Farmers Insurance Open 2013
The weather at Torrey Pines was full of surprises but the outcome was oh-so-familiar, as Tiger Woods started his season with a four-shot victory in the Farmers Insurance Open held January 24-28.
Woods marked his triumphant return to Torrey Pines - a course where he's enjoyed unprecedented success - by dominating a field that included past champions Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney, as well as crowd favorites Rickie Fowler, Ryo Ishikawa, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Charlie Wi and K.J. Choi.
Making it look easy, Woods started strongly Thursday on the more difficult South Course, and built on that by carding a 7-under 65 during a rain soaked Friday on the North Course – overtaking last year's winner Brandt Snedeker—finishing the day in the lead and firmly in control of the tournament. In one classic four-hole run he went birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie to stamp his mark on the tournament. It was vintage Woods as he stayed aggressive and masterfully dug himself out of tight situations with tough shots we've come to expect from him over the years. In doing so he went from a two-shot lead after 36 holes, to four shots after 54 holes distancing the field and eventually building an eight-shot lead with only five holes to play before cautiously closing out the tournament.
''I'm excited the way I played all week,'' Woods said. ''I hit the ball well - pretty much did everything well and built myself a nice little cushion.”
In contrast to 2012 which went into a playoff, this year's Farmers Insurance Open was filled with a different kind of excitement -unpredictable weather. The players and tournament were mostly unflustered by the wind and rain, but when a thick fog rolled in all of Saturday's play was halted, leading to extended play on Sunday and a first-ever Monday finish for the tournament.
When play resumed Monday it was cool and blustery, but fans were treated to Woods once again chasing victory in his trademark red shirt and a rare free admission day courtesy of Farmers and The Century Club– quite a treat for a PGA finale. Woods finished 14-under 274 for the tournament; four ahead of Brandt Snedekr and five up on Nick Watney. All told Woods has won this tournament a record seven times, while setting a PGA Tour record by winning at Torrey Pines for an eighth time (including the 2008 U.S. Open). It also marked Woods' 75th PGA Tour victory, leaving him just seven behind the career wins leader legendary Sam Snead.
''Does it feel good? Yes. Does it give me confidence? Absolutely,'' Woods said. '' I'm excited about this year. I'm excited about what I'm doing with Sean and some of the things that I've built. This is a nice way to start the year.''
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Story and photos by Terry Nicholas and Kevin Sprowls