When will Tiger win No. 83?
January 22, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
PGA TOUR – The CUT
Tiger Woods: 2017 to 2020
SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods WILL break the record of 82 PGA TOUR wins he holds with Sam Snead. It is not if, but when. That is a fact I am willing to put out there. It is an assumption for sure – and when you assume you often find it can make an “ass” out of “u” and “me” – but it is one we are going to run with anyway.
Woods hits the Farmers Insurance Open this week for his first start in 2020, coming off a win at The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan last October. While he has since played in his own Hero World Challenge (4th) and was part of the victorious U.S. Presidents Cup team as a playing captain in December, his trip to Torrey Pines represents his first chance to claim the all-time win record alone.
When he played in Japan, Woods was given very little chance of winning in the lead up. Despite his incredible win at the Masters last April to get to 81, he was coming off knee surgery and had not really contended since Augusta. But Woods proved you can never count out a champion and earned No. 82 to join Snead at the top in impressive fashion.
So now the question becomes: When will 83 happen? Woods himself says it is not a focus.
“I really don't think about it because I have to think about all the things I need to do to win the golf tournament,” Woods said. “There's so many different shots I have to play and strategy and thinking my way around the golf course that I'm more consumed with.”
But expectations – as always – are high. Some of us are anticipating it as soon as a few days from now. Torrey Pines is, of course, the place Woods has eight career wins from seven Farmers Insurance Open titles and the 2008 U.S. Open. Others expect it could come later.
A quick anonymous survey across the players at Torrey Pines gave us a multitude of answers, but ALL said it would happen this season. One multiple-time TOUR winner said, “it is likely wherever he tees it up. He’s always a chance.”
Another believes if he plays at the World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship, he will find his way to victory there. “He is the game’s greatest thinker. So he can figure out the altitude and plot his way around. If he chooses to play there, by then he will be well warmed in to 2020.”
What about THE PLAYERS Championship for a third time? “TPC Sawgrass for a third time, the home of the TOUR… I think that would be almost a Hollywood script for the people who run the TOUR,” a third player posed.
Another thinks Woods might do an incredible double by winning the World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play before defending at Augusta National. “One on one, he can kill anyone if he wants to. And no one knows Augusta better.”
Those who read our Expert Picks each week for fantasy golf already know I have slated Woods to win here at Torrey Pines. But here is a look at where some leading golf pundits believe Woods' record-breaking moment will happen.
Players discuss Tiger Woods' success at Torrey Pines
Nick Faldo (Six-time major winner and CBS analyst) – the Masters
“His last three victories were on golf courses when he has got minimal rough and pine trees left and right. So we have got to give him another shot of going back to Augusta (and winning), but I don’t know how he can recreate the emotion again of what it meant to win his 15th with his children there and coming back after 11 years.”
Mike McAllister (Managing Editor, PGATOUR.COM) – Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
“Of all the courses he'll play in 2020, Bay Hill has given him the most success with eight wins. I think he has a ninth win in him, and the schedule sets up well for it to be No. 83. It would be extra-special to set the new record at Arnie's place.”
Bob Harig (ESPN) - the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide
“As great of a story as it would be for Tiger to break that record at his own tournament, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, it just seems too soon. There's a transition period he will again go through this spring to build his game back to the level it was at the end of 2019, and while it's more than likely he will contend several times, it would be more than fitting for him to do it at the Memorial, Jack Nicklaus' annual tournament where victory No. 73 came in 2012. He's won five times at Muirfield Village, so a sixth makes plenty of sense.”
Jim Nantz (CBS) – The Genesis Invitational
“The hardest thing in the world to do in sport in terms of trying to predict who's going to win is trying to forecast a golf champion. Although Tiger in his prime was always the surest bet he could ever come up with. I'm always looking for context and he is signed up to play The Genesis Invitational at Riviera, where of course his foundation is tied to the running and the management of the event. Yes, he's never won at Riviera, but I think that would be the coolest story ... if he won at the site where he first competed as a 16-year-old high school kid in 1992.”
Daniel Rapaport (Golf Digest) – Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
“I’ll say Bay Hill. Torrey hasn’t been too kind to him in recent years, and we know his history at Riviera. Mexico is definitely a possibility, but I think he gets it done in his home state at a course he’s dominated.”
Geoff Shackelford (Golf Channel) - Genesis Invitational. In a cinematic, storybook career, only two options exist: this week at Torrey Pines and at Riviera where Tiger made his national debut. Torrey opens the debate up 1 after nine on the back of Junior Worlds, the sight of his one-legged U.S. Open win and in front of his adopted son fans. But Riviera? Where he’s never won, where it all started in earnest and now where he is the host? Easy 5&4 win for the 2020 Genesis as the place the Golf Gods will make it happen.
Cameron Morfit (PGATOUR.COM) – Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
“Although I put him on my fantasy team, I hesitate to say Tiger will pick up No. 83 at the Farmers. The South Course is 7,765 yards, which means it got even longer after already ranking the longest course on the PGA TOUR last season. Also, he's just getting going in 2020, and I'd like to give him at least a start or two to play his way into form. I'll say he gets it done at Bay Hill.”
Rex Hoggard (GolfChannel.com) - Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard Given Tiger Woods’ record at Torrey Pines it would be easy to predict this week’s event as the likely breakthrough in his pursuit of a record 83 PGA TOUR victories, but history suggests the historic moment will come later this spring. Woods hasn’t finished inside the top 10 at Torrey Pines since 2013, but the stars are perfectly aligned for Tiger to surpass Snead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he’s also won eight times including last year’s tie for fifth place.
Steve DiMeglio (USA TODAY) – The Genesis Invitational
“Talk about storybook? Tiger Woods will win No. 83 at his own tournament, The Genesis Invitational, on a golf course that has gotten the better of him his entire playing career. Yep, Tiger is going to finally conquer Riviera Country Club, where he played his first PGA TOUR event as a 16-year-old amateur, and in the process, among all the duties he has as tournament host, pass Sam Snead.”
Sean Martin (PGATOUR.COM) – Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
“I see it coming at Bay Hill. Long irons are key there and that’s what he does best.”
Evin Priest (Australian Associated Press) – Farmers Insurance Open
“I really believe it's going to be this week at Torrey Pines. I watched him test TaylorMade's new SIM driver on the range and he didn't miss a tee shot for 30 straight minutes. Every trajectory and every shot shape. It was a masterclass. Combine that with his win at the ZOZO and his performance at the Presidents Cup, and all signs point to him getting a ninth win at Torrey.”
Helen Ross (PGATOUR.COM) - Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
“OK, I know I’m not exactly going out on a limb here given his eight victories at Bay Hill. But he’s rarely out of contention here and -- with THE PLAYERS on the horizon -- Tiger always seems to be hitting on all cylinders during this stretch.”
Only time will tell where it will actually come but one thing is for sure: It is going to be fun to watch it all unfold.