A herd of sports reporters and photographers gathered for several hours Tuesday at the Torrey Pines Golf Course and waited for Tiger Woods to arrive.
And waited. And waited.
Soon enough, golf's highest-profile athlete will be the one counting down the minutes.
As the usual top player in the world, Woods has grown accustomed to hitting the course — where he has won five straight championships — early in the morning. On Wednesday, the day before the tournament opens, Woods will tee off at 11 a.m.
On the bright side, the third-ranked Woods has time for a big breakfast, and he gets a familiar face at his side.
In Woods' last Torrey Pines appearance, he won the U.S. Open in June 2008 in a dramatic Monday playoff against Rocco Mediate. On Thursday, the two will be paired together.
How things have changed for Woods since gutting through a knee injury to force the playoff hole and defeat Mediate to the wild ovation of the Torrey Pines gallery.
He underwent knee surgery and missed the rest of the season.
In 2009, Woods became embroiled in a sex scandal that cost him his marriage, reputation and nearly all of his endorsements. Over a dozen women claimed to have had an affair with Woods, including Jaimee Grubbs, a San Diego cocktail waitress.
Tiger hopes to recapture his old swagger in San Diego.
For that, everyone will have to wait.