The Arnold Palmer Inv. is a home game for Tiger Woods, but he treats it like any other week. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM
It appears that nobody is a match for Tiger at any event staged at Arnie’s Place. Once again, he navigated his way around the challenging Bay Hill Club and Lodge layout en route to the navy blue champions jacket and the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard title – his eighth. In doing so he tied the legendary Sam Snead for the most tournament titles in a single event.
His performance was impressive as always, but his work on the greens was the stuff of which stories are written. I certainly could spend time writing about Tiger’s putting stroke but to me there were two less-tangible lessons we can learn from the new world No. 1’s play:
The Home Game – Do it properly: The Bay Hill golf course is like Tiger Woods’ backyard and it is as close to a home game as anything for him. Not only is Arnold Palmer’s noted golf facility adjacent to Isleworth, where Tiger lived for the bulk of his professional career, it is also the site where Woods has enjoyed numerous tournament triumphs. He had notable success there winning eight tournaments (seven professional and one amateur) before his victory last week. In essence it may as well be a home game for Woods.
Most competitors fail to perform as well as they would like when they enter a tournament staged at their home venue. In my opinion, the reason being is that they make too much of the fact that they are playing at home and they go into the event with a lot of expectation and anticipation. The result of these two emotions is normally an increase in tension and tension is as big a “swing-wrecker” as anything. So play your home game like Tiger did. Approach it as you would any other tournament. Dot your “I’s” and cross your “T's” in preparation. Cover all of your bases as you would in any other tournament but trust your local knowledge of the course and use it to fortify your confidence and your trust. Then go out there and strive to relax and execute your plan. Tiger certainly did and all week long he appeared to have a quiet confidence about him.
Par 5s – The key to low scores: Tiger Woods manhandled the par 5s at Bay Hill, playing them in a whopping 14 under. (His total for the 72-hole tournament was 13 under.)
I often pass on the following adage to the tournament golfers I teach: Make 3s on the par 3s and 4s on the par 5s and you will have the nucleus for a good score. If you want to make low scores and be a good tournament player you have to take advantage of the golf course’s soft under-belly, the par 5s. To do so, employ a blend of strategy and power. Don’t just get on the tee of the par 5 and swing for the fences. Pick your spots to attack and defend. The worst thing for your scorecard is to have to pencil a 6 or a 7 on there because of a silly decision or an unwarranted attack or bold play. (For the record, Woods only made one bogey on the par 5s all week.) Attack when the time is right and you are in good position to do so; defend when you must and remember that sometimes even Tiger Woods has to lay up on a par 5. So to ensure that you are consistently able to convert on the par 5s, be savvy and set aside practice time to work on your wedge play.
Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, markimmelman.com or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.
What stood out to you the most about Tiger Woods' victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard this week? What would be the one word you'd use to describe his eighth victory at Bay Hill? The PGA TOUR Insiders discussed those questions and much more in today's Google+ Hangout.
You can watch here on the TOUR Report or on the PGA TOUR's Google+ page.
By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
You would think a superstar like Tiger Woods does not need to work on his confidence. However, keeping your confidence from day to day is as difficult for the best player in the world as it is for any level of amateur.
Tiger Woods, winner of the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard for a record eighth time, said he has gained confidence from the understanding of how to fix his game. It has taken him awhile, but according to Tiger, he now “owns his swing” and knows how to right the ship when his game is sinking.
That is quite a change. Anyone who has been following Tiger’s play in the past few years, has seen that in many occasions, he could not rectify some of his tendencies, like his blocks to the right. Once they appeared in his game, his persona changed and so did his ability to win.
Tiger is no different from the rest of us (OK, he is a lot different), but he too goes through some ups and downs in a round. We are only human and that means it is virtually impossible to be machine-like throughout a round. Even when you are playing your best, regardless of skill level---from a PGA TOUR player to a 10 handicapper—you will have a few bad holes during a round of golf.
There are many ways to keep our confidence, from visualization to positive self-talk, but one of the best ways is to understand the principles of faults and fixes in your game. For instance, if you have a tendency to get the smother hooks (or terror of the field mice as Ben Hogan would say), you will be completely confident if you know how to fix the problem.
Being able to fix the “wrongs” in your game and make them “right” is essential to keeping your confidence. Here are a few mental game suggestions to this process:
1) Become your own swing coach. While I do recommend you take lessons from a teaching professional, I also strongly encourage you to understand why your teacher is giving you that feedback. For instance, if you have a tendency to come over the top, ASK your teacher how you can fix this tendency. Remember your teacher is not with you on the course so you need to become your own best swing coach.
2) Become your own mental coach. While I do recommend you go see a sports psychologist to build mental toughness, you also need to know how fix your mental problems on the course. For instance, if you have a tendency to lose concentration during a round, you will need to know how to get focused quickly with certain go-to strategies.
Learn how to right your own ship, and your confidence will sail upward.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf. He is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. Dr. Gregg is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players. You can see more about him at www.drgreggsteinberg.com, and you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org for any comments or questions about your mental game.
Keegan Bradley hit 46 of 56 fairways for a T3 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
|Arnold Palmer Inv.
||Winner: Tiger Woods
|Driving Distance||279.3 (49th)||Jimmy Walker (305.0 yards)||T8|
|Driving Accuracy||53.57% (T71)||K. Bradley, H. Stenson (82.14%)||T3/T8
|Strokes Gained-Putting||2.798 (1st)||T. Oleson (1.825, 2nd place)
|Greens in Regulation||63.89% (T34)||Ben Kohles (76.39%)||T14|
|Proximity to Hole||38' 10" (47th)
||Bob Estes (31' 6")||T40|
|Scrambling||61.54% (T32)||David Lingmerth (79.17%)||T50
WEEKLY PERFORMANCE STATS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open in Hawaii
Week 4: Farmers Insurance Open
Week 5: Waste Management Phoenix Open
Week 7: Northern Trust Open
Week 8: The Honda Classic
Week 9: WGC Cadillac & Puerto Rico Open
Tiger Woods became the 15th straight American golfer to win on the PGA TOUR. (Cannon/Getty Images)
By PGA TOUR staff
With his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Tiger Woods …
Earns his 77th career PGA TOUR victory at the age of 37 years, 2 months and 25 days in his 298th (284th professional) career start on TOUR.
ALL-TIME PGA TOUR VICTORIES:
1) Sam Snead – 82; won 77th (1957 Dallas Open Invitational) at the age of 45 years, 3 months and 19 days
2) Tiger Woods – 77; won 77th (2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard) at age of 37 years, 2 months and 25 days
Earns 500 FedExCup points to move to No. 1 the FedExCup standings. Was last No. 1 in FedExCup standings following the 2012 Wyndham Championship.
Earliest Woods has three wins in a season since 2008, when he won his third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
2013 PGA TOUR tournament summary: Starts: 5; in money: 5; victories: 3; top-10 finishes: 3
Becomes the first player to successfully defend a title since Steve Stricker at the 2011 John Deere Classic.
Is the 15th consecutive American winner on TOUR, dating to Tommy Gainey’s win at the 2012 McGladrey Classic.
ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL NOTES
Ties the PGA TOUR record held by Sam Snead for the most wins at a single event.
Snead at Greater Greensboro Open (1938, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1965)
Woods at Arnold Palmer Invitational (2000-03, 2008-09, 2012, 2013)
With a final-round 69, Woods would have equaled Sam Snead’s 2,181 strokes it took him to win his eight events in Greensboro. Woods’ final-round 70 left just one stroke shy of Snead with a total of 2,182 strokes in his eight API victories.
Has held at least a share of the 54-hole lead in seven of his eight wins at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. In second place in 2009, he trailed Sean O’Hair by five strokes, but won by one over O’Hair.
Claims sixth victory in last 20 starts on TOUR.
Wins in back-to-back starts for the first time since the 2009 Buick Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Has won three events before the Masters on three other occasions (2000, 2003, 2008). Did not win the Masters in any of those three seasons. Won three majors in 2000, none in 2003 and the U.S. Open in 2008.
Has won 77 out of 284 (27 percent) professional starts on the PGA TOUR.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- After shooting 84 playing alongside Tiger Woods in the final round of last year's Memorial tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, Rickie Fowler was looking for "a little redemption."
Instead, he got wet.
Trailing Woods by two with three to play at Bay Hill, Fowler hit his second shot, a 7-iron from 188 yards, on the par-5 "a little heavy." His ball, which was tracking directly at the flag, landed in the water short of the green.
Fowler took a drop and hit his next shot into the water, too, but by then it didn't matter.
"I was swinging it well, I made a few putts, and trying to put a little pressure on him, let him know I was there," Fowler said. "Just would like to have that 7‑iron back on 16.
"I had a perfect club there, so just unfortunate to make that swing at that time."
Fowler triple-bogeyed the hole and shot 73 to finish at 8 under, five shots back of Woods.
Despite the misstep, Fowler said he felt comfortable playing alongside Woods for the first time in a final pairing in the final round of a tournament.
It showed, mostly.
For the first 14 holes, Fowler made three birdies and no bogeys to stay within reach of Woods.
But just about every time Fowler made a move, Woods answered, including on the 12th hole, where Fowler poured in a 37-foot birdie putt only to watch Woods do the same from 10 feet closer moments later.
Two holes later, Fowler cut the deficit to two with another long birdie from just outside 20 feet.
On the par-4 15th, Fowler missed his approach left and couldn't get up and down for par, after his chip shot rolled 12 feet past the hole. Woods, however, made bogey as well and the margin stayed the same until the next hole.
For Fowler, it was the 15th straight start that he's made at least one double bogey (or worse) in the course of the week.
The timing of this one couldn't have been worse, though Fowler figured he needed eagle to have a chance.
"If I make three, he makes four, we cut it down to one, and a one‑shot lead for him going into the last two holes where there is a lot that can happen," Fowler said. "It was just unfortunate to catch that one a touch heavy."
Tiger Woods finished the week No. 1 in strokes gained-putting. (Cannon/Getty Images)
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Tiger Woods told us something late Saturday night that should have gotten everyone’s attention.
Following his third-round 66 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Woods said, “I just understand how to fix my game. It’s taken me awhile. … I hit a bad shot here and there, and that’s easy to fix. I know what my fix is going to be and that makes a big difference.”
That is a huge statement for a golfer to make. Woods is saying he “owns” his swing. If that’s true, and Woods’ performance this year would indicate it is accurate, then Tiger is about to once again dominate the sport. When a golfer can fix his game “on the fly” he can avoid the bad rounds that eliminate him from contention.
Moment of truth: Rickie Fowler had momentum and opportunity. He just did not execute. At the 16th hole, Fowler had just 179 yards to the flag for his second shot into the par 5. He did not rush the shot, waiting for the wind to help but caught the club “a tad heavy.” Fowler’s ball hit the bank fronting the green and his ball rolled into the water hazard. Woods faced an approach from out of a fairway bunker and could have laid up short of the water. Instead, he hit his approach into the middle of the green and two putted for birdie. Both players knew the importance of the moment; Tiger seized that moment and the tournament.
Putting: Woods came into the tournament ranked sixth in strokes gained-putting and improved on his numbers. He was a gaudy No. 1 this week at 11.218, using just 110 strokes on the greens. When Tiger putts that well, he is just about unbeatable.
Par 5s: Woods finished 13 under for the tournament and was 14 under on the par 5s. That number included a trio of eagles, which doubled his total for the year. Woods came into the week ranking sixth in par 5 birdie or better leaders. He last led that category back in 2009 when he made birdie or better 57 percent of the time.
Triple: It’s become cliché to say a round is not defined by the great shots but rather by the quality of your bad shots. It’s necessary to minimize the damage following a bad shot. Fowler has made a double bogey or worse in each of his last 15 tournaments and that includes a triple bogey on Monday’s 16th hole. We forget Fowler is just 24 years old and is still learning lessons.
Weather: Golfers found a much different golf course in the final round. Greens were getting firm before Sunday’s thunderstorms but the deluge dramatically changed things. Golf balls were hitting and stopping with zero roll in the fairway and greens were receptive throughout the final round. Not even 20 mph gusts could dry the course. The soft course gave way itself to aggressive play.
Progress: Mark Wilson made progress this week. He came to Orlando having missed the cut in four of the last six events, ranking 110th in FedExCup points. His best finish this year was a T11 and that came in the field shortened Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Wilson’s other two cuts resulted in T37 at The Honda Classic and T61 at the Northern Trust Open. It’s easy for a player to lose confidence and patience, even when you have the talent of Wilson. His third-place finish should help restore some swagger to Wilson’s game.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- There was a bittersweet ending to Justin Rose's week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Rose finished two strokes behind winner Tiger Woods on Monday after a 2-under 70 in the final round and afterward said he's still not getitng the most out of his game.
"I had a really kind of flat back nine of my third round and start to my fourth round; really sort of a 12 poor holes there," Rose said.
Rose began the final round at Bay Hill just two strokes behind Woods. Bogeys on two of his first three holes, however, pretty much ended any chance of catching him.
Right from the start, Rose was shaky.
He drove into a fairway bunker at the first hole, then came up short of the green on his approach and couldn't get up and down to save par.
Two holes later, Rose hit his tee shot into the water.
The rest of the round was bogey-free, but the damage was done. Four birdies over his final 13 holes wasn't enough with his last hopes disappearing when he missed a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th.
Still, it was Rose's best finish of a young season in which he's already recorded two other top 10s, givng himself three in four starts. He also moved to No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking behind only Rory McIlroy and Woods.
"It was nice to be able to put (the slow start) behind me and finish strong," he said. "I take a lot of confidence once again from that."