Tiger Woods will make his 2019 calendar debut at next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, an event he’s won seven times. The tournament made the official announcement Wednesday.
Woods also committed to playing in the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles on February 14-17 where he doubles as the tournament host.
Woods’ last PGA TOUR appearance was the memorable TOUR Championship in September when he walked up the 18th fairway en route to victory through a crowd of fans. That win was the 80th of his TOUR career, putting him just two shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record.
The last time Tiger Woods played competitively was the week after Thanksgiving at his Hero World Challenge, a non-Tour event in the Bahamas. Woods did not fare well that week, finishing 17th in the 18-man field.
Still, the thought of a healthy Woods for a full season will be a huge storyline this season. A year ago when Woods played at Torrey Pines, he was still unsure how much he could play after enduring four back surgeries.
After being limited to just two tournaments in the span of more than two full calendar years, Woods made his comeback in 2018, starting at Torrey Pines. He played 18 tournaments, securing 12 top-25 finishes and seven top-10s – including a pair of runner-up placings and his TOUR Championship win, his first victory in more than five years. He finished T6 or better in The Open Championship and the PGA Championship and earned more than $5 million for just the second time in nine seasons.
Tiger Woods won the Farmers in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013, and earned his most recent major championship victory in a 19-hole playoff at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008. In addition to his seven victories, Woods has finished in the top 10 six other times in 16 appearances. He is the tournament’s all-time leading money winner, with $6,915,700.
“We couldn’t be happier to have Tiger back in our field,” said Century Club of San Diego CEO Peter Ripa. “He really launched his fairytale comeback season right here last January, and he has enjoyed incredible success at Torrey Pines Golf Course and in our tournament over the years. It will be exciting to see him alongside many of the game’s other top players Jan. 24-27.”
Until last year, Tiger Woods hadn’t played four complete rounds in the Farmers since his last victory here in 2013. After missing the cut during an abbreviated comeback in 2017, he advanced to the weekend last year by making birdie on his 18th hole Friday to make the cut on the number. Rounds of 70 and 72 Saturday and Sunday left him tied for 23rd. He would go on to secure top-10 finishes in the Valspar Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Quicken Loans National, The Open Championship, the PGA Championship and the BMW Championship before his season-ending victory at East Lake.
“This year as a whole was probably the most rewarding, because there was a point where I just didn’t know if I would ever do this again,” Woods said before the Hero World Challenge. “The expectations are much different this upcoming year. Now I know that I can do it, now it’s just about managing and making sure I’m fresh for events, because I know I can win tournaments again.”
Twenty years ago, Woods captured his first title at the Farmers Insurance Open. It was his eighth victory on the PGA TOUR but carried extra significance because of the golf course on which he did it.
Tiger Woods joins a strong list of early commitments that includes defending champion Jason Day; defending FedExCup champion Justin Rose; San Diego native Xander Schauffele; 2017 Farmers Insurance Open winner Jon Rahm; along with world top-30 players Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Marc Leishman, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Alex Noren, Gary Woodland and Hideki Matsuyama.
Joining Fowler and Schauffele among San Diego products committed to the Farmers Insurance Open are Torrey Pines High School graduates Pat Perez and Jamie Lovemark, Poway product Charley Hoffman and San Diego State University alum J.J. Spaun. Joining Tiger Woods and Rahm as past tournament champions who have committed are Day (2018, 2015), Brandt Snedeker (2016, 2012), Scott Stallings (2014), Ben Crane (2010) and Nick Watney (2009). Young up-and-coming players to watch who have committed include PGA TOUR rookie and long-bomber Cameron Champ and 19-year-old Chilean sensation Joaquin Niemann.