Date: January 23, 2013
Author: Bruce Young /

Woods returns to happy hunting ground

Torrey Pines, the scene of perhaps Tiger Wood s most dramatic major victory and the scene of six of his PGA Tour victories will play host to the world number two once again in 2013. Woods has played this event only once in the last four years having typically played events in the Middle East to start his year instead. He gets the opportunity this week however to rekindle his love affair with the golf courses (North and South Course) and get things moving in the right direction after missing the cut at his opening event of the year in Abu Dhabi. Woods is one of only three players from the world top ten in the field but his presence on a golf course he virtually owned by his domination through the early and mid 2000 s will attract a lot of interest. Woods won six of eleven starts at Torrey Pines between 1998 and 2008 and was never outside the top ten. Throw in his remarkable win on virtually one leg at the 2008 US Open and his record at this venue is simply stunning. Brandt Snedeker is the defending champion and along with three other top ten finishes in six starts at this event he appears a genuine chance to contend. Snedeker was 3rd at the Hyundai to start the season then 23rd last week in La Quinta. He appears well set to continue his good form at Torrey Pines. Bubba Watson is another to have regularly played well in this event having won in 2011 and recorded two other top tens. In his only outing of 2013 he finished 4th at the Hyundai but late in 2013 he was putting together several good tournaments. Dustin Johnson finished third two years ago and after winning the opening event of the 2013 season at Kapalua he was forced to withdraw from the Sony through illness. To be playing here he must be fully recovered it would seem and I expect him to do well. Charles Howell 111 appears to have found a new lease of life in 2013 and as a two time runner-up at Torrey Pines then his chances must be good and at longer odds. He has been 3rd and 2nd in his two starts this year and another similar finish this week would go a long way to securing him a start at Augusta National. Nick Watney is another former winner who deserves respect. Watney won the event in 2009 when nowhere near the player he is now and with three other top tens then his liking for the layout(s) is obvious. Watney has played only once in 2013, that coming when 13th at the Hyundai. The 13 Australians in the field are headed in terms of world ranking by Jason Day who plays his first event of the year. Day has played this event just three times, the last of those in 2010, without much success. John Senden has played well in patches at Torrey Pines but his overall form over the past twelve months has been solid and he could potentially improve on his previous best of 8th in 2008. Marc Leishman was runner-up in 2010 and has not missed a cut in four starts at the event. Leishman played well two weeks ago when 9th at the Sony Open and is therefore in good form heading into this week. Geoff Ogilvy no longer lives in the San Diego area having returned to Scottsdale and has a poor record at the venue. He was only average last week at the Humana Challenge and might yet need a few events to get back to form. Aaron Baddeley, Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby, Greg Chalmers, Matt Jones, Scott Gardiner, Cameron Percy, Alistair Presnell and Steve Bowditch are the other Australians in the field.