't used to shooting rounds of 74 at Bay Hill, but he did so in the middle of his third consecutive win in the Bay Hill Invitational.
That didn't make much of a difference, however, as he rolled to a four-shot win over Michael Campbell.
Woods actually trailed Phil Mickelson by a shot with nine holes to go, but Mickelson bogeyed the final three holes to hand the win to Woods, who won three straight events at Bay Hill, becoming the first to do so.
On the victory scoreboard, this was Woods' 30th on the PGA Tour. It also happened at age 26, making him the youngest ever to reach 30.
6. 2001 Bay Hill Invitational
Sometimes, being lucky can trump being good.
Tiger Woods won his second consecutive Bay Hill Invitational in 2001, and the 25th PGA Tour victory in his 96th start needed a bit of luck.
Phil Mickelson was his chief nemesis in this one and Lefty took the lead with a pair of birdies late in the final round.
Woods was wild off the tee with his driver all day and managed just two fairways on the back nine under the heat of the final round. On the par five 16th hole, his hook off the tee barely managed to stay in bounds, but he was able to rip a 7-iron onto the green and two-putted to tie Mickelson.
The driver nearly bit him again on the final hole. His tee shot headed out of bounds, but hit a spectator and stopped short of OB. A spectator picked up the ball but quickly put it down. Woods then got relief from a cart path before drilling a 5-iron 195 yards over the water to the 18th green.
You know what happened then. He dropped the 15-footer for a birdie and the win.
5. 2000 Bay Hill Invitational
In 2000, Tiger Woods was still a fresh-faced youngster, but he was in the middle of a spectacular run of golf that might never be duplicated.
That was the year he won his first Bay Hall Invitational, the previous name of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
How well did he play? He didn't make a bogey over the last 34 holes of the event. Woods began the final day a pair of shots ahead of Davis Love III, but expanded that to four, which was the margin of victory.
The win was Woods' 10th in his last 16 starts on the PGA Tour and the 18th win on tour in a career that hadn't reached four years at that point.
4. 2003 Bay Hill Invitational
Doing something well four times in a row isn't an easy task, especially when the something in this case is a big-time golf tournament.
Tiger Woods won the Bay Hill Invitational for the fourth consecutive year in 2003 and did it with ease. He started out with a ho-hum 70, but then blistered Arnie's place in the final rounds, 65-66-68, to win by 11 shots over Kirk Triplett.
But the final round of 68 certainly wasn't easy. He came down with food poisoning the night before and was able to make his way around the golf course, but not without painful episodes of dry heaves and sitting down when necessary.
It didn't make it any easier that steady rain put a damper on Sunday's proceedings.
3. 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Drama is never in short supply when Tiger Woods is involved in a golf tournament, and the 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational had plenty.
He came to the 72nd hole Sunday evening needing a birdie to beat Sean O'Hair and, as he did a great deal earlier in his career, he made the 12-footer look routine. Woods was behind O'Hair by a shot going into Sunday and was actually five behind at one point, but did what he needed to do for the win. He shot 67, while O'Hair could do no better than a 73.
The significance of his sixth win at Bay Hill was it broke a winless streak since the 2008 U.S. Open and was just the third start for Woods since his post-Open knee surgery and the eight-month layoff that followed.
2. 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Tiger Woods' eighth win at Bay Hill was very solid on the course as he posted a 13-under par total of 275 and won by a pair of shots over Justin Rose. The win came in the early stages of what was to become a five-win season for him.
This victory, however, was more meaningful for what it meant off the course. Woods climbed back into the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings and put his name on the same line in the record book as Sam Snead's. Winning for the eighth time at Bay Hill tied Snead for the most victories in the same PGA Tour event.
Snead's record might be a bit more impressive, however, considering he won the Greater Greensboro Open for the first time in 1938 and won his last one there in 1965.
His 77th victory on the PGA Tour also left him five behind Snead for the top spot in that category, as well.
1. 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Call this Tiger Woods' coming-back party.
His seventh win at Bay Hill was his first win in two-and-a-half years and allowed him to poke his head through the thick layer of clouds that had enveloped his life since the scandal involving his personal life and marriage exploded on Thanksgiving in 2009.
Woods started quickly with rounds of 69-65 and finished 71-70. He did enough to win, taking a one-shot lead into the final round and eventually winning by five shots over Graeme McDowell.
The victory didn't get him any closer to Jack Nicklaus' major title total of 18, but Woods' 72nd win on the PGA Tour got him to within one of the Golden Bear's total of 73 all-time PGA Tour wins.
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