By Barry Jagoda
The great Tiger Woods returned to San Diego, relaxed and unusually chipper playing on a beautiful Wednesday morning in a preliminary round at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
Formal tournament action gets under way Thursday morning, with coverage on the Golf Channel beginning at noon.
Woods, now 42, met with reporters Wednesday afternoon manifesting optimism about his game and saying a successful back operation had made it fun to get out and play golf.
Asked about various problems he has encountered over the past several years, Woods said, “I just want to have a lifestyle in which I can actually participate with my kids life and be around them to do good things,” adding that “my kids are fantastic and thanks for asking.”
Winner eight times at Torrey Pines, including the U.S. Open here in 2008, Woods had been sidelined with physical health along with other personal issues which resulted in a divorce. He missed the cut at the Farmers Open in 2017.
Asked about his recovery, Woods said, “I didn’t know if I was going to have an opportunity to feel like this again, but now I do and I’m excited about it.”
San Diego golf fans coming out to Torrey Pines will have the chance also to follow hometown favorites Phil Mickelson, Charley Hoffman and Rickie Fowler, as well as last year’s tournament winner Jon Rahm.
Ranked number two in world golf, Rahm told reporters, “You can put all the attention on what Tiger is doing and forget about what I’m doing.”
The 23-year-old Rahm set the stage for this year by saying, “It’s not bad that the attention is on Tiger. It’s good for golf, it’s good for all of us.” In the event Rahm wins here again this week he will move to golf’s number one.
Tournament organizers have whipped up a new theme for spectators this year:
- An elevated viewing deck overlooking the eighth and 18th holes of the south course that provides panoramic views
- Shaded and elevated seats near the main entrance at 11th green
- Located on the south side of the eighth green, the wine lounge offers seating with both ocean and golf views
- Chicken sausage and Asian slaw on a gourmet roll with “boom boom sauce”
- Burgundy tri-tip with honey BBQ sauce and crispy onions on a brioche bun
A full list of goodies for this year is available online.
Barry Jagoda, an award-winning broadcast journalist, was special assistant to President Carter for media and public affairs.
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