Tiger Woods plots Masters bid as Rahm eyes No.1

He should be the star attraction as the tour's most recent winner, the defending champion and the world No.1 in waiti...

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 2:35 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 2:35 PM

He should be the star attraction as the tour's most recent winner, the defending champion and the world No.1 in waiting, but Jon Rahm is happy to let the focus be on Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines.

Spain's Rahm can overtake Dustin Johnson at the head of the rankings with a third PGA Tour win in this week's Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.

Tiger Woods plays first event in 2018

First full-field event since February

Has won eight times at Torrey Pines venue

But instead the world of golf is giddy with Woods' first full-field event since he retired hurt from the Dubai Desert Classic last February ahead of a fourth back operation.

Woods, now 42, underwent fusion surgery on his spine in April but returned to play in December's elite Hero World Challenge, appearing pain free and able to swing freely.

His fitness and level of play in finishing tied ninth of 18 in the Bahamas suggested the former world No.1's latest comeback has more substance than at the same stage last year.

"It's all finished now, it's fused and my quality of life is infinitely better than it was at this point last year," Woods told a pre-tournament news conference.

"My expectations have tempered a little bit because I haven't played.

"I just want to play on tour and get into the rhythm again. I'm going to grind it, give it everything I have. But I'm just trying to build toward April. I'm trying to play a full schedule and build for the Masters."

READ: Woods targets majors in 2018

This time last year Woods had come through the Hero event unscathed after 15 months out following multiple back surgeries but missed the cut at Torrey Pines.

He then withdrew with back spasms after a first-round 77 in Dubai. Other than last year, this week's Farmers Insurance Open represents Woods first full-field event on the PGA Tour since August 2015.

However, Woods has some serious history at the Torrey Pines course. It was the scene of the last of his 14 major titles 10 years ago -- achieved on a broken leg -- and venue for seven other Tour titles.

On Tuesday, a relaxed-looking Woods played an early-morning practice round with Australian Jason Day, with whom he has forged a close friendship in recent years, and young American Bryson DeChambeau.

"This time he definitely looks ready," Day told reporters after their round. "I think his swing is really nice, he's hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he's got some speed, which is great. And his touch is coming back."

READ: Tiger Woods impresses on comeback

'Big question mark'

However, Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who has had a volatile relationship with Woods over the years, sounded a note of caution over the American's return.

"It's going to be interesting to see," the Spaniard told a news conference ahead of his Dubai Desert Classic defence Wednesday.

"But, in my opinion, it's a big question mark to see how he's going to be able to do physically. I think that he looked pretty good at the Hero Challenge. But he has looked good at the Hero Challenge in the past and then, you know, he hasn't lasted too long."

READ: Blind golf champion redfines what's possible

'World No.1 bid'

Woods, who held the world No.1 spot for a record 683 weeks, only met Rahm for the first time this week.

The 23-year-old, who held top-ranking as an amateur for a record 60 weeks, has made a meteoric rise on the tour since turning pro in 2016.

This week marks only his 39th start as a pro -- victory, in the absence of top-ranked Johnson, would make him the second-quickest player to reach world No. 1 after Woods, who took 21 events to reach the top in 1997.

Rahm has yet to record a top-10 finish in the five majors he has played as a professional.

"The more attention you guys have on Tiger, the better for me, quite frankly," the PGA Tour reported Rahm as saying Tuesday.

"Hopefully I keep playing good and give you guys something to talk about, but it's not bad that the attention's on Tiger. It's good for golf, it's good for all of us."

READ: The life of a trick-shot artist

The US-based Rahm overtook three-time major champion Jordan Spieth to reach world No.2 after clinching the CareerBuilder Challenge last week, following his breakthrough win at Torrey Pines last year. He has also won two titles on the European Tour.

He is the fourth Spaniard to reach second in the world after Seve Ballesteros, Jose-Maria Olazabal and Garcia. However Rahm would be only the second to reach No.1 after Ballesteros.

"It's hard to believe, to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth, three-time major champion, I only have two wins, he's got 10 plus, right?" Rahm told reporters after Sunday's playoff win in La Quinta, California.

"It's again, I said it many times, I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now, especially the way I won both victories, it couldn't be anymore different than the other."

Visit CNN.com/golf for more news, features and videos

Rahm will play alongside Day and Brandt Snedeker in the first two rounds, while Woods will accompany Charley Hoffman and US Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36578

Reported Deaths: 2258
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10188604
Lake3876207
Allen181071
Cass15919
Elkhart158528
St. Joseph135838
Hendricks120478
Hamilton119194
Johnson1125113
Madison60061
Porter56233
Clark53942
Bartholomew53139
LaPorte44824
Howard44236
Tippecanoe4344
Jackson4012
Delaware39741
Shelby39722
Hancock35427
Boone32436
Floyd31941
Vanderburgh2913
Morgan28626
Noble27821
Montgomery24917
Clinton2471
White2399
Decatur23132
Grant22923
Dubois2113
Kosciusko2052
Harrison19622
Marshall1872
Henry18512
Vigo1828
Greene17226
Dearborn17122
Monroe17113
Lawrence17124
Warrick16729
Miami1461
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
LaGrange1282
Scott1263
Franklin1168
Ripley1086
Daviess10416
Carroll952
Wayne906
Steuben902
Wabash812
Newton8010
Fayette797
Jasper741
Jay580
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Fulton511
Washington501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb451
Starke423
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Wells350
Owen341
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford250
Adams231
Switzerland220
Spencer221
Fountain222
Gibson202
Parke180
Posey160
Martin140
Warren131
Ohio130
Vermillion100
Union100
Pike60
Unassigned0180

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37758

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6323295
Cuyahoga4789265
Hamilton2811171
Marion268832
Lucas2329263
Pickaway209938
Summit1529181
Mahoning1486191
Butler97532
Columbiana89453
Stark803102
Montgomery73417
Lorain73061
Trumbull60052
Belmont44915
Warren40721
Medina37624
Tuscarawas3714
Ashtabula36938
Miami36730
Delaware36014
Portage33557
Lake32512
Clark3237
Fairfield3188
Wood30649
Geauga30334
Wayne29651
Licking27110
Mercer2278
Richland2224
Allen22133
Clermont2195
Darke19023
Erie18416
Madison1647
Washington11819
Crawford1184
Morrow1081
Ottawa10717
Greene1065
Putnam9514
Sandusky9112
Monroe8015
Auglaize773
Hardin730
Ross732
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Huron611
Williams581
Holmes573
Union561
Muskingum561
Hancock531
Coshocton480
Wyandot482
Clinton471
Shelby473
Fulton450
Logan430
Fayette410
Preble391
Guernsey382
Carroll353
Defiance342
Brown311
Lawrence301
Highland291
Champaign281
Seneca262
Knox251
Ashland230
Vinton212
Perry191
Athens181
Scioto180
Henry170
Jackson150
Paulding140
Adams111
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 84°
Angola
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 81°
Huntington
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 82°
Decatur
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 86°
Van Wert
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 86°
Sunny & Pleasant Weekend
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events