(The Spread) - When the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open kicks off on Thursday, January 27, Tiger Woods will return to the scene of one of his most famous career wins. But even though he’s favored, are his on-course problems behind him?

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According to online sports book Sportsbook.com, Tiger is the clear-cut favorite to win the 2011 Farmers Open, ahead of other golfers like Phil Mickelson (16/1) and Dustin Johnson (16/1).

Woods hasn’t played at Torrey Pines since battling knee trouble to win a play-off at the 2008 US Open. That was his 14th major, but he failed to win in 2010 for the first time since turning professional in 1996.

It’s easy to see why Tiger is favored to win this weekend: He’s seeking his seventh victory at the Torrey Pines event after winning four consecutive times starting in 2005. But thanks to his off and on-field problems, he has dropped to world number three after spending more than five years as world number one.

Last season, he started to show signs that he was regaining his form. He also has a new swing coach in Sean Foley and appears hungry to return to greatness. With his issues presumably behind him, maybe the Torrey Pines tournament this weekend will be the first step to big things this season.

We’ll find out soon enough.

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