Tiger Woods has officially committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, which will open up his 2014 campaign.
This exciting news comes by way of the Golf Channel, which notes his decision was "expected":
As expected, defending champ Tiger Woods has officially committed to begin his 2014 season at Torrey Pines: http://t.co/CJDHf2Cdr4— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) January 7, 2014
Woods—the defending champion—has won this tournament seven times. He won the event by four strokes last year, shooting a 14-under 274. This year's tourney begins on Thursday, Jan. 23 and ends on Sunday, Jan. 26.
He's coming off a hugely successful season in which he won five tournaments, finished in second place once and in the top 10 eight times. Unfortunately, Woods wasn't able to capture his ever-elusive 15th major championship title, which has evaded him for going on nearly six years.
Perhaps for this reason, he missed out on the Golf Writers Association of America Male Player of the Year award, losing by five votes to Adam Scott, who recently won, as relayed by Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel:
Adam Scott wins Golf Writers Association of America Male Player of the Year award in close contest. Wins by five votes over Tiger Woods.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) January 2, 2014
Known as one of the most rabidly competitive golfers on the PGA Tour, you can be sure this will only motivate Woods for greater glory in 2014.
After the conclusion of Woods' 2013 season, he wrote about his excitement for the upcoming season, via TigerWoods.com:
I'm really looking forward to next year. I played well at the end of this year, so it's nice to have some momentum heading into 2014. I thought I was pretty consistent throughout the year, starting off at Torrey Pines and ending on a positive note at Sherwood, where I finished second to Zach. ... I also found a new Nike driver, VRS Covert 2.0 Tour, that I'm really excited about. I drove the ball a little further and definitely straighter than I have been all year.
Of course, the 800-pound gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about is Woods' age. He's 38 years old, which means the greatest golfer who ever lived is coming close to the end of his prime.
Doug Ferguson of PGA.com highlighted why this is a big deal:
By age alone, Woods has been ahead of [Jack] Nicklaus' pace in the majors since winning his seventh major in 2002 Masters at age 26. They are tied now. Nicklaus also had 14 majors when he turned 38, and then he added his 15th major that summer in the British Open.
With four months to prepare for the 2014 Masters, Woods can get the season started off with a huge bang if he can win the Farmers Insurance Open for the eighth time.
After competing at Torrey Pines, Woods will join many of his fellow competitors at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.