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 1:35 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 1:35 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320292

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22299271
Hinds20782424
Harrison18455317
Rankin13933282
Jackson13740249
Madison10276225
Lee10068176
Jones8475167
Forrest7845153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6524150
Lamar636688
Lafayette6315121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4842133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4610148
Marshall4576105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc426173
Monroe4163136
Union415977
Neshoba4066180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3374111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314771
Adams308586
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292468
Prentiss284461
Leake272474
Marion271480
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232469
Winston230382
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210759
Holmes190574
Stone188833
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135547
Greene131934
Lawrence131424
Montgomery128943
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126542
Carroll122330
Webster115132
Jefferson Davis108534
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79218
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549394

Reported Deaths: 11328
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810851571
Mobile42180832
Madison35733524
Tuscaloosa26186460
Shelby25638255
Montgomery25103615
Baldwin21921314
Lee16301176
Calhoun14725329
Morgan14650286
Etowah14192364
Marshall12465230
Houston10798289
Elmore10302214
Limestone10191157
St. Clair10166251
Cullman9975201
Lauderdale9621250
DeKalb8978190
Talladega8467184
Walker7351281
Autauga7244113
Jackson6993113
Blount6957139
Colbert6418140
Coffee5650128
Dale4931116
Russell455241
Chilton4476116
Franklin432082
Covington4283123
Tallapoosa4137155
Escambia402380
Chambers3731124
Dallas3609158
Clarke353361
Marion3264107
Pike314878
Lawrence3135100
Winston283672
Bibb268664
Geneva258782
Marengo250566
Pickens237062
Barbour234460
Hale227078
Butler225071
Fayette219763
Henry194844
Randolph187744
Cherokee187545
Monroe181041
Washington170639
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156157
Cleburne153744
Lamar147237
Lowndes142154
Wilcox126830
Bullock124642
Conecuh113830
Coosa112129
Perry108826
Sumter106032
Greene93734
Choctaw62125
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 94°
Columbus
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 96°
Oxford
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 88°
Starkville
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 86°
More hot and humid conditions will be in store for our area on Friday. We will see some isolated showers and thunderstorms as the rule on Friday. All of this will be due to some bits and pieces of low pressure working their way through our area.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather