ORLANDO, Fla. - Tiger Woods has reclaimed the world No.1 ranking for the first time since 2010 with a closing round of two-under 70 to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
With his eighth Bay Hill course triumph, the 37-year-old Woods replaces Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy atop the world rankings.
"I play well here," said Woods who earned $1.08 million in prizemoney.
"That is about as simple as it gets. It is a by product of hard work and patience."
In a rare Monday (US) finish, due to a severe thunder storm that postponed Sunday's round, Woods outduelled fellow American Rickie Fowler down the stretch, winning by two strokes in the $6.2 million event.
The 14-time major champion has previously spent a record 623 weeks on top of the world.
But he has not topped the rankings for nearly three years after injuries and an infamous sex scandal saw him tumble from the top 50.
Woods also claimed his 77th PGA Tour victory - and 99th professional tournament win - in his final tuneup event for next month's Masters.
Sunday's storm swept across the Bay Hill Club & Lodge course in dramatic fashion with gusting winds toppling trees and television towers.
Woods and playing partner Fowler began on Monday on the third hole and Woods quickly set the tone with birdies on a pair of par-fives, the No.4 and No.6 holes.
He finished on 18 with a bogey but it was enough to reach 13-under 275, giving him the win and propelling him into No.1 for the first time since October 2010.
"I am getting back to winning golf tournaments," Woods said. "I won some golf tournaments the last couple of years so consequently I moved up."
Runner-up Justin Rose fired a two-under 70 to finish at 11-under while Fowler stumbled down the stretch and closed with a one-over 73 to end in a four-way tie for third at eight-under 280.
Fowler finished alongside Mark Wilson (71), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (72) and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley (71).
Woods has now won 51 times in 55 tries when holding the lead entering the final round and is five wins shy of matching Sam Snead's all-time record on the PGA Tour. He and Snead are also the only players to win the same tournament eight times with Snead doing it at the Greater Greensboro Open.
Last summer, Fowler and Woods played in the penultimate group in the final round of the Memorial tournament. Fowler shot 84, Woods 67 as Woods went on to win.
On Monday, Woods pulled away on the par-five 16 with a brilliant approach shot out of a fairway bunker that stopped 35 feet from the cup. He then two-putted for a birdie to reach -14 under.
John Senden was the best-placed Australian, finishing in a tie for 27th at one under.
Geoff Ogilvy missed the cut, making his hopes of qualifying for the Masters a whole lot more difficult.