Tiger Woods in Farmers Insurance Open defence bid on Tour return

Tiger Woods

World number one Tiger Woods makes his PGA Tour seasonal reappearance at one of his favourite courses on Thursday.

The 38-year-old American begins his defence of the Farmers Insurance Open, which he has won seven times.

His eighth triumph at Torrey Pines, California, in 2013 equalled the PGA record for the most victories at a single course - he also won his last major title there at the 2008 US Open.

Also in the field is Phil Mickelson, who has won the tournament three times.

Mickelson, who finished joint second with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy behind Spain's Pablo Larrazabal in last weekend's Abu Dhabi Championship, makes his 25th career start at Torrey Pines.

Woods won last year's fog-delayed Farmers Insurance Open by four shots - his 75th victory on the PGA Tour.

Five victories in 2013 helped to reinstate him at the top of the world rankings - nobody won more tournaments or gained more ranking points over the past 12 months than the 14-time major champion.

England's Lee Westwood is also in the field, but the former world number one does not have such happy memories of Torrey Pines after missing out on a play-off with Woods and Rocco Mediate for the 2008 US Open by a single shot.

"Obviously I played well all week, but it felt like it was one that got away," said Westwood, who now spends most of his time in the US and was recently elected to the PGA Tour's player advisory council.

Westwood, who failed to record a victory in 2013, told the Golf Channel: "Last year was pretty average. I gave myself a few chances to win tournaments, most notably the Open Championship and probably at Quail Hollow.

"I played consistently well, but not good enough really. Normally I would play in the Middle East on the European Tour, but last year I felt pretty tired so I decided I would cut back on the jet lag a little bit and not do the early Middle East swing.

"This is obviously a tournament I haven't played for a long time [since 2004] and I've been looking forward to it."

Fellow Englishman and Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter is appearing in the Farmers for the first time since 2007 and making his first start at Torrey Pines since the 2008 US Open where he withdrew through injury after 15 holes of the second round.