Tiger Woods cruises to victory at Torrey Pines
(Photo: Jake Roth, USA TODAY Sports)
SAN DIEGO — It looks like it will be a major year for Tiger Woods.
Hindered by the dawdling pace of play and a faulty driver, Woods nevertheless polished off another tour de force around these parts on a sun-splashed Monday to win the delayed Farmers Insurance Open for the seventh time.
LEADERBOARD: Farmers Insurance Open
Struggling but never in any danger of collapsing over the final 11 holes on the South Course at seaside Torrey Pines, Woods finished at 14 under par with his even-par 72 in the final round to win his 75th career title by four shots over defending champion Brandt Snedeker and John Teater.
The win bodes well for Woods — and not so much for his colleagues.
In the six previous seasons that Woods won the Farmers, he never won fewer than four tournaments that year. That included eight wins twice and years of seven, six and five victories. The year he won four — in 2008 — he played just six events as he had season-ending surgery to his left knee following his win in the U.S. Open — at Torrey Pines.
In five of those six years when he won the Farmers, Woods triumphed in a major championship. The lone year he didn’t pull a Farmers-major double was 2003.
Woods didn’t know those statistics. But he does know good things are ahead.
“I’m excited about this year,” said Woods, who refined his new swing with coach Sean Foley and worked hard on his short game in the offseason. “I was excited about what I did last year, winning three times. And I felt really good about what we’re working on. Does it feel good? Yes. Does it give me confidence? Absolutely. This was a nice way to start the year.”
Woods’ caddie, veteran Joe LaCava, is excited, too.
LaCava was there every step of the way last year as Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, the Memorial at Muirfield Village and the AT&T National at Congressional.
After Monday’s victory, LaCava said he sees an even better version of his man this year, citing the continued work on his rebuilt swing and a much improved short game.
“I think what’s great is I’m seeing him play more naturally and with more feel,” LaCava said. “I know he has a lot of confidence. He is so confident that he can take the driver, when he really needs to, and aim it at trouble and cut it away from the trouble right into the center of the fairway.
“That’s why I know he has it.”
Woods had everything else working this week — at least until Monday’s cold, extremely slow final 11 holes. After increasing his lead to eight, Woods, No. 2 in the official world golf rankings, battled a wayward driver and finished with two bogeys and a double-bogey in his final five holes.
Tiger Woods will not play in AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Tiger Woods might conquer Torrey Pines today, but he will not stage an encore in two weeks at Pebble Beach.
Woods, as expected, will not play in the upcoming AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, scheduled for Feb. 7-10 on the Monterey Peninsula. Tournament director Steve John confirmed Woods’ plans in an e-mail today.
“Much to our disappointment, Tiger will not be playing in the AT&T this year,” John wrote.
Woods returned to the AT&T last year for the first time since 2002. He played well for three days, planting himself in contention, and then faded with a final-round 75 alongside Phil Mickelson (who shot 64 to win).
Woods has not played the West Coast Swing events at both Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach since ’02, so his decision to return to Torrey this month didn’t bode well for Northern California golf fans.
He won the AT&T in 2000, with a memorable Monday comeback, but he soon grew disenchanted with the bumpy poa annua greens. Sketchy weather, long rounds and celebrity-driven crowds probably didn’t help.