TOURNAMENT: Buick Invitational
COURSE: Torrey Pines North and South courses, San Diego
PRIZE FUND: $5.2 million
COURSE DETAILS: The North and South courses at Torrey Pines are stunningly beautiful, with the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean to the west and mountain ranges to the north. Both courses are par 72 and over 7,500 yards in length, with the recently renovated South course arguably the tougher and more prestigious as its selection for the 2008 US Open suggests. The pros will play a round on each course before the halfway cut is made, with the final two rounds being played over the South course.
World number one Tiger Woods makes his first appearance of 2007 this week and will be hopeful of securing a seventh consecutive PGA Tour title in an event that has been kind to him over the years. Woods has won the event four times (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2006) and has not finished outside the top-ten in the last nine stagings of the event.
Woods missed his intended season-opener at the Mercedes Benz Championship in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago after he announced that he is to become a father for the first time, later this summer. His extraordinary winning run in PGA Tour stroke play events stretches all the way back to the Open at Hoylake last July and includes victories in the USPGA Championship and two WGC events. The last time he failed to win a PGA Tour sanctioned stroke play event was at the Western Open, more than six months ago.
Woods starts the tournament as a very short-priced favourite, with Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson the only other members of the world’s top ten lining up. Singh, who capitalised on Woods’ absence by winning the Mercedes Benz Championship, will be looking to continue his good start to the year, while Mickelson ? a San Diego native ? will be aiming to get his game back on track after a disappointing second half of 2007.
Other confirmed starters include the 2002 winner Jose Maria Olazabal and the 2006 Comeback Player of the Year Steve Stricker, who has an excellent record at Torrey Pines. England’s Justin Rose, who finished third at last week’s Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, is also lining up.
CONTENDERS: Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Justin Rose
BETTING GUIDE: For a betting tips from our expert Paul Krishnamurty click here