'It's great to be back' – Woods returns to glorious Torrey Pines for his 2019 opener


Tiger Woods has won eight times in 17 starts at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 US Open

Tiger Woods will begin his 2019 season at the Farmers Insurance Open on a Torrey Pines course that has yielded incredible success for the American.

The former world number one is chasing an 81st PGA Tour title at a venue that has hosted about 10% of those wins.

The last of Woods’ 14 majors came at Torrey Pines in 2008, with his US Open triumph part of a four-year undefeated streak on the California course.

“It’s great to be back,” said Woods, now ranked 13th in the world.

The 43-year-old, who will head out for Thursday’s opening round alongside Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele, is coming off the back of a win on his most recent official start at the Tour Championship in September.

Thousands of fans spilled on to the 18th fairway to follow Woods as he claimed a first title since coming back from injury and personal problems.

“It gives me chills almost every single time I see it,” said Woods of the reaction.

“I’ve experienced things of that nature, but not that energy. That was very different. The energy of the crowd was at just red-line and they were so into it.”

Woods, who has featured at the Ryder Cup, Hero World Challenge and The Match against Phil Mickelson since that victory, says he has a greater understanding of what he “can and can’t do” this season and does not have the “uncertainty I had going into last year”.

“A lot of it has been training, trying to get stronger,” added Woods,

“Last year, towards the end of the season, I got really tired because I didn’t expect to play that much golf at the end and I didn’t train for it.

“This off-season, I spent a lot of time in the gym and I’ve got a lot stronger and feel like my legs are there where they need to be, which they weren’t at the end of the season.”

Woods is also ready to take advantage of a host of new rules implemented by the US Golf Association this year, including allowing players to leave the flag in the hole while putting.

“It might be more advantageous when we get on faster greens with a little more slope, ie Augusta,” he said, referring to the Masters.

“It will give you more security on a three to four-footer down the hill. You can just take a cut at it.”

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