LA JOLLA, Calif.--The Buick Invitational will be played with heightened interest this week, starting with the fact that Tiger Woods will be attempting to win here for the fourth straight year. He also is seeking his third straight PGA Tour victory in this, his season debut.
There also is the fact that Phil Mickelson is making his season debut, though for a time that seemed in jeopardy as a result of a respiratory ailment that kept him in bed for a few days. After three days of antibiotics, he said he felt good enough to play in the pro-am Wednesday morning and expects to work with teacher Butch Harmon in the afternoon.
"I'm feeling much, much better," Mickelson said in a statement through his representatives, Gaylord Sports Management. "I'm happy about that and looking forward to working with Butch to make sure everything's in order for this week."
There is the site, too, Torrey Pines G.C. in La Jolla. The South Course at Torrey Pines is the 2008 U.S. Open venue, so the Buick Invitational is doubling as a homework assignment for many in the field.
The tournament marks the return of Kelly Tilghman to the Golf Channel booth, ending her two-week suspension.
Finally, there were the mandatory players' meetings on Tuesday in which the PGA Tour's new drug policy was explained in detail.
In other words, it's not just another week on the PGA Tour.
-- John Strege