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Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the third hole of the north course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the pro-am event at the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tiger Woods is starting his PGA Tour season at Torrey Pines, just like the old days.

Only these are far different circumstances.

Instead of high expectations for Woods, Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open was more about curiosity. He is returning after fusion surgery on his lower back last April, his fourth back operation in three years. When he tried to return after a 16-month break last year at Torrey Pines, he missed the 36-hole cut.

This will be only his second PGA Tour event since August 2015.

Woods has won this PGA Tour event seven times. He also won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008, along with a Junior World Championship as a teenager. The difference from last year is Woods no longer has pain in his back.

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