Tens of thousands of fans attended the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open and many came looking for one player.
“Have you seen Tiger?”
“Is that Tiger?”
Those were the comments coming from a jam packed 1st hole as fans, lined-up ten deep in some places, waited for PGA pro Tiger Woods to tee off.
Shortly before 10:40am, Woods parted the sea of fans, making the walk to the 1st tee at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Fans held up cell phones to get pictures and shouted the popular “You da man, Tiger!”
When I asked fans which golfer they were here to see, just about all responded, “Tiger!” One fan said Rickey Fowler, another said Hideki Matsuyama.
But they were outliers, it’s clear that Tiger at Torrey was the story of Thursday’s first round.
One fan said, “I’m here to see Tiger play some golf. Why wouldn’t I, he’s back!”
Another fans said, “Tiger brings out the big crowds, he brings the excitement back to the tour. Tiger has done so much for the tour, I’m psyched to see him play.”
The fans that surrounded the first hole stayed with Tiger. It’s not so much a golf gallery that follows Tiger, but a golf groundswell. As soon as Tiger hit his first tee shot, the ball sailed down the fairway and then mass movement. Most of the fans started walking with Tiger to his next shot. It went on like that, Tiger shoots, Tiger walks, fans walk, a golf groundswell from hole to hole until Woods birdie on the 18th hole. It’s amazing to see and has an energy and vibe that is not found with any other golfer or group on the course.
Despite the big crowd, Woods’ fans didn’t have much to cheer about today, Woods shot a 4 over par 76 on the South Course. He’ll need to go well under par Friday on the easier North Course to have any chance of making the cut.