California start for Woods

  • Last Updated: January 22 2014, 15:10 GMT

World number one Tiger Woods will make his first start of 2014 at one of his happiest hunting grounds in the Farmers Insurance Open this week.

Tiger Woods: Makes his first start of 2014
Tiger Woods: Makes his first start of 2014

As well as winning the last of his 14 major titles at Torrey Pines in the 2008 US Open, Woods has enjoyed phenomenal success in the regular PGA Tour event in La Jolla, California.

In 13 appearances Woods has won seven times, finished runner-up once and recorded a total of 12 top-10 finishes, maintaining a stroke average of 68.61 and shooting under par in 43 of his 51 rounds.

Woods is a total of 173 under par for an event that has earnt him almost USD 7 million in prize money alone, but he is not the only top player to have enjoyed significant success at Torrey Pines.

Open champion Phil Mickelson has made 24 appearances in the event, winning it three times and recording two runners-up finishes, and comes into the week on the back of a share of second place on the European Tour.

Mickelson carded a superb 63 in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Championship and led by one after 12 holes of the final round, only to run up a triple-bogey seven on the 13th when attempting a right-handed escape shot from under a bush.

That proved crucial as three subsequent birdies saw Mickelson finish just one shot behind Pablo Larrazabal, but the 43-year-old was highly encouraged by his improved play as the week progressed.

England's Lee Westwood is also in the field, but the former world number one does not have such happy memories of the course after missing out on a play-off with Woods and Rocco Mediate for the 2008 US Open by a single shot.

"Obviously I played well all week, but it felt like it was one that got away," said Westwood, who now spends most of his time in America and was recently elected to the PGA Tour's player advisory council.

Westwood failed to record a victory in 2013 and told the Golf Channel: "Last year was pretty average. I gave myself a few chances to win tournaments, most notably the Open Championship and probably at Quail Hollow.

"I played consistently well, but not good enough really.

"Normally I would play in the Middle East on the European Tour, but last year I felt pretty tired so I decided I would cut back on the jet lag a little bit and not do the early Middle East swing.

"This is obviously a tournament I haven't played for a long time (since 2004), and I've been looking forward to it."


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