Woods begins new year in classic Woods fashion

BY THOMAS ROSS ’14
Contributing Writer

Tiger Woods finished playing an impressive weekend of golf at a familiar course in San Diego, California, in the 2013 Farmer’s Insurance Open on Monday, Jan. 28. The illustrious Torrey Pines golf course overlooks the Pacific Ocean, providing golfers with beautiful scenic views as they make their rounds.

However, the picturesque views of the coastline are not why this course will forever lie in golf infamy. Woods’ herculean effort in the 2008 U.S Open where he defeated Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff on a broken left leg and several torn ligaments in his left knee are enough to make this course lay in golf lore. Although Woods has won seven previous tournaments at Torrey Pines, he has not won there since his triumphant 2008 U.S Open victory, which also happens to be his last major victory. So it’s only fitting for Woods that his return to dominance begins at the course where he won his last major.

Woods’ win on Monday was the 75th of his career, placing him seventh behind Sam Snead for most tour victories of all time. But the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not Woods will win a major this year? Woods is currently four majors behind Jack Nicholas’s 14 career leading major wins. Woods has pulled off major wins in five of the six years he won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. As of last Monday, Woods has won the Farmers Open seven times. Tiger has 8 wins at Torrey Pines, including his 2008 U.S Open victory, which is a record in itself for most tour victories on a single course.

Woods finished the Farmer Open with a four-stroke lead. In reality, the winner of the tournament was never in doubt even with Woods shooting his worst round, an even par at 72, on the last day. The hardest thing Woods had to overcome was the weather. Woods was running away from the field with a six stroke lead on former winners Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker, who were tied for second, when the event was delayed due to weather. Tiger had 11 more holes to play on Monday when things got a little messy. Tiger posted two bogeys and a double bogey on his final round, but finished with a par on 18 and a comfortable four-stroke victory.

Woods’ adversaries believe he came out with something to prove in 2013. Hunter Mahan voiced his opinion on Woods, saying it was clear that Woods wanted to “send a message.” Mahan alluded that this may have been due to the fact that lately everyone has been so focused on the world’s number one ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy, who just so happens to have signed a lucrative contract with Nike at the start of the year. Woods denies any “beef” between the two, but we know Woods enjoys healthy competition and there just might be that chip on Woods’ shoulder, wanting to prove he is still the best golfer endorsed by Nike. Nike and Woods have been virtually synonymous since Woods emergence to superstardom in the mid ’90s.

Woods and McIlroy recently did a joint commercial for Nike golf. Both golfers seemed more than happy to compete at the driving range until the savvy veteran, Woods, walks away, leaving McIlroy asking, “How’d you do that?” to which Tiger replies simply, “You’ll learn.”

Whether Woods truly has returned to dominance and is ready to challenge McIlroy for his number one ranking and compete in major tournaments remains to be seen. Nonetheless, Woods, one of the most polarizing athletes in the history of sports, appears to be back at the top of his game and primed to perform, having sports fans everywhere chomping at the bit to get this golf season underway.

Questions? Email Thomas at tross@fandm.edu.

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