January 23, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- (Dunn/Getty Images
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- This week Tiger Woods is trying to become the first player to win at the same course nine times.
Instead, he had another first on Thursday -- Woods shot 72 on Torrey Pines' South Course, failing to break par in the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open for the first time in his career.
"I didn't feel that rusty," said Woods, who is making his 2014 debut and playing for the first time since early last December. "I felt that I hit a lot of good shots. I hit probably three loose ones out there, which that's just the way it goes, but it wasn't that bad."
One area that wasn't very good, though, was his play on the par 5s.
When Woods won here a year ago, he played the par 5s on the South Course in a combined 7 under for the week, which included two birdies and an eagle in the first round.
He went on to finish the year eighth in making birdie or better on par 5s. Thursday, he failed to birdie any of them.
"Even par is not too bad, but I didn't play the par 5s worth a darn today," Woods said. "Obviously, that's (tantamount) to try to get any kind of scoring on the South Course. You've got to take care of the par 5s because there's not a lot of holes you can make birdie here. Subsequently, I didn't finish under par."
Not that Woods is too concerned, even if he is eight shots off the lead.
For one, he's won this tournament seven times (his other victory at Torrey Pines came in the 2008 U.S. Open).
For another, the South Course played nearly four strokes harder than the North Course.
Said Woods: "I'm going to have to go out there and get it a little bit tomorrow to not be so far behind come Saturday or Sunday."