How Tiger's putter can help him regain No. 1

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
10:52
AM ET

AP Photo/Elise AmendolaSince last year’s Arnold Palmer Invite, Woods has made 19 starts and has a PGA TOUR best five wins.
Despite playing just four PGA TOUR events in 2013, Tiger Woods is the only player with multiple PGA TOUR wins this season (2).

If he picks up his third this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods will regain the world No. 1 ranking on Monday. Tiger hasn’t been No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking since Lee Westwood moved past him on Halloween in 2010.

Woods has won seven times at Bay Hill, site of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, including a five-stroke win last year. This is one of four events Woods has won seven times, and he's one shy of the PGA TOUR record for most victories at a single event. Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times from 1938 to 1965.

In 2013, Woods' wedge play has been a key to his success. In 2011 on approach shots ranging from 50 to 125 yards from the hole, Tiger's average approach was almost 21 feet from the hole. That ranked outside the top 160 on tour. This season, those approach shots are landing just inside 15 feet from the cup, which ranks tied for 13th.

If Tiger continues to hit his approach shots well, he may be able to continue his putting success. At the Honda Classic, Woods gained 1.1 strokes putting against the field, had eight misses inside of 10 feet and made just three putts outside of 15 feet. However, in his win two weeks ago at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Woods gained 7.9 strokes putting against the field, missed just three putts inside of 10 feet and made seven outside of 15 feet.

The week’s event is the last time we’ll see Tiger before the Masters. He will have multiple PGA TOUR wins entering the Masters for the eighth time in his career, and in six of the previous seven instances, Tiger went on to win at least one major.

If Tiger wins the Arnold Palmer, it would be the fourth time in his career he’s entered the Masters with three wins. He did not win the green jacket in any of the other three years, but he did finish in the top five twice, and his worst finish was 15th.

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