Lahiri set for return at Torrey Pines; Woods lights up field

Posted January 28, 2018

Shreveport's Sam Burns will make his first PGA Tour start of 2018 as the Farmers Insurance Open begins Thursday at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.

While the 14-time major champion claims he is no longer playing with the back pain that cut short his comeback bid past year after he'd missed all of the 2016 season, he refused to get caught up in the possibility of victory this week.

Also playing at the tournament are Poway High School alum and four-time PGA Tour victor Charley Hoffman and San Diego State alumni J.J. Spaun and Xander Schauffele, who won the 2017 FedExCup playoffs-ending tour championship and was awarded the PGA Tour's 2017 Rookie of the Year honor earlier this year.

Woods' most recent competitive play was at December's limited-field, no-cut Hero World Challenge, where he shot three rounds in the 60s but showed some signs of rustiness on and around the greens.

Woods is an eight-time victor at Torrey Pines, including his epic 2008 U.S. Open victory, though won't be among the favourites this week after a long lay-off with injury. He hasn't played more than 10 events since 2015, and his Player of the Year season of 2013 is the last time he made more than 15 starts. "I've seen it so many times on TV, and to have another crack at another PGA Tour event is like a dream come true again", said Davis.

As for his expectations, he admitted he'll be stepping into the unknown on the long and punishing North Course at Torrey Pines today.

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Woods has played the Farmers in three of the last four years. I haven't played a full schedule since 2015.

He beamed his trademark smile multiple times as he spoke to the media for 23 minutes at Torrey Pines, a day before the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open, a tournament he nearly owns with seven victories.

Few thought at the time that almost 10 years later he would not have added to his major haul.

While I admit to being a Tiger apologist, I refuse to get my hopes up even though there seems to be evidence he is in better golf shape than he's been in many years.

"Hopefully his body lets him play a nice, consistent run of events for the next few years and we'll see where that gets him".

Noren finished 12th at the Hero World Challenge and took 31st in the World Golf Championships - HSBC in October.

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"I definitely think so", Els said at the Majlis Course of the Emirates Golf Club, the venue of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when asked if this could be a vintage year for golf.

"He has hardly played in two years, so I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead or think he's going to come back and win straight way. Do you know anybody?"

"I'd like to meet somebody who can swing it over 120 miles an hour with a fused back", he said.

As deep as the PGA Tour is these days and as good as young players like Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler are, no one moves the needle like Tiger.

Woods, 42, will play the first two rounds with countrymen Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

"I didn't know if I was going to get on the next flight".

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As for Rahm, who actually met Woods for the first time Tuesday, he's still trying to wrap his head around being ranked No. 2 in the world when, in June 2016, he was ranked No. 776. I hope it happens for somebody.