Tiger Woods is fighting again, as the American broadcaster Golf Channel aptly described, like Don Quixote against windmills. Again and again he tried in vain to dampen the often exaggerated expectations. And this year they are particularly high. In the past 13 months, the superstar has achieved three great victories, won his 15th major title with the Masters and, after knee surgery in autumn, ended the year brilliantly.

He won the 82nd PGA Tour triumph at the Zozo Championship in Japan, equalizing Sam Snead’s record. His last appearance impressed all observers and colleagues. As a playing captain, he led the American team in Melbourne to victory in the Presidents Cup against a world selection without Europe. He won his three matches and demonstrated his class with a single win over the Mexican Abraham Ancer.

More ball speed

It was therefore not surprising that before the annual debut on Torrey Pines’ North Course in La Jolla, a neighborhood in San Diego, the darling of the public had to put everyone in his place at the Farmers Insurance Open, who was on the Pacific facility already seen as the big favorite for the 83rd win on the PGA Tour. “I don’t think of records. I’m thinking of how I have to play, what my tactics look like, ”said Woods, who will be playing new metal woods this Thursday. They should bring him a little more ball speed and thus more distance when teeing off. It remains to be seen whether he can use it to steer the ball onto the fairway on different bends, as in his last appearances.

Despite these small objections, Woods was optimistic before he went on the first round together with the Spanish world rankings third Jon Rahm and the American up-and-coming hope Collin Morikawa: “There is not a lot to dust off in my game,” he said – but dampened everyone again, who wanted to make him a top favorite: “At my age there are more bad days than good”, Woods described his physical condition after four back and knee operations. “I can’t just go to the first tee and hit the ball 300 yards. I have to warm up and prepare for hours, ”he explained as he prepares his body for the stresses of the tournament.


That’s why he always takes breaks. Woods hasn’t played much in the past few weeks. He didn’t touch a racket for two weeks after the Presidents Cup. “Then on my 44th birthday on December 30th I did a lap with my son Charlie, just as I always did with my father,” he says. On January 13, he served as a caddy for his ten-year-old son at a youth tournament in Florida. The videos of the swing of the Filius caused a sensation on the Internet. Colleagues winked with a wink that they already saw the next major champion, the next big dominator, described the swing as better than that of the father. Indeed: The swing of Woods junior is impressive, even if he landed in the 9-hole tournament with five strokes over par in the beaten field.

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