As he prepares to make his season debut at the Farmers Insurance Open this week at Torrey Pines in San Diego, Tiger Woods has bigger goals in mind for 2019 than he did a year ago.
“Way different,” Woods told reporters Tuesday about his expectations compared to 12 months ago. “ I know what my body can and cannot do. Last year was a very fluid ... it was like trying to hit a moving target. It was quite interesting to try to figure it all out as the year progressed and evolved.
“This year I have a great understanding of what I can and can’t do. There’s not that uncertainty I had going into last year.”
Woods’ 2018 campaign — as he returned from a fourth back surgery — was a resounding success, culminating in a victory at the Tour Championship, the 80th title of his career. Amid his strong play, Woods entered more events than he intended, leading to some fatigue late in the season.
This time around, he expects to be more prepared for the long haul.
“The offseason for me, a lot of it has been training, trying to get stronger,” Woods said. “Last year, toward the end of the season, I got really tired because I didn’t expect to play that much golf at the end and I didn’t train for it.
“This offseason I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym, and I’ve gotten a lot stronger, and I feel like my legs are there where they need to be. Which they weren’t at the end of the season.”
Woods, who turned 43 in December, said his workouts don’t look anything like they used to. He doesn’t run, work with heavy weights, or emphasize explosive training like in the past.
“Hell no, I don’t do that stuff anymore,” he said with a smile. “I can’t even if I wanted to.”
However, he has been able to return to a few of his favorite hobbies, like freediving and spearfishing, things he was unable to do before his last back surgery.
After enjoying the offseason, Woods returns to the tour with plenty of ground to make up in the FedEx Cup Standings, having missed the first seven events. But he doesn’t anticipate that being an issue if he performs when it matters most.
“I’m way behind in points, but I’m not really looking at it that way,” Woods said. “There’s been a number of years that I’ve only played in 15 to 17 events. If I play well in the big events, and win some here and there, that will take care of itself.”
That will start this week at Torrey Pines, where Woods has won eight times, including his last major title at the 2008 U.S. Open. He will be paired with FedEx Cup points leader Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau for the first two rounds, after playing a practice round Tuesday with Jordan Spieth, who is in the field for the first time since 2015.
“This is a golf course, a property that I’ve always loved,” Woods said. “Jordan asked me how long I’ve been coming down here. I said, ‘10 years more than you’ve been alive.’”
Thursday will mark Woods’ first competitive tournament action since the Ryder Cup nearly four months ago.
“I haven’t played on the Tour since September, so I’m looking forward to getting started,” he said.
—Field Level Media