January 17, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson makes his 2014 debut next week at Torrey Pines. (Dunn/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Torrey Pines GC (South), 7,698 yards, par 72. Laid out by William Bell in 1957 along cliffs fronting the Pacific Ocean, Torrey Pines has been home to the PGA TOUR’s annual San Diego visit since 1968. A 2001 upgrade by Rees Jones helped the course land the 2008 U.S. Open, and it remains the longest layout for any major championship. The format also calls for entrants to play Torrey Pines’ North course (7,045/72) in one of the first two rounds.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: The Century Club of San Diego, which is the primary supporter of the San Diego Junior Golf Association and a principal sponsor of the Pro Kids Golf Academy and San Diego-area Boys & Girls Clubs. Funding has also been given to some 200 other local charities.
• FIELD WATCH: No. 1 Tiger Woods, whose win last year gave him seven in this tournament, finally steps into the 2013-14 season on familiar territory. No. 5 Phil Mickelson and 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth also are among 10 players among the current top 30 in the world rankings. … France’s Victor Dubuisson, a winner in Turkey with two other top-5 finishes in Europe since November, makes his debut on U.S. soil on a sponsor exemption.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 266, George Burns (1987), Tiger Woods (1999).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Mark Brooks (2nd round, 1990) and Brandt Snedeker (1st round, 2007) at Torrey Pines North. South course record: 62, Tiger Woods (3rd round, 1999).
• LAST YEAR: Tiger Woods ended a five-year victory drought at one of his favorite courses, cruising to a four-shot win that wasn’t as close as the final margin indicated. Woods led by eight with five holes to play, until two bogeys and a double bogey in the final hour. Woods wound up with an even-par 72, still enough to post his 23rd career win by at least four shots. Josh Teater (69) and defending champion Brandt Snedeker (69) were next. It was Woods’ eighth professional victory at Torrey Pines, but his first since the epic 2008 U.S. Open playoff against Rocco Mediate.
• STORYLINES: Woods takes aim at a ninth Torrey Pines triumph, which again would rewrite his own PGA TOUR record for victories at one venue. Woods actually is part of a three-way tie with himself, having also won eight times at Bay Hill (Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard) and Firestone CC (World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational). … Though Mickelson is a three-time champion in his hometown, his last victory came in 2001. His best finish since then was runner-up in 2010 behind Ben Crane. … Snedeker is working on a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes at Torrey Pines, including his improbable 2012 victory when Kyle Stanley blew a three-shot lead on the final hole of regulation.
• SHORT CHIPS: Saturday once again is “University Day,” with Farmers Insurance rewarding the best third round with donations to the players’ college programs. Aaron Baddeley’s 68 last year qualified for the top prize. Farmers also will give $500 to the golf program of any player wearing his school colors on Saturday. … Three entrants are set to make their fourth start in as many events since the calendar turned: Sang Moon Bae, Scott Brown and Derek Ernst. … Max Homa, last year’s NCAA champion and now a Web.com Tour member, tees it up on a sponsor exemption.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. ET. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, 1-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).