Tiger Woods chasing 8th Farmers title

BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Farmers Insurance Open | Preview | 21 Jan 2014

The Farmers Insurance Open might be the 10th official event of the 2014 PGA Tour schedule but for many this is the event where the Tour actually gets fully into swing.

The return of Tiger Woods to tournament golf for the first time this year and the involvement of Phil Mickelson will ensure a maximum local attendance and a huge viewing audience, Woods chasing an amazing 8th win in this event.

It has been six weeks since Woods last played a tournament but he has so often shown a capacity to win after a significant break, several of those occasions in this very event which has often been the first of his PGA Tour season for him

Not only has Woods won on seven previous occasions, in a total of 13 starts in the event he has been inside the top ten in five others, four of those top fives. He also won the last of his fourteen major championships at this venue, perhaps his greatest triumph given the injury issues he faced as he defeated Rocco Mediate in a playoff for the 2008 US Open.

Mickelson is a resident in the area and has played this tournament on an incredible 23 occasions, winning three times although in recent times his record has not been so good. He did finish runner-up in 2011 but he has not won in 13 years. Mickelson’s current form however including when runner-up last week in Abu Dhabi suggests he could again be a factor.

Jason Day returns to tournament golf after a similar length break to Woods both playing their last tournament at the Northwest Mutual World Challenge. Day won two weeks before that event when winning his first professional event in Australia at the World Cup and finished 6th a week later at the Australian Open.

Day’s last round of 66 in this event last year saw him finish in 9th position his best ever at Torrey Pines although he did win a World Junior Championship at the venue during his amateur career.

Jordan Spieth missed the cut at the Sony Open but his game generally has been in very good shape. Although he missed the cut in his only start in the event last year he developed into one of the best players on the PGA Tour in 2013 winning the rookie of the year title and finishing runner-up on three occasions.

Brandt Snedeker has an exceptional record at Torrey Pines with a victory, two runner-up finishes and a 9th place in his last four starts. Snedeker has not played well of late but a visit to what must be one of his favourite venues could change all that.

Bill Haas has played this tournament well in recent years with top tens in his last three starts. Haas has put together several good events in recent weeks.

Charles Howell 111 might be one for longer odds. Howell has never missed a cut in the event and apart from a disappointing week last week at La Quinta his form has been very good of late.

The Australian challenge is ten strong and aside from Day headed by Marc Leishman. Leishman finished runner-up in 2010 and after a great 5th place at the Sony Open his chances look good of at least leading the Australians.

Stuart Appleby showed a lot of improvement last week when 9th at the Humana Challenge but he has a poor record at Torrey Pines and on that basis his chances do not look good.

Matt Jones continues his great form on the PGA Tour and does boast a 5th place in this event 2009. Jones finished 13th last week.

Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley, Steve Bowditch, Scott Gardiner and Bronson la Cassie are other Australians in the field and they will be joined by New Zealanders Tim Wilkinson and Danny Lee.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


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