LA JOLLA, Calif. -- While Phil Mickelson says he’s excited about this year in particular, Tiger Woods views every year as a big year.
But perhaps this one is more than any other in recent times.
As Woods gets set to make his season debut and defend his title this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, further down the road loom golf’s major championships at venues Woods has had past success on.
If his history at Torrey Pines -- where he has won eight times in his career -- is any indication, that could only be a good thing in his pursuit of history.
At 38, though, Woods also knows time isn’t on his side.
“Looking back from the beginning of my career to now, I know that I don't have 20 years in my prime,” Woods said Wednesday. “I don't see being 58 and being in my prime. Most guys don't jump from the foul line at age 58, so it's a little different but the outlook is still the same.”
Getting to the finish line is just a lot more difficult these days, even coming off a year in which he won five times and earned Player of the Year honors for (an award he was given on Wednesday).
“I'm still able to generate the same amount of clubhead speed as I did when I was younger, it's just that I can't do it every shot anymore,” Woods said. “I don't have the rotational speed that I used to and that's a fact of aging.”
Mickelson’s take on being 43 and arguably playing the best golf he has ever played in his career?
“I would think that as you get older your skills would start to decline,” he said. “What's happened is when I started working with (Dave) Pelz in 2004 on certain things with distance control, iron work, wedge work, putting and so forth, it's all getting better now each year the more I'm able to work on it, the more I'm able to practice.”
That’s not to suggest Woods isn’t excited, and his track record speaks for itself. Ten times he has won at least five times in a season.
He also arrives at Torrey Pines well-rested. Woods took time off following The Presidents Cup in October and again after his Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in December and hardly touched a club. The break left him fresh, but also continuing to try to adapt.
“When you look at (Michael Jordan) when he first came out, he was able to dunk over everybody, but he got beat up by the Pistons three straight playoffs, he was out and next thing you know he built up his body and developed a fadeaway,” Woods said. “So you do it a different way. You evolve as you age and I think I've done that so far.”