LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA | Like the hang gliders and the hypnotic views from the cliffs that frame the Pacific Ocean, Tiger Woods is part of the scenery at Torrey Pines.
Every year that he comes to the Farmers Insurance Open, he tells the story of this being the place he saw his first PGA Tour event, walking with his father, Earl, getting an up-close look at the game he would soon change.
Woods has won eight times here – one U.S. Open and seven PGA Tour events – but he arrived here this week feeling a sense of renewal.
A year ago, he arrived with hope and uncertainty, wondering if his fused back would allow him to play golf close to the way he once did. It took a few months before Woods and everyone else realized just how good he could be.
Now we know and he knows.
Still, though, it’s different.
Not better. Not worse. Just different.
The skinny guy in the oversized shirts to whom we were introduced is now 43 years old, telling stories about his two kids and talking about the forced days off when his body needs rest more than it needs reps in the gym or on the course.
Woods stood on the edge of Torrey Pines’ practice green Tuesday afternoon and was struck by how many of the players he didn’t know.
While he was gone, while he was having back surgeries and doubts about his future, the game kept rushing ahead.
Until the first round Thursday, Woods had never played with Xander Schauffele or Tony Finau. He didn’t need an introduction and neither did they –...
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