After much buzz following icon Tiger Woods' mid-week commitment to the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a bit of that buzz, at least in San Diego, was dampened by Phil Mickelson's decision to sit the tournament out.
The high-profile PGA tournament takes over the Torrey Pines Golf Course Jan. 24 through Jan. 27. The weekend at Torrey without Phil, a hometown hero, will have an unfamiliar feel -- This would have been Lefty's 29th straight start at the tournament.
Mickelson announced his decision on Twitter Friday and said his next event after this weekend's Desert Classic in La Quinta will be the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.
The future Hall of Famer ended his tweet with "I will try to make it up to the great community of SD!"
As for the Big Cat, Woods joins a strong field of links legends that includes defending champ Jason Day, as well as Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Rickey Fowler and Xander Schauffele. There are also many San Diego-based golfers playing in the tourney.
The Century Club of San Diego – the organization that hosts the Farmers Insurance Open – announced Woods’ official commitment to the event Wednesday. The tournament will mark Woods’ 2019 debut. He snagged his 80th career PGA Tour victory at the Tour Championship in September 2018.
Over the past few years, Woods has been suffering from back injuries. In 2018, he made his comeback at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, where he tied for 23rd place.
He then went on to play 18 tournaments, finishing in the top 25 rankings in tournaments 12 times, and in the top 10 seven times. This included a pair of runner-up spots and his Tour Championship victory, which was his first win in five years.
Torrey Pines is comfortable territory for Tiger. He has won the tournament seven times in his career, including 20 years ago in 1999 and then in 2003; 2005; 2006; 2007; 2008; and 2013. He is the tournament’s all-time leading prize money winner, earning $6,915,700.
Peter Ripa, CEO of the Century Club of San Diego, called Woods’ return to Torrey Pines in 2018 the launch of his “fairytale comeback season” and said it’ll be thrilling to watch him play on the course where he has enjoyed so much success over the years.
At the Hero World Challenge in November 2018, Woods said 2018 had been his “most rewarding” year as a professional golfer because, at one point, in his words, “I just didn’t know if I would ever do this again.”
“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,” Woods added.
Woods has said in the past that this PGA Tour event is the first that his father ever took him to, so, for him, it carries special significance.
Tickets to the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open are now available online. This is the 52nd time the event is being held at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.