Tiger Woods says continuing his comeback story is as much about learning when to rest as it is about putting in the practice hours.

Written off by many after a succession of back surgeries, Woods returned to form in stunning fashion last year, impressing at The Open and the US PGA Championship before ending a five-year wait for a title by winning the Tour Championship amid scarcely believable scenes at East Lake.

Those performances were good enough to earn the 14-time major champion a place on the US Ryder Cup team, although that week in Paris proved a dissatisfactory ending to a stellar year as Woods finished on the losing side without contributing any points.

But ahead of his 2019 debut at this week's Farmers Insurance Open - where he has prevailed seven times before - Woods says the lessons of the past mean he is more careful in the way he manages his body.

"Going through what I went through the last few years, I don't wish that on anybody," Woods told a media conference at Torrey Pines. "There was a long period where I couldn't sit, stand or walk - that's a tough way to go.

"The fusion surgery was a last-ditch effort to get me that quality of life, now I have that and I've been able to return to a work environment.

"What I went through, I don't ever want to go back to that again so that's why I've been so diligent in training, to give my body the best chance to do my job but also there are days I just don't practice and don't train and just rest.

"That's probably been the lesson I've learned through all this, there are days I just have to shut it down and not do anything and relax because most of my career has been spent on, 'In order to get better, I have to work at it'.

"A lot of the off-season has been training, trying to get stronger. Last season I got tired because I didn't expect to play that much golf and I didn't train for it. The legs are where they need to be, which they weren't at the end of the season."

Woods revealed it was not until after the Ryder Cup that he was able to reflect on his Tour Championship victory and the effect it had on those close to him.

"After I won we went straight to the hotel to sign all our items before we left for Paris. I didn't get time to celebrate or reflect on the Tour because we had a job to do," the 43-year-old said.

"When that was over I got home to my friends and family, to hear some of the stories of how nervous and emotional they were, people who saw what I went through, saw the difficult times and to see I made it that far back...

"That was touching to me because I didn't expect that. I know what it took for me but I didn't know it would have affected anyone else like that."

Adam Long claimed his first PGA Tour title by winning the Desert Classic ahead of Phil Mickelson.

American veteran Phil Mickelson maintained control of the leaderboard after the penultimate round of the Desert Classic.

Mickelson carded a six-under-par 66 to stay two strokes clear at the PGA Tour tournament on Saturday.

A 43-time PGA Tour champion and five-time major winner, Mickelson teed off at the Stadium Course and had a flawless third round highlighted by six birdies.

Mickelson is the man to beat heading into the final round at 22 under, ahead of Canadian Adam Hadwin.

Hadwin jumped to second place after mirroring his round-one score, a seven-under-par 65.

With just one victory on Tour, Hadwin tallied seven birdies in his efforts to move within touching distance of Mickelson.

Americans Adam Long (63) and Steve Marino (67) enter the final round in third and fourth place, respectively.

Defending champion and Spanish star Jon Rahm fell into a five-way tie for seventh place at 16 under.

Rahm posted a third-round 68 following six birdies and a pair of bogeys at the Stadium Course.

The Desert Classic features three courses in La Quinta, California - Stadium Course (the host course), Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club.

A cut was not enforced until every golfer had a chance to play each course. As they finished on Saturday, the mark was nine-under.

World number one Justin Rose made it through to Sunday after his third consecutive round of four-under 68.

Some notable names not making the cut included Sam Saunders, who carded his worst round of the tournament (77), and Patton Kizzire — who was fresh off a win at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Shane Lowry birdied the final hole to beat Richard Sterne by one stroke and win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in a dramatic final-round battle.

The Irishman had led Sterne by three shots on 17 under par heading into Saturday's play, but was two over for the round through 11 holes.

By contrast, Sterne came firing out of the blocks with six birdies and just one bogey to go out in 31 strokes and Lowry's dropped shot at the 11th meant the South African led by four.

However, Lowry picked up back-to-back gains at the 12th and 13th, while Sterne made bogeys at the 14th and 16th to leave the duo tied with two to play.

It looked like a play-off may be on the cards until Lowry crunched a wonderful 281-yard approach onto the green in two at the par-five fifth, while Sterne went wayward into the crowd.

Sterne recovered to make par, but Lowry left himself a simple putt for birdie to finish one under for the round and 18 under for the tournament.

The thrilling ending left Lowry celebrating a first European Tour victory since 2015.

Behind the warring duo, Joost Luiten and Louis Oosthuizen did their best to bulldoze their way into the reckoning with respective scores of seven and six under for round four.

Luiten was three strokes off the pace at 15 under, while Oosthuizen was a further shot back in outright fourth.

Phil Mickelson maintained his lead at the halfway stage of the Desert Classic, where the American veteran is two shots clear.

Mickelson, who posted a career-low 60 in round one, carded a four-under-par 68 at the at the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday.

The five-time major champion had a double-bogey and six birdies to be 16 under through 36 holes in La Quinta.

The split-tee format had Mickelson starting on the par-four 10th hole. His second round was nearly spotless before making the turn, but a double-bogey at the 18th stained his scorecard.

Mickelson was able to recover through his last nine holes with four birdies, including one on the final hole of the day.

Australian Curtis Luck sits in sole possession of second place following a six-under-par 66 on day two of the PGA Tour tournament.

Adam Hadwin (66) and Steve Marino (65) - who nailed a hole-in-one on the par-three seventh - are a stroke further back at 13 under.

Defending champion Jon Rahm is in a three-way tie for fifth place after matching his first-round score of 66 with seven birdies and a lone bogey.

Sam Saunders - Arnold Palmer's grandson - and Mexican pro Carlos Ortiz shot up the leaderboard to join a sizeable tie for 11th place at 10 under.

Saunders carded a six-under-par 66 to jump 20 spots with fellow Americans Vaughn Taylor (66) and Michael Thompson (66).

Ortiz had nine birdies and one eagle to jump a whopping 103 places — six of the nine birdies and the eagle were made after the turn.

World number one Justin Rose also improved to move into a tie for 28th at eight under following back-to-back 68s.

Play will continue to be split up between the Stadium Course, the Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club, and after the first three rounds are completed on Saturday, the cut rule will kick in.

Shane Lowry will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as he bids to win his first European Tour title since 2015.

Phil Mickelson started his 2019 in style on Thursday, carding a 12-under 60 to take a three-shot lead at the Desert Classic.

The round tied a career-low for the 43-time PGA Tour champion and was the lowest score on tour since Brandt Snedeker's 59 at the Wyndham Championship in July 2018. It was also his lowest round ever in relation to par.

Mickelson became the first player in tour history with three career scores of 60 or better after a slew of birdies and one eagle propelled him to first place.

He started his tournament on the La Quinta Country Club – one of the three courses for the event – in California and birdied the first two holes. He carded an eagle on the par-five sixth hole and made the turn six-under 30 for his third nine-hole score of 30 at the Desert Classic.

Mickelson, who was quite happy with his putter, finished with six birdies on the back nine to take a commanding lead.

"I really didn't think that this was going to be a day that I was going to go low," he said after his round. "I came in with very low expectations. I haven't had a lot of time to practice and prepare and I felt like all areas were okay, but you don't really [know] until you get out and you play and compete.

"I hit a shot here and there and ended up making a putt and all of the sudden I was quite a few under par."

Adam Long, who played his round at the Nicklaus Tournament Course, has sole possession of second place (nine under) and Australian Curtis Luck rounded out the top three (eight under).

There are four men in a tie for fourth place at seven under, including Trey Mullinax and Wyndham Clark.

Jon Rahm, the 2018 champion, joins nine others in a tie for eighth place at six under. His scorecard was stained early with a bogey on the par-four second hole but he carded seven birdies, including three in a row on the front nine, to be in contention.

World number one Justin Rose sits in a sizable tie for 31st place after shooting a four-under 68.

Shane Lowry retained the lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship but his advantage was reduced to just a solitary shot by the halfway stage of the tournament.

The Irishman tied the course record with a 10-under 62 to open up a three-shot cushion at the top of the leaderboard after the first round.

Lowry recovered from a poor start at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to stay out in front on Thursday, carding a 70 to move to 12 under through 36 holes.

A three-time winner on the European Tour, the 31-year-old bogeyed the second and third holes before making two birdies on the front nine. He picked up two more shots after the turn, while a short birdie attempt on the green at the par-five 18th narrowly failed to find the cup.

"I'm really happy with that," said Lowry. "I knew today was going to be a bit of a weird day after shooting such a low score yesterday. 

"I just tried to go out and play like I played. To be honest, right from the start, I really feel like I played pretty well today. I think I gave myself a lot of chances.

"Some of the shots early on were pretty horrendous. I battled back and hit some really nice shots out there and hit some in close and made some birdies. I was happy with myself."

South African duo Richard Sterne and Louis Oosthuizen are hot on Lowry's heels, sharing second place on 11 under.

Sterne has yet to drop a shot through two rounds, while Oosthuizen matched his compatriot's four-under 68 despite bogeys at the 10th and 11th.

Early clubhouse leader Lee Westwood also signed for a 68 to sit two adrift of Lowry, with Ian Poulter, Soren Kjeldsen, Tom Lewis and Scott Jamieson a further stroke back on nine under.

Tommy Fleetwood holed a birdie put at the 18th to make the cut, but the Englishman will have to come from three under to win the tournament for a third consecutive year following a level-par 72.

Tiger Woods will kick off his 2019 schedule by competing in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines next week.

Shane Lowry made a blistering start to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as he carded a 10-under-par 62 to tie the course record and take a three-shot lead.

The Irishman was blemish-free in his opening 18 in the United Arab Emirates, matching Henrik Stenson's record – set 13 years ago – at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Having started at the 10th, his front nine was magnificent and he made the turn in 31, missing a chance for eagle on the 18th despite sending his approach to four feet.

Lowry atoned for that disappointment by starting his back nine with three successive birdies, before holing from 20 feet at the seventh and gaining another stroke at the eighth.

He was unable to convert from 12 feet to take the outright course record after another superb approach but still matched his career-best score from the 2009 Irish Open.

"I'm obviously over the moon. It equals the best score I've ever shot," Lowry said. "I knew that, as well, and I said it to my caddie coming down the last – 'A birdie here would be the best score I've ever shot', to which obviously he said, 'Well then why don't you just go for it'. 

"I left the putt short but I felt like I hit a decent putt, it was just a bit more into the grain than I felt, and yeah, obviously I'm very chuffed.

American Matt Kuchar won the Sony Open in Hawaii with a comprehensive four-stroke victory on Sunday.

Kuchar carded a four-under-par 66 in the final round to claim his ninth PGA Tour title and 100th top-10 finish.

The 40-year-old, who was victorious at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November, had seven birdies to top the leaderboard at 22 under.

Kuchar struggled at the start of his round, tallying bogeys on three of his first five holes. But, he carded five birdies and four pars on the back nine to secure victory.

"I knew good things were going to happen. ... To win two out of three is crazy to comprehend," Kuchar said.

Andrew Putnam finished four strokes back in second following his 68, while Marc Leishman (64), Hudson Swafford (64), Chez Reavie (67) and Corey Conners (64) all ended in a tie for third at 17-under.

Bryson DeChambeau (67) finished in a share for 10th at 14-under, defending champion Patton Kizzire (65) was 13 under, while 2017 champion Justin Thomas was two shots further back (66).

Matt Kuchar extended his lead to two strokes after the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii on Saturday.

Matt Kuchar fired a second straight seven-under 63 to take the lead at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Friday, while Jordan Spieth missed the cut.

Kuchar will enter the weekend as the 36-hole leader after another 63 at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The American was nearly mistake free, starting his round on the back nine with four birdies in five holes. His only blemish came at the par-four 15th but he recovered with an eagle at 18 and birdies at three and nine.

Andrew Putnam sits one stroke behind Kuchar in sole possession of second place. He used five birdies to stay in contention, including a 52-foot putt on the par-three seventh.

He is 13 under for the tournament after shooting a five-under 65 on Friday.

Chez Reavie and Stewart Cink are tied for third place at 10 under while Ted Potter Jr. and Australian Marc Leishman are a shot further back.

Reavie, who got his only PGA Tour win in 2008 at the Canadian Open, had one of the most impressive rounds as he became the first player in the ShotLink era with three eagle hole-outs from 100-plus yards in the same round. He also became the first player with three eagles on par-fours in the same round and is now tied for the most eagles on par-fours (six) since the start of last season.

Defending champion Patton Kizzire dropped down the leaderboard but had an impressive shot on the par-four 12th. Kizzire's round was plagued with bogeys as he finished with five, but he holed out on 12 for his lone eagle. Kizzire sits with 14 others in a tie for 20th place at five under.

Spieth, making his 2019 debut in Hawaii, was flirting with the cut line late in his second round. He carded three birdies and one bogey on the front nine on Friday, and another birdie and two bogeys through five holes after the turn.

Spieth needed to birdie his last four holes if he wanted a chance at playing through the weekend, and he was on track to do so. He birdied the par-four 15th and 16th. But, a par on 17 halted his final push. He ended with a birdie on 18 to finish one stroke shy of making the cut. It is the first time in six years Spieth has missed a cut in his first start of the season.

Other notable names who did not make the cut, which was two under, were Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Paul Casey and Adam Scott.

Canadian Adam Svensson earned a one-stroke lead after round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii, where Jordan Spieth stumbled in his first appearance of the season.

Svensson carded a nine-under-par 61 – highlighted by seven birdies and one eagle – to top the leaderboard at Wai'alae Country Club in Honolulu on Thursday.

The 25-year-old, whose best finish last season was a tie for 39th, was trailing clubhouse-leader Andrew Putnam but leapfrogged him after four consecutive birdies on the back nine and one final one on the par-five 18th hole.

American Putnam has sole possession of second place following his first-round 62 at the PGA Tour tournament, while Matt Kuchar (63) is a stroke further back.

A handful of golfers are tied inside the top 10, including Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner and Cameron Smith, who are in a seven-way tie for seventh place after shooting 66s.

Justin Thomas – the 2017 champion – did not have much luck late, but when it did come it was certainly exciting following three-under-par 67.

The nine-time tour winner was flawless on the front nine. He opened with a birdie on the par-four first hole and carded another birdie just three holes later.

Before he made the turn, Thomas rolled in a 12-foot putt for an eagle on the 9th hole. But, the back nine was a different story.

Thomas had four bogeys, three of which were sandwiched in between one more birdie and an eagle to close out the round.

He found a bunker on the par-five 18th hole and looked as if he might finish with yet another bogey. However, his bunker shot got the perfect bounce off the green and one more off the flagstick for an impressive ending.

Marc Leishman, Davis Love III and defending champion Patton Kizzire ended the day level alongside Thomas in 17th place.

American star Spieth, meanwhile, struggled after opening the tournament with a three-over-par 73.

It was a difficult day for 11-time PGA Tour champion Spieth, who had four bogeys and just one birdie to be tied for 127th and 12 shots off the pace.

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