For Tiger Woods, it’s always been about the numbers. Even at 44, the numbers continue to dominate Tiger’s past, present and future.
Fifteen major titles. 82 career victories.
On the verge of history, Woods will begin his 2020 schedule at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines this week with career win No. 83 looming. Tiger sits tied atop the all-time wins list with Sam Snead, and he’ll make his first attempt at breaking the record at a golf course where he has won eight times as a professional and one major title.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Woods on Tuesday in La Jolla, Calif.
“I think that the number, just trying to get to 83, I really don't think about it because I have to think about all the things I need to do to win the golf tournament. There's so many different shots I have to play and strategy and thinking my way around the golf course that I'm more consumed in that.”
Consumed is the perfect choice of words for Woods. Winning has consumed his entire career. To get to the doorstep of 83 career victories, Woods has had to win early, often and in bunches, since his first title back in 1996.
“I think in the course of my career I've won about five times in a year like 10 times,” Woods says.
“I think winning breeds winning. When I won other golf tournaments, I felt more confident going into major championships, and I was able to take off some of the majors because of it.”
The last time we saw Tiger on the golf course was at the President’s Cup in December. After going a perfect 3-0 in match play and leading the U.S. to victory as team captain, Woods put the golf clubs away to reboot before the new year.
“I was a little bit fried physically, mentally, emotionally,” says Woods. “I played on my birthday with my son, and we had a great time.”
Woods says he didn’t begin practicing again until after the new year but started ramping up his preparation around Jan. 4 or 5. Part of the prep work has included equipment testing. Woods will use TaylorMade’s new SIM metal woods this week at Torrey Pines.
He’ll also accomplish a first on Thursday when he tees it up at 9:40 a.m. local time on Torrey Pine’s north course, alongside Collin Morikawa and Jon Rahm. For the first time in his career, Tiger will be playing with someone who was born after he turned professional; Morikawa is 22 years old and 22 years younger that Woods.
What does it all mean to Tiger? “It means I've been out here a while.”
Translation: It’s just another number.