Orlando (Florida): Tiger Woods reclaimed the world number one spot for the first time since his career was derailed by a sex scandal and a string of injuries.
Woods' victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational saw the 37-year-old replace Rory McIlroy atop the rankings in the latest milestone of his comeback from a spectacular fall from personal and professional grace.
"I play well here," said Woods, who secured his eighth victory at Bay Hill 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 USD 6.2 million event by two strokes.
Woods, who pocketed USD 1.08 million for Monday's win, has won 14 majors in his career and had previously spent a record 623 weeks on top of the world.
But he has not led the rankings for nearly three years, after injuries and an infamous scandal saw him stumble. Woods 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 claims he had had an affair with a nightclub manageress. Two days later, amid speculation 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 behavior.
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.


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