Woods stays on the ball

DORAL, Fla. (AP) – Tiger Woods has never looked so invincible.

The world’s No. 1 golfer faced a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole at Bay Hill, and the moment he settled over the ball and the crowd grew quiet, it no longer mattered that Woods had not made a putt this long all week.

This one was for the win.

For most players, making such a clutch putt would be a career highlight. For Woods, it’s more like a summer rerun.

“It’s knowing that you have an opportunity to end the tournament, and it’s in your hands,” he said. “It’s like having the ball with a few seconds to go.”

Lately, it has been nothing but net.

His victory Sunday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational was his fifth in a row on the PGA Tour and his sixth straight worldwide, a streak that spans six months and is the longest overall of his incomparable career.

Woods’ latest victim was Bart Bryant, who did everything right and never felt so helpless.

Bryant twice made birdie to tie Woods for the lead, shot a 67 in stifling heat and waited in the scoring trailer to see if Woods could beat him. There was no television in the trailer, and Bryant didn’t need one.

A roar that rattled the trailer, and Bryant forced a smile and slowly shook his head.

“That’s why he’s Tiger Woods,” he said.

Steve Stricker felt that way the second week in September when this winning streak started. He had a one-shot lead in the final round when he got to the 12th hole, looked down toward the green and saw Woods make a 50-foot birdie putt to catch him. Woods went on to a two-shot victory.

“That’s all you can do sometimes is shake your head,” Stricker said. “That’s what it’s getting to be – laughable.”