Storm Halts Woods’s Attempt to Regain Golf’s No. 1 Ranking

Golfer Tiger Woods
Golfer Tiger Woods checks the wind at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida. Photographer: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

A thunderstorm and tornado warning has halted Tiger Woods’s attempt to return to the top of golf’s world rankings until tomorrow, where he’ll pursue an eighth win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Woods had just extended his two-stroke overnight lead with a birdie at the second hole of his final round before play was stopped by heavy rain and winds of 50 to 60 miles per hour (80-95 kph) at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida.

After a delay of about two hours, during which several holes were flooded and television camera towers were knocked down by the gusting winds, the U.S. PGA Tour said the final round would resume at 10 a.m. local time tomorrow.

“Golf course is gone, bunkers are gone,” said Mark Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competition. “We’re going to need time for the course to drain.”

Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Ken Duke and John Huh are tied for second place, three shots behind Woods at 9-under par, with a group of five players at 8-under. Woods shot 6-under-par 66 yesterday to move into the lead.

A victory would vault Woods past Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in the Official World Golf Ranking, putting him at the top for the first time in 2 1/2 years.

“It sort of was one of my goals to get back to that position after being out of the top 50 there for a while, being hurt, and having all my points come off where I couldn’t play,” Woods said. “That was not a fun stretch, but I had to get healthy in order to compete, and so far I’ve had five wins on our tour in the last couple years. So I’m heading in the right direction.”

Woods has won twice this year on the PGA Tour and five times in his past 19 starts on the world’s richest golf circuit. An eighth title at Bay Hill also would tie him with Sam Snead for the most victories at a single PGA Tour event.

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