It’s a new year, but the seven-time winner at The Farmers Insurance Open looks to have some of the same old problems that have haunted him for the past five years. Tiger Woods was somewhat like a drill Sergeant on Thursday afternoon at the Torrey Pines South golf course. Left Right Left Right. He failed to break par in the first round that was delayed getting started because of fog….again!
In his first start on the PGA Tour in the 2014 season, the world’s number one didn’t look at all sharp. Not only was he spraying his new driver all over the golf course, but his wedge game, that has greatly improved over the past couple of years didn’t serve him either.
Playing along-side the 2013 Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth, and the year’s first two-time winner, Jimmy Walker, Tiger Woods shot even par on the South Course, and ended his day eight shots back. Spieth, who played his first PGA event here last year and missed the cut, shot even par as well. Walker ended his day at two over par.
“Even par is not too bad, but I didn’t play the par 5s worth a darn today,” Woods said. “Obviously, that’s (tantamount) to try to get any kind of scoring on the South Course. You’ve got to take care of the par 5s because there’s not a lot of holes you can make birdie here. Subsequently, I didn’t finish under par.”
Even at eight shots off the pace, I wouldn’t count Tiger out of this tournament. The South Course at Torrey Pines is 600 yards longer than the North Course where most of the leaders played. The monster on the South side is the longest golf course on the PGA Tour, and played almost four strokes harder on Thursday.
“I’m going to have to go out there and get it a little bit tomorrow to not be so far behind come Saturday or Sunday,” Woods said.
Stewart Cink leads the tournament by one stroke over Gary Woodland who also played the North Course on Thursday. In fact, the only player on the leaderboard who played the South Course was Pat Perez who’s -5 under par was good only for a fifth-place tie.
The 2009 Open Champion had it going on Thursday. He was in the fairways, and he was able to roll in some putts. Cink went bogey-free in the first round, and went on a birdie run on the back-nine where he made five birdies, and three in a row at one time.
“You want to really take advantage of the North Course because it will yield to you a little bit, and the South Course will not,” Cink said. “I did a great job of going out there, just playing shot-by-shot, not really getting too caught up in, `I have to birdie these holes.’ As a consequence, I actually made a few birdies and it felt great.”
The Farmers Insurance Open is really a tale of two golf courses. One really needs to wait until the second round is completed to get a line on how everyone played. After the cut on Friday evening, everyone moves to the South Course for the completion of the tournament, and Saturday (moving day) is when everyone is playing on equal footing, and Tiger Woods usually makes his move.
Tiger took an eight-shot lead into the final round here last year in an event that was finished up on Monday, after fog cancelled play on Saturday. Woods finished with a four-shot victory for his first of five wins in 2013.
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