PGA Tour

Woods to launch tour comeback

2018-01-23 22:42
Tiger Woods (Getty)

La Jolla - Tiger Woods returns to US PGA Tour competition on Thursday playing alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

The 14-time major champion, whose eight professional wins at Torrey Pines include the 2008 US Open, will tee off on the South Course at 10:40 a.m. (18:30 GMT), on Thursday, according to the tee times announced on Tuesday.

It will be his first US PGA Tour event since he missed the cut at the same tournament last year -- when he was returning to the PGA Tour for a first start in 18 months.

Recurring back pain in his next tournament in Dubai cut short that comeback, leading to yet another back procedure and 10 months on the sidelines before Woods made a promising return at the unofficial Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December.

Jon Rahm, who arrives for his title defense ranked number two in the world after winning the CareerBuilder Challenge at La Quinta, California, on Sunday, will play one group ahead of Woods alongside former world number one Jason Day of Australia and Brandt Snedeker, a two-time winner at Torrey Pines.

"It puts a little bit more on me," Rahm said of the increased expectations he'll carry after his victory in the California desert.

"I hoped it was going to be on Tiger the whole week and leave me a little bit alone, even though I was defending champion, but for sure this is going to carry a little bit of attention, but in the end I love Torrey Pines and I had a great week and hopefully I can carry the ball striking over and repeat."

Elsewhere in the first round, world number five Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and sixth-ranked Justin Rose of England will play with five-time major winner Phil Mickelson in the first and second rounds.

That high-octane group will play the first round on Torrey Pines' North Course, one of two in use before the two weekend rounds are played on the South Course.

World number seven Rickie Fowler will also play the first round on the North Course, paired with the PGA Tour's 2017 Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

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