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Woods commits to Torrey Pines on Jan. 25

By TOD LEONARD
The San Diego Union-Tribune

January 04. 2018 9:23PM
Tiger Woods reacts while he speaks during media day for the Genesis Open at The Riviera Country Club last year. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)



SAN DIEGO — Tiger Woods has committed to the Farmers Insurance Open and will begin his 2017-18 PGA Tour season at Torrey Pines.

FIO tournament director Peter Ripa got the official word on Thursday morning.

“It’s awesome,” Ripa said. “There’s a feeling that this comeback is different, with the eye test we got at the Hero World Challenge. He hit shots, he looked strong. There’s a national anticipation for this.”

Woods, who recently turned 42, is making the choice to return to the site of eight of his PGA Tour victories, including the 2008 U.S. Open on the Torrey Pines South Course.

The Farmers will be played Jan. 25-28.

Woods had previously committed to play in the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 15-18. Woods’ foundation is a beneficiary for the Los Angeles event.

In 2017, Woods also made his return to golf at Torrey Pines, coming off a 17-month layoff. He missed the cut, shooting 2-over-par 74 on the South Course on Thursday and even-par 72 on the North on Friday. It was the first time in Woods’ career that he missed the cut at Torrey Pines.

The week after the Farmers, Woods traveled overseas to play in the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic, scored 77 in the opening round and then had to withdraw with back spasms.

Woods didn’t play in an official tournament the rest of the year and underwent fusion surgery on his lower back.

In early December, he returned to competition at the limited-field Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas and played well, shooting 8-under 280 to tie for ninth place.

Woods has won seven regular tour events at Torrey Pines, the last coming in 2013 when he notched a four-shot win. It was the 75th victory of Woods’ career, and he’s won only four times since.

Torrey Pines hasn’t been kind to Woods in recent years. Beyond last year’s missed cut, Woods had to withdraw after playing only 11 holes in the first round of the Farmers in 2015.

That’s when Woods infamously said his glutes wouldn’t “activate.” He chalked it up to a fog delay that pushed back the start of his round by more than two hours.

Woods would go on to play a limited schedule the rest of that season, competing nine more times, with a tie for 10th as his best finish.

When Woods won at Torrey Pines in 2013, it marked the beginning of his last great — and winning — season. He won four more times that year, including the Players Championship, and scored his last victory on Aug. 4, winning by seven shots in the Bridgestone Invitational.

In a blog he posted on his website on Dec. 29, Woods said he was “very optimistic” about 2018 and “looking forward to great things on and off the golf course.”

“I was very encouraged by my performance at the Hero World Challenge, and hope it was the start of something big,” Woods wrote. “I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect after being away from competitive golf for 10 months and came away excited about my health and my game.”

Woods said that he was continuing to practice.

“I would love to play a full schedule in 2018,” he said. “What that entails, including back-to-back events, I don’t know. I just have to continue to work on my body and game and see where I pan out.

“I wish I knew where I was going to play and when I was going to play — it’s a lot easier to prep for that — but we really don’t know. This is all unchartered territory.”

The Farmers Open had put together a strong field before the commitment of Woods. It included defending champion Jon Rahm, who has risen to No. 4 in the world, No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama, No. 7 Rickie Fowler, and three-time tournament champion Phil Mickelson.


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