LA JOLLA, Calif. -- For virtually all of Tiger Woods' career, it was the one question that produced the shortest answer.
Invariably, someone would inquire about Woods' expectations for a certain tournament. He'd answer quickly, without a hint of a smile or doubt.
It doesn't take long to utter a single letter.
"W," Woods would say.
That was the guy who won 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour events in the first 18 years of his career.
That is not the same golfer who will make his first U.S. start in a year when the Farmers Insurance Open begins Thursday, sitting on a victory drought of four years.
He arrived at Torrey Pines -- the site of eight of his wins -- with fused disks in his back, some hints of optimism, but absolutely no clue how he will perform.
That single letter has been replaced by piece of punctuation: "?"
At a news conference Wednesday, Woods admitted his expectations have been tempered by all that he has been through since his last victory in 2013.