But Woods, like everyone else, is facing a new South Course this week ' one thats 7,607 yards long.
The changes are impressive, Woods said after playing the course for the first time in a Wednesday practice round. Theyve done a heck of a job here.
All 18 holes on the municipal course have been altered ' some more than others. One of the primary reasons for doing so was to entice the United States Golf Association to host a future U.S. Open at this venue.
Woods said earlier in the year that Torrey Pines ' which has both a South and North Course ' didnt have the necessary attributes to host a major. He changed his mind after playing Wednesday.
They can definitely play an Open here, said the 1999 Buick Invitational champion. Theyve lengthened it enough, and Im sure the USGA will come in here and narrow the fairways up, firm up the greens and hide these pins. So that makes a wonderful U.S. Open.
Tiger is making his third PGA Tour start of the season this week. He tied for 10th at the Mercedes Championships and tied for 12th last week at Pebble Beach.
Woods hasnt won on the tour since the WGC-NEC Invitational in August. Its not as bad as it sounds; hes making just his sixth official start (not including overseas) since his third straight victory in Akron.
Woods didnt win until his sixth start of the 2001 season. Dating back to 2000, Woods went winless over an eight-start stretch, thus prompting talk of the S word.
Woods is far from a slump. In fact, he feels his game is nearing where he wants it to be.
The strongest part of my game is probably my short game. Ive had a lot of practice at it, unfortunately, he said. Im working on a few things this week to get my playing more consistent, and thats going to take a little time. Its coming around, and when I do trust it I hit good shots, and thats a good thing.
Wednesday, he shot 1-under-par 71 on the South Course, including a birdie at the now 571-yard, par-5 18th. He, and the rest of the 156-man field, will alternate between the South and North (6,874 yards) Courses over the first two days. They will then play the South Course exclusively over the final two rounds.
The players won't get much of a break over the first two days at the South Course, as the blue tees - instead of the longer black - will be used only on holes four and 12. The maximum yardage of 7,607 has been slightly decreased to 7,568 yards.
'Single digits (under par) could win if we get the right wind,' he said. 'If we get the fan blowing from the ocean, (the South) course could present a problem.'