Tiger's chase for No. 83 off to solid start at Torrey Pines
Recorded 3-under 69 in first round of Farmers Insurance Open
January 23, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods' Round 1 highlights from Farmers
SAN DIEGO – The last time Tiger Woods opened the Farmers Insurance Open with a round in the 60s, he won the event. It was a fun nugget for the 82-time PGA TOUR winner to reflect on after he posted a 3-under 69 on Torrey Pines' North Course on Thursday to be just three shots off the lead.
It was in 2013 when Woods last started the tournament so well, albeit with a 68 on the tougher South Course. He would go on to win by four shots for his eighth career win at the venue. But in his last five appearances since that win, Woods has put himself behind the eight ball from the start. A T20 last season was the highlight, with a WD, missed cut, T80 and T23 the outcome in the others.
That recent form at the coastal California venue has been hard to fathom for those who grew up watching his dominance at the iconic course. Between 1998 and 2008, Woods owned Torrey Pines. In 11 appearances at the Farmers Insurance Open, he won six times and was never outside the top 10. He also claimed the 2008 U.S. Open at the course.
Prior to his professional years, he also won a Junior World title at Torrey. And it was here where he saw his first glimpse of professional golf as a spectator with his father. Woods has been playing the course “since I was single digits in age” and now returns in search of a record-breaking 83rd PGA TOUR win. Such a feat will take him out of a tie with Sam Snead for the most wins of all time.
“It would be great (to win No. 83 here). I have a lot of great memories here. It's great to be back. Hopefully tomorrow I can piece all that together again like I did today,” Woods said after his five-birdie, two-bogey effort.
“I felt it was a positive start. The golf course is definitely gettable today, for sure. I felt like I did a good job and have a lot of positives heading into the South Course tomorrow. Overall, pleased to shoot something in the 60s today.”
Plenty of changes have been made on both courses since the dominant Woods years, but his prominence on a leaderboard at the venue still brings nerves to others around him. It is impossible not to feel his presence. He joked about not being able to keep up with playing partner Jon Rahm off the tee now that he’s in his 40s with a fused back, but still held his own. In the early years, Woods overpowered courses. Now he outthinks them.
“Felt like I drove it a little better today. Felt like I shaped the ball well off the tees. I didn't quite get as many fairways as I needed to… but overall all my misses were in good spots,” Woods said after hitting eight of 14 fairways.
“Today I kind of just chipped it around a little bit and I didn't quite let it go. Felt like I just had to miss the ball in the correct spots, which I was able to do all day today. Maybe could have gotten one or two more out of my round today, but overall I felt like it was a good start.”