Rusty Tiger Woods may struggle to get under par at Torrey Pines
South Course to punish errant driving
Sky Sports Golf, 5pm Thursday
Golf fans are desperate for the Tiger Woods comeback to gather pace – nothing would be more captivating than a battle of the generations between the 14-time Major champion and the modern breed – but punters should not let their hearts rule their heads.
The general reaction to the performance of Woods in the Hero World Challenge in the first week of December was over the top, generated from this yearning for the former king of golf to make his mark on the sport again. And the resultant optimism for the Farmers Insurance Open this week means there is value to be had in opposing the old master.
Woods to card 73 or worse in his opening Farmers round is a decent price at 8-13 with bet365, while 6-4 about him missing the halfway cut is also worth an interest. This tournament is a much tougher assignment for Woods than the Hero.
The best players in the world were at the Hero, but it was an 18-runner event with no cut, and event host Woods got the course set up exactly how he wanted. Albany was forgiving off the tee, taking pressure away from the main Woods weakness, and he finished ninth.
Torrey Pines South is a much more difficult course, and one which demands driving perfection, with only long and straight drives good enough to lay a solid foundation on the par fours and fives. A tree-lined layout with juicy rough is the ultimate test for Tiger.
Woods opens his Farmers campaign at the South in round one, and it would be a surprise if he manages par or better. His record in this event is second to none, but the success came when he was the best player on the planet. He tees off this week ranked 647th in the world and his event prior to the Hero comprised a first-round 77 and a withdrawal from the Dubai Desert Classic. The week before that he carded a Thursday 76 and missed the Farmers cut by four shots.
It is not fun being the prophet of doom and Woods definitely looks healthier and more aggressive through the ball 12 months after his previous Torrey Pines visit, but there is a strong chance he is just not ready to compete on such a challenging layout.
The 42-year-old has played in only four tournaments in the last 29 months, with a total of 11 competitive rounds in that period, so it is asking an awful lot for him to suddenly transform back into Superman.
Woods tees off alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman at 6.40pm UK and Ireland time. Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay comprise an all-Californian group on the North Course at 5.30, with Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama and Phil Mickelson following ten minutes later. Tournament favourite and defending champion Jon Rahm starts on the South at 6.30.
T Woods to card 73 or worse in round one
3pts 8-13 bet365
T Woods to miss cut
1pt 6-4 bet365, Sky Bet
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