The Farmers Insurance tournament returns to the beauty that is Torrey Pines, but even bigger than the event at one of the most scenic stops on the Tour, is that Tiger Woods returns to action.
This always seems to be the hot topic among the golf writers, as while some embrace Tiger’s entrance into a tournament and hope for good things to happen, there are others, probably just trying to make a name for themselves, that proclaim Tiger is done and should stay away from the game.
The PGA Tour has gotten a boost the last couple of years with the emergence of young guns like Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, as well as the return to prominence of Dustin Johnson.
The McIlroy-Patrick Reed match during the Ryder Cup was must see TV! But make no mistake about it – Tiger moves the needle like no other.
Take my Dad for example. A sports fan, but one who rarely watches golf – except when Tiger plays. His TV will be on the Farmers Open this week, if Tiger is in the tournament.
He won’t be the only one.
Tickets sales got a huge boost when Tiger announced he was playing and the TV ratings for the first two days will be as good as any first two days the entire year, outside of the four majors. And even then, it might be close.
Golf needs nothing more than for Tiger to come back and come back strong. It will boost ratings and ticket sales. It also will move into coverage on just about every news shows. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, outside the week of the AT&T and perhaps majors, golf will only get a mention on Sunday night sports wrap show and even then, it might be 10 seconds.
This week? I expect mentions on how Tiger did, as well as a video clip on Thursday and Friday, then throughout the weekend if he makes the cut.
Tiger at this point in his career is like a car wreck on the freeway in some respect. In one sense, people watching will want to see him play bad and flame out. Those the truly love the golf and want the best for the game, will want big things from Tiger.
Count me among those that I want to see Tiger contend. His performance at the Hero World Challenge back in December in Bahamas showed a fair number of positive signs, but it will take some time.
Realistically we should hope for two solid rounds on Thursday and Friday. Can he make the cut? Maybe, but two solid rounds are a great first step, with making the cut being gravy.
In the end, it’s great that he’s back and I look forward to watching!
By Dennis Miller