Tiger Woods could not wish for a better place to launch his 2013 PGA Tour campaign than at the Torrey Pines Golf Club for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, where he will be bidding for a record seventh win.
The picturesque venue that hugs the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean is one of his favorite hunting grounds and was the scene of his remarkable playoff win at the 2008 U.S. Open.
“I feel comfortable here, there is no doubt,” the second-ranked player in the world told reporters at Torrey Pines on Tuesday after practicing on the South Course, one of two layouts co-hosting this week’s PGA Tour event. “There are few courses that are like that where I’ve had my share of success ... where either I’ve won or been in contention to win.”
However, Woods was a little surprised by the overall pace and dryness of the 7,569-yard South Course layout on Tuesday.
“Obviously, they haven’t had a lot of rain here,” the 14-time major champion said. “The fairways are quick, the greens are a little bit firm. For this time of the year, it’s drier than we normally play it, so it will be a wonderful test.”
Woods, who won the most recent of his Farmers Insurance Open titles here in 2008, has extra incentive to play well this week after missing the cut in bizarre circumstances at last week’s Abu Dhabi Championship.
Making his first start of the year in the European Tour event, Woods failed to advance to the weekend after being slapped with a belated two-shot penalty for a rules infringement in the second round.
Woods said he frequently reflects on his 2008 U.S. Open triumph.
“I remember several things,” he recalled of a remarkable week at Torrey Pines where he defied doctors’ orders and jabbing knee pain to beat Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff.
“No. 1 that comes to my mind every time I look at it or see highlights of it is just the pure pain that I was in. I don’t ever want to experience that again. That was a very, very difficult week. I really don’t know how I quite got through it.”