Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard: Carded a final-round, 2-under 70 on a Monday finish to defeat Justin Rose by two strokes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, winning the event for a PGA TOUR record-tying eighth time (Sam Snead at the Greater Greensboro Open). His 77th career PGA TOUR win moved him within five wins of all-time leader Snead's 82 victories. With wins at the Cadillac Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, he won in back-to-back starts for the first time since the 2009 Buick Open and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Supplanted Rory McIlroy for the No. 1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking. The last time he held the top spot was on October 30, 2010. Surpassed Ernie Els for most weeks in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, at 789. Had a record run of 736 consecutive weeks in the top 10 from April 13, 1997, to May 15, 2011. Returned to the top 10 on March 25, 2012, where he has since remained. Of his eight Arnold Palmer Invitational wins, has entered the final round with at least a share of the 54-hole lead seven times. Made his 17th start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with his lone missed cut coming as an amateur in his first start, in 1994. He has played in every event at Bay Hill since, with the exception of 2010.
Earned his 81st PGA TOUR victory and 15th major championship title at the Masters Tournament and qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs for the eighth time, advancing to the BMW Championship for the eighth time and finishing the season No. 42 in the FedExCup standings. In the Playoffs, withdrew from THE NORTHERN TRUST and finished T37 at the BMW Championship, failing to advance to the TOUR Championship to defend his title. Collected four top-10s and made nine cuts in 12 starts.
Early in Woods' career, a small number of golf industry analysts expressed concern about his impact on the competitiveness of the game and the public appeal of professional golf. Sportswriter Bill Lyon of Knight Ridder asked in a column, "Isn't Tiger Woods actually bad for golf?" (though Lyon ultimately concluded that he was not). At first, some pundits feared that Woods would drive the spirit of competition out of the game of golf by making existing courses obsolete and relegating opponents to simply competing for second place each week.