Tiger on the prowl for No.1 spot
When Tiger Woods announced he was dating ski star Lindsey Vonn, his rivals might have hoped that his form would go downhill.
But just five days after breaking the news, Woods is on the verge of scaling his own mountain and finally reaching the summit — the No.1 ranking.
Not since October 2010 has Woods held top spot, a position he commanded for 281 weeks before a marital scandal which ended in divorce.
In all, Woods has spent a record 623 weeks at the top — a record he will extend further with victory in Orlando.
And after firing a six-under 66 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the 37-year-old appears set to replace Rory McIlroy as the game’s leading player.
A two-shot lead over his nearest rivals Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and John Huh was carved out at Bay Hill, a course where he has already won seven titles.
Ominously for the chasing pack, on the 54 occasions Woods has taken a lead into a final round, he has triumphed 50 times.
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And with a score of 11-under on the board, it was little surprise that 14-time major winner Woods was delighted with his performance.
“I played halfway decent today and hit a lot of good shots,” he told Sky Sports.
“I made a few putts which was key today and I’m very pleased I picked up towards the middle part of the round.”
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Woods believes his experience at competing at the Florida course will give him an advantage over his challengers when he heads out to finish the job Sunday.
“Once we figure out what a golf course is like we figure out how to play on them and that’s been the case in my scheduling,” he added.
“Over the course of my career I’ve played well on a few courses and this is one of them.”
The past 12 months have seen a real upturn in fortunes for Woods, who has won five titles including victories at Torrey Pines and Doral.
Success on Sunday would make him the first player to win the same PGA event on eight occasions.