Woods Back Where He Wants to Be

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04 Buick InvitationalWhen Tiger Woods tees it up at this weeks Buick Invitational it will be his first event played in five weeks.
 
Judging by last year, that means it should only take a couple of swings to shake off any accumulated rust.
 
Woods made his first start in two months at last years Buick Invitational ' and won by four strokes.
 
His visit to Torrey Pines in 2003 marked his official return to competitive golf following knee surgery the previous December.
 
Any questions? Woods prompted the media after earning his second career title in this event (1999).
 
No. Woods provided all the answers that week.
 
He showed no lingering effects from the surgery; showed that he was far from intimidated by the quick start Ernie Els got off to ' winning the first two events of the 2003 season; showed any off-course squabble with Phil Mickelson had no relevance inside the ropes.
 
While Woods enters the 2004 Buick Invitational in perfect physical health ' and doesnt have to deal the with the media flurry that he did a year ago at this time when Mickelson labeled his equipment as inferior - he finds himself in a slightly similar situation to that of a year ago.
 
Woods finds himself well behind some formidable names on the money list.
 
Tiger won $275,000 for his fourth-place tie at the Mercedes Championships; his only event played thus far this season.
 
Vijay Singh, who ended Tiger's four-year monetary reign a year ago, is back on top of the money list. Thanks to his victory at Pebble Beach, he has $1,966,000.
 
Bob Hope champion Mickelson has already collected nearly $1.34 million, while Els' repeat triumph at the Sony Open has him with $943,000.
 
By the time he got to Torrey Pines a year ago, Woods was already more than $1.8 million behind Els. Four starts later, however, he had won three times and had overtaken the top spot on Money Mountain.
 
A repeat victory would give him $864,000 ' not enough to surpass Singh, but enough to cross the million-dollar mark in just two tournaments.
 
Even if he doesnt win again, it is likely that he will be in contention until the conclusion.
 
Woods has never finished worse than fifth in six career starts in this event, which is contested on a pair of courses on which he grew up playing ' though, they are not the same North and South courses that he played on as a junior.
 
It really has become a placement course, which wasn't the case before. You could just bomb away off the tee, Woods said in his monthly newsletter.
 
The South Course ' which will host the 2008 U.S. Open ' measures in at 7,568 yards (par 72). The North Course is 6,874 yards (par 72). Each course is tested once over the first two rounds, with the South played exclusively over the weekend.
 
But Woods isnt the only player to have success in the San Diego area.
 
Mickelson is one of only two back-to-back winners (J.C. Snead, 1975-76) in tournament history; accomplishing the feat in 2000 and 2001. The left-hander won in 1993 as well, making him the only three-time winner.
 
Others scheduled to attend include: FBR Open winner Jonathan Kaye, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Chad Campbell and Lee Westwood.
 
Related Link:
  • Full Coverage - Buick Invitational