Tiger Woods commits to Farmers Open seeking new ways to define career
SAN DIEGO - The anticipation has never waned for Tiger Woods' first competitive start of the PGA Tour season.
It was considerable last year in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines when Woods was coming off a stirring victory in the 2018 Tour Championship.
It will be no less exciting in two weeks, when Woods returns to San Diego's seaside municipal courses as the reigning Masters champion. And he might once again have a game strong enough to tackle Torrey.
Woods made it official on Thursday. With his entry received by the Farmers Open, he will begin his calendar year at Torrey Pines for the 10th time in his career when the tournament is played Jan. 23-26. He already had committed to play in the Genesis Open in Los Angeles, Feb. 13-16, an event hosted by Woods.
Tweeted Woods on Thursday, "Excited for this season to begin @FarmersInsOpen and @TGRLiveEvents' @thegenesisinv, our first year as an invitational. See you soon west coast."
Officially, Woods has already played - and won - in the tour's 2019-20 wraparound season. Opening with a pair of 64s, he led wire-to-wire to seize the Zozo Championship in Japan in late October to tie Sam Snead's top all-time win mark of 82.
Each new start brings the possibility of Woods reaching the tour pinnacle alone, and Torrey Pines is a good place to begin the quest since the 44-year-old has won eight PGA Tour titles there _ seven iterations of the regular tour event and the 2008 U.S. Open.
Still, he'll need to find some old magic at Torrey, considering that recent results haven't been impressive. When Woods _ out of contention and starting on the South Course's 10th tee on Sunday _ shot 5-under-par 67 in the final round last year, he vaulted into a tie for 20th _ his best result in his last five Farmers starts. Champion Justin Rose, though, beat Woods by 11 shots.
Since winning at Torrey in 2013, Woods tied for 80th in '14, withdrew in '15, didn't play in '16, missed his first Farmers cut in '17, and tied for 23rd in '18.
The start of Woods' career at Torrey was spectacular. In his first 11 starts he won six times and never finished out of the top 10.
Woods will be well rested and likely confident heading into this Farmers. Since the Zozo, he captained and played for the winning U.S. team in the Presidents Cup, going 3-0, and finished only two shots back of winner Henrik Stenson in the unofficial Hero World Challenge.
The last month has been Woods' time to stay off the radar. The only news he made was agreeing to redesign the par-3 Peter Hay Course at Pebble Beach.
With the players who already have committed, the Farmers will rival the Genesis Open in Los Angeles for the most attractive fields on the West Coast Swing. Those competing at Torrey Pines include defending champion Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.
Not expected for the event are three of the top five players in the world - No. 1 Brooks Koepka, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 5 Dustin Johnson.
Johnson was a frequent competitor in the Farmers early in his career, but he's skipped the last two years and posted only one top-10. Koepka has three starts at Torrey and none since '17, with no top-10s, while Thomas posted a tie for 10th in his first Farmers start in '13 and has played only once since, missing the cut in '15.dpa