ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Even before Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the eighth time, he was asked on several occasions what it was about Bay Hill that brings him so much success. Finally, he gave an answer that applies to more than just him.
“Once we figure out what courses we like, we tend to play those,'' Woods said.
Brendan Steele finished his round Saturday and was on the range making small talk when he was asked about his schedule the next few weeks, such as the Texas Open.
“Nah, I don't think I'm going to play there,'' Steele said with a slight grin.
The light came on for the reporter who realized that San Antonio is where Steele won for the first time. He laughed.
“I won, I tied for fourth last year,'' he said. “How could I not play?''
Woods has established a schedule that is easy to predict. It's based on the courses where he does well.
His 77 wins on the PGA Tour have come at 25 tournaments. He has won only eight tournaments just once – the Las Vegas Invitational (1996), Byron Nelson Classic (1997), BellSouth Classic (1998), Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (2000), Canadian Open (2000), The Players Championship (2001), Deutsche Bank Championship (2006) and Wells Fargo Championship (2007). The only events he continues to play are The Players, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo.
Woods won what is now the Cadillac Championship on six courses (Valderrama, Mount Juliet, Capital City, Harding Park, The Grove, Doral), the Match Play Championship on two courses (La Costa, Gallery at Dove Mountain), Tournament of Champions on two courses (La Costa, Kapalua) and the Tour Championship on two courses (Champions, East Lake). In the majors, he has won the British Open on two courses (St. Andrews twice, Hoylake) and the PGA Championship on three courses (Medinah twice, Southern Hills, Valhalla).
He has won two tournaments at La Costa (Tournament of Champions, Match Play twice), Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance Open seven times, U.S. Open), Pebble Beach (National Pro-Am, U.S. Open) and Doral (Ford Open twice, Cadillac twice).
The last time Woods won a tournament the first time seeing the course as a pro? The 1998 BellSouth Classic at the TPC Sugarloaf.
Of the 34 golf courses on which he has won on the PGA Tour, only five have been on original TPC designs – Boston, Sawgrass, Sugarloaf, Summerlin, Las Colinas.
AUGUSTA LOOMS: Geoff Ogilvy was thrilled to get into the mix for the Masters with his runner-up finish at the Honda Classic, going from No. 79 to No. 47 in the world ranking. Three weeks later, he is lucky to still be on the bubble.
Ogilvy had a 73-74 weekend at Doral, a 76-72 weekend at Innisbrook and he missed the cut at Bay Hill. Because no one else did much around him, Ogilvy has slipped only three spots to No. 50 in the world.
The trick now is to stay there.
After this week, the top 50 in the world are eligible for the Masters. Ogilvy not only has to play well this week in the Houston Open, he has to hope no one else around has a big week either in Houston or points beyond.
Henrik Stenson (53), David Lynn (55), Charles Howell III (57) and Luke Guthrie (58) are at Redstone for the Houston Open, which offers a lot of points because of the strong field. Thongchai Jaidee is at No. 59 and is playing the Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand. Stephen Gallacher (64) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello (65) are playing the Hassan Trophy in Morocco on the European Tour.
Players abroad might have to win because of the weak fields. Lynn is already in the Masters based on his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship last year, though he still could have a bearing on the top 50.
Freddie Jacobson is at No. 46. He withdrew from the Houston Open, though he would appear to be safe.
It's similar to four years ago, when a 64 by Prayad Marksaeng on the final day in Thailand got him into the top 50. He bumped out Davis Love III, who finished at No. 51 by a fraction of a point behind a South African hardly anyone knew back then – Louis Oosthuizen.
VIJAY OUT: Vijay Singh withdrew from the Houston Open for what a tour official said was a knee injury.
The PGA Tour is investigating Singh telling a magazine that he bought deer-antler spray, which is said to have a growth hormone on the tour's banned list of substances.
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said the process of the tour's investigation and a potential appeal is ongoing.
WEIR'S RIB: Mike Weir's bid to restore his game suffered a setback at Bay Hill when he injured a rib muscle and had to withdraw after 11 holes of the third round. A physical therapist had been out on the course with him as he tried to play through the injury.
Weir said he felt pain when he was on the practice range after his opening round Thursday. He played Friday and shot 70 to make his third cut this year.
The former Masters champ said his doctor in Utah told him he had torn cartilage in his ribs. Weir is taking medication and resting with hopes it will heal in time for him to compete at Augusta National. This is the 10-year anniversary of the Canadian's playoff win, making him the first left-hander to win the Masters.
SLUMPING: Robert Allenby managed a smile when someone told him to remember to show up Sunday at Bay Hill.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational was the first time that Allenby played on Sunday in a full-field PGA Tour event since the St. Jude Classic last June. Since then, he has missed the cut 16 times in official events and withdrew once. He finished 69th in the Bridgestone Invitational (a World Golf Championship with no cut) and tied for 79th in the McGladrey Classic, where he missed the 54-hole cut after more than 78 players made it to the weekend.
He might not have been around for the weekend at Bay Hill. But when club pro Rod Perry made a bogey on the final hole in the final group Friday, that let in eight players, including Allenby. Fittingly, Allenby played with Perry on Saturday.
“I told him, `I know you hate to finish with a bogey, but thanks,''' Allenby said.
DIVOTS: The LPGA's season finale will be played at Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. The Titleholders was held last year at TwinEagles Golf Club across town. The Titleholders also is boosting the biggest prize in women's golf to $700,000 for the winner. Na Yeon Choi earned $500,000 last year. … Tiger Woods has won his last nine PGA Tour events by at least two shots. … Keegan Bradley cracked the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time with his tie for third at Bay Hill. He became the 89th player to reach the top 10 since the ranking began in 1986. Justin Rose, the runner-up at Bay Hill, moved up to a career-best No. 3. … Tiger Woods won for the sixth time on a Monday, only one of them planned – the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2006, which traditionally ends on Labor Day. … Rory McIlroy is playing the Houston Open pro-am with former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith and race car owner Roger Penske.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods has won $7,319,360 in his career at Bay Hill. That's more than the total prize money combined from the first 13 years of the Arnold Palmer Invitational ($6,702,910).
FINAL WORD: “The pre-shot routine used to be one sentence. Now it's a paragraph.'' – Johnny Miller.