California Golf

California Golf + Travel Jan18

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GO WEST, NOT SO YOUNG GOLFER 40-SOMETHINGS PHIL, TIGER LOOK TO RECAPTURE WINNING WAYS ON THE WEST COAST SWING By Tom LaMarre T he West Coast Swing's present will meet its storied past this year. Over the last 20 years, the average age of winners in the California and Arizona events is over 30, including the two greatest players to come out of the Golden State—Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the undisputed "King of the West Coast Swing." However, the young guns have taken over the PGA Tour and last year the average age of the winners of the first seven events on the schedule, including the first two in Hawaii, was 25.1. Justin Thomas, 24 at the time, cap- tured the two events in Hawaii, and was followed by Hudson Swafford (29) in the CareerBuilder Challenge at PGA West, Jon Rahm (22) of Spain in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, Hideki Matsuyama (24) in the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, Jordan Spieth (23) in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Dustin Johnson (32) in the Genesis Open at Riviera. However, no matter who wins the California and Arizona tournaments this year, much of the talk will be about the 42-year-old Woods and the 47-year- old Mickelson because of who they are. Woods, at worst the second-best golfer of all-time behind Jack Nicklaus, will begin his latest comeback in the Farmers on Jan. 25-28 at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times, includ- ing the last of his 14 major titles in the 2008 U.S. Open. Then he will tee it up on Feb. 15-18 in the Genesis Open at Riviera, where he first played in a PGA Tour event when he was 16. Surprisingly, he has never won on the George C. Thomas course in Pacific Palisades, and last played there in 2006. "I'm very excited to be back at Riviera," said Woods, who showed flashes of his old form with a new swing as he tied for ninth in his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last month. PHOTO MICHAEL WEINSTEIN Phil Mickelson 14 JAN/FEB 2018 / W E S T C O A S T S W I N G /

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