Woods wins at Torrey Pines for 8th time
He made bogey from the bunker on No. 14. He hooked a tee shot off the eucalyptus trees and into a patch of ice plant on the 15th, leading to double bogey. After another long wait on the 17th tee, he popped up his tee shot and made another bogey. With a four-shot lead on the 18th — Kyle Stanley blew a three-shot lead a year ago — he hit wedge safely behind the hole for a two-putt par.
Woods finished on 14-under 274 for his 14th win in California, and 11th in San Diego County.
"I think a win always makes it special, especially the way I played," Woods said. "To have not won would have been something else because I really played well. Playing the way I did for most of this tournament, until the very end, the last five holes, I felt like I should have won this tournament. I put myself in a position where I had a big enough lead, and that's basically how I felt like I played this week.
"I know I can do that, and it was nice to be able to do it."
Like so many of his big wins, the only drama was for second place.
Brad Fritsch, the rookie from Canada, birdied his last two holes for a 75. That put him into a tie for ninth, however, making him eligible for the Phoenix Open next week. Fritsch had been entered in the Monday qualifier that he had to abandon when the Farmers Insurance Open lost Saturday to a fog delay.
Woods was so far ahead that he would have had to collapse for anyone to have a chance, and that never looked possible.
Even so, the red shirt seemed to put him on edge. It didn't help that as he settled over his tee shot on the par-5 ninth, he backed off when he heard a man behind the ropes take his picture.
Woods rarely hits the fairway after an encounter with a camera shutter, and this was no different — it went so far right that it landed on the other side of a fence enclosing a corporate hospitality area.
Woods took his free drop, punched out below the trees into the fairway and then showed more irritation when his wedge nicked the flag after one hop and spun down the slope 30 feet away instead of stopping next to the hole.
He didn't show much reaction on perhaps his most memorable shot of the day — with his legs near the edge of a bunker some 75 feet to the left of the 11th green, he blasted out to the top shelf and watched the ball take dead aim until it stopped a foot short. A two-putt birdie on the 13th gave him an eight-shot lead, and then it was only a matter of time — a lot of time — until the trophy presentation.
Before anyone projects a monster year for Woods based on one week, especially when that week is at Torrey Pines, remember that no one else in golf — not even McIlroy — is the subject of more snap judgments.
Woods, however, likes the direction he is headed, especially with his short game.
"I'm excited about this year. I'm excited about what I'm doing with Sean (Foley) and some of the things that I've built," he said. "This is a nice way to start the year."
Woods is not likely to return to golf until the Match Play Championship next month.