Tiger Woods returned to world No 1 for the first time since October 2010 after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.
The 14-time major champion reclaimed his place at the summit by carding a closing two-under par 70 in Orlando, his winning total of 13-under securing a two-shot triumph over Justin Rose, a third win of 2013 and an amazing eighth victory at Bay Hill.
His bid to knock Rory McIlroy off top spot had been held up on Sunday after a fierce storm caused play to be abandoned for the day with Woods three shots clear having played just two holes of his final round.
On Monday's resumption, Woods was quickly into his stride and birdies at the two front nine par fives - the fourth and sixth - extended his lead to four shots.
A poor drive at the eighth led to a bogey but Tiger still had daylight over the field as he reached the turn still three in front of playing partner Rickie Fowler.
The youngster cut the gap to two by holing a 37 footer for birdie at the 12th but, in trademark Tiger fashion, Woods responded to the challenge just moments later by sinking a 25 footer of his own to restore his three-shot lead.
Fowler, who shot an 84 the last time he was paired with Woods in the final round, kept battling and nailed a 22 footer for birdie at 14 to maintain the pressure.
Up in smoke
The pair both bogeyed 15 to keep the gap at two but Fowler's hopes went up in smoke at the par five 16th as he dumped two balls into the water to rack up a triple bogey eight.
That left halfway leader Rose as Woods' nearest challenger but Tiger's two-putt birdie at 16 ensured a three-shot cushion for the final two holes.
After a par at 17, Woods hit a loose tee-shot at 18 but, with strokes in hand, he was able to chip back onto the fairway and wedge onto the green.
He had three putts for victory from 73 feet but almost needed just one as his wonderful effort across the green missed by a fraction of an inch.
Runner-up Rose finished three in front of Fowler, Mark Wilson, Keegan Bradley and Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
Woods is now looking forward to the rest of the season and said: "I've turned some of the weaknesses that I had last year into strengths. I'm really excited about the rest of this year..
"The very beginning of the year I was excited because of how the end of last year turned. My short game came around, I thought my swing was getting better, my short irons got better, lo and behold, I won a few tournaments this year."
The Masters is now just over two weeks away and when asked if he would have to add to his haul of 14 Majors to appease the remaining doubters, Woods added: "It's up to them. It's their opinion. I'm very pleased with the way I'm playing."
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