Golf

Tiger Woods eyes No. 1 ranking at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods has made no secret of the fact that he is after major championship victories to define his legendary career. On Wednesday, he spoke to reporters at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and indicated that there was something else that means a lot to him in terms of his stature within the game. 

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“I fell to 50-plus (in the Official World Golf Rankings)  there for awhile,” he said during the press conference. “To gradually work my way back, that’s something I’m proud of.” 

Woods was ranked 58th in the world in November 2011, the lowest ranking of his career since he turned professional in 1996. Prior to that, the Southern California native and former Stanford star spent a record 623 total weeks as the top-ranked player. He last held the esteemed distinction on Oct. 31, 2010. 

During his career drought, he was dealing with multiple injuries, drastic changes to his swing and a highly-publicized conflict with his ex-wife. At that time, many wondered whether he’d ever win another PGA TOUR event, let alone another major and regain the legendary form that’s vaulted him to countless records and a career that if he were to retire today would stand firm among the best in golf history. 

It was at Bay Hill one year ago where his current resurgence began. Since then, he has won five events and looks ready to win his 15th major to begin the chase of Jack Nicklaus once again. Fittingly, he has an opportunity to cement himself as back to the old Tiger with a win at the same course where he’s enjoyed plenty of past success. 

On the PGA TOUR in 2013, Woods has won a remarkable two out of three stroke play events he’s entered. In a quest to continue his white hot streak, he will tee off  on Thursday at 8:05 a.m. ET alongside Justin Rose and Ernie Els. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His credits include Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among others.
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