TIGER WOODS EARNS 1st PGA WIN SINCE 2009; "THE OLD TIGER WILL BE BACK"

[PHOTO -Tiger Woods displays the trophy on Sunday after winning the 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida.]

MANILA, MARCH 27, 2012 (CNN) By the CNN Wire Staff updated 8:40 PM EDT, Sun March 25, 2012 - After years plagued by injuries and scandal, Tiger Woods pulled away from his competition Sunday to capture his first PGA Tour win since September 2009.

Months after capturing the BMW Championship, Woods became a tabloid fixture for his affairs with several women that led to the end of his marriage. His golf game also suffered significantly in the 3 1/2 years since, thanks in large part to various injuries.

Yet he had proven successful in the past at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, having won six times prior to this weekend at the course in his long-time hometown of Orlando, Florida.

He walked up toward the 18th green Sunday to fervent applause, tipping his hat to fans. He ended up tapping in on that hole for par, to finish five strokes ahead of second-place finisher Graeme McDowell.

"It feels really good," Woods told NBC, which covered the event. "(It was) a lot of hard work, I'm so thankful for a lot of people helping me out along the way. It's been tough."

[PHOTO - Golf Legend Arnold Palmer said: The Old Tiger Woods Will Be Back! Posted on: 11:05 am, March 22, 2012, by Dan Jovic     

The tournament's namesake, Arnold Palmer, did not congratulate the winner as expected due to a health problem that led to his going to Dr. P. Phillips Hospital in Orlando.

Alastair Johnston, chief operating officer of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, explained in a statement that the 83-year-old golf legend's blood pressure -- when checked 15 minutes before Woods wrapped up his victory -- was "at a level where the doctor involved suggested that he go immediately to get more intensive evaluation at the hospital."

"I think the blood pressure situation is starting to ameliorate," Johnston said after talking with Palmer's daughter. "Nobody is overly concerned about the prognosis, although he is going to remain in the hospital overnight for observation."

Woods, who has won 14 Grand Slam titles, had won the 2011 edition of the World Challenge tournament that he hosts. But until Sunday, he had been still searching for a comeback win in an event with a full field.

His next big tournament will be next month's Masters, the Grand Slam event held each year in Augusta, Georgia. Despite earlier concerns that he may be hindered once again by injuries, Woods expressed optimism and enthusiasm Sunday that he'd do well.

"I am excited. It's always fun to get there, and it's always fun to play," he said. "(It is) all coming together at the right time."

Tiger 18 holes away from first title in 30 months By AP (The Philippine Star) Updated March 26, 2012 12:00 AMComments (0)

[PHOTO - GOLF LEGEND ARNOLD PALMER]

ORLANDO, Florida – Even with a bizarre sequence of events that cost Tiger Woods a comfortable lead Saturday, he walked off the 18th green at the Arnold Palmer Invitational as close as he has ever been to ending 30 months without a PGA Tour victory.

He had a one-shot lead, and no one in golf has a more formidable record as a frontrunner.

He was hitting the ball so well that Woods had the putter in his hand for a birdie attempt on 38 consecutive holes.

And he was at Bay Hill, where he already has won six times.

“If you’re in the lead, you’ve done some good things,” Woods said after recovering from a late double bogey for a 1-under 71. “That’s how I’ve always looked at it. And it’s a nice position to be in.”

Better yet would be posing with Palmer in a trophy presentation.

But there’s still one round to go before that happens, and a familiar face alongside him in the final group.

Graeme McDowell, the former US Open champion who rallied from four shots behind to beat Woods in the Chevron World Challenge at the end of 2010, didn’t make a birdie until the 17th hole but kept bogeys off his card for a 71.

“There’s a fair bit of expectations on Tiger,” McDowell said. “He’s looking to complete the comeback tomorrow, because there’s no doubt he’s playing great. He’s got the ball under control. But he’s got to go out there and try to win tomorrow, the same way I do and a lot of other players that have got the opportunity to win.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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