Time was, if Tiger Woods stuck a peg in the ground at Torrey Pines, everyone else was playing for second.
He knew it, and they knew it, too.
Woods has won seven times -- including, most famously, the 2008 US Open -- on this scenic muni cut into the San Diego bluffs over the Pacific Ocean. Starting in 2005, he won five straight starts here, culminating with that 14th major, claimed heroically on one good leg.
More important, winning at Torrey Pines set the tone for in each of those years for Woods, who won 25 times in that four-year span.
"Torrey was always a tournament that I thought was the most important of the year for Tiger," says his former coach, Hank Haney. "He talks a lot about momentum, and a good start to the year always gave him the momentum he wanted. Tiger won at Torrey every time that he played there while I helped him."
Torrey Pines isn't just a layout that, in Woods-speak "fits my eye" -- like Firestone or Bay Hill or Augusta National or even Muirfield Village -...