Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson Headline Field At Farmer’s Insurance Open
January 26th, 2011- By Bryan Cross
Tiger Woods will make his 2011 PGA debut this week at Torrey Pines for the playing of the Farmer’s Insurance Open. Woods has won the last five times he has played at Torrey Pines and this tournament six times, with the last a victory on the course at the 2008 U.S Open.
Woods will have two familiar playing partners at Torrey Pines in his first two rounds, as he will play his first 36 holes with Anthony Kim and Rocco Mediate. Kim and Woods are friends and both sponsored by Nike. Mediate was in the 18-hole Monday playoff in that 2008 U.S Open that was won by Woods on the first hole of sudden death after the two tied on the first 18.
“It’s funny how that pairing happened,” Mediate said upon learning that he will be playing with Woods. “What a shocker.”
“It’s going to be fantastic,” Mediate added. “I haven’t seen him in a while [and] I haven’t played with him since ’08. It’s been a long time, it will be a lot of fun.”
Woods, Mediate and Kim will tee off on the North Course at Torrey Pines at noon ET in the first round, and will tee off at 1 pm ET on the South Course on Friday.
As for Woods, he enters this season as the defending champion of nothing, going win-less for the first time in his professional career in 2010. At his pre-tournament conference on Wednesday afternoon, the now No.3 ranked golfer in the world said that he has worked hard during the off-season to fine-tune his swing changes and all-around game.
“I think it’s nice to have an off season where I wasn’t in pain and recovering from something,” Woods said. “I’ve had so many darn surgeries and everything. Granted I had a cortisone shot (in his ankle), but I was fine in a week.”
In addition to Woods, Phil Mickelson will also be making his 2011 PGA Tour debut this week, though he played overseas last week in a tournament won by Martin Kaymer. Mickelson didn’t play very well there, finishing 19 strokes behind, but will look to turn that around this week. Like Woods, Mickelson has also found success at Torrey Pines, winning three times on the course.
PGA Tour betting odds has installed Woods as the favorite to win this event, and perhaps send a message that he is beginning to return to the type of player he used to be. If Woods is able to put together a win, it could be foreshadowing for the 2011 season.
Top 10 Favorites To Win- Courtesy Of Bodog Sportsbook
Tiger Woods 5/2
Phil Mickelson 16/1
Dustin Johnson 16/1
Charles Howell III 25/1
Nick Watney 20/1
Rickie Fowler 20/1
Bill Haas 28/1
Ben Crane 40/1
Hunter Mahan 35/1
Anthony Kim 33/1