Woods back at Riviera, a course that never treated him well

LOS ANGELES — Even when Tiger Woods hardly ever lost, he never could win at Riviera.

Woods resumes his comeback from a fourth back surgery at the Genesis Open, marking his return to the course where he made his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old amateur, and the course where he walked away in the middle of the tournament and never returned.

He has played Riviera eight times as a pro, the most of any PGA Tour course where he hasn’t won.

“I love the golf course. I love the layout. It fits my eye,” Woods said. “And I play awful. It’s very simple. It’s just one of those weird things. A lot of the holes, you hit nice, soft cuts. And I used to love to hit nice, soft cuts. And for some reason, I just didn’t play well.”

Woods is playing this year against the strongest and deepest field of the year, primarily because his foundation runs the tournament. He has not been back to Riviera since 2006, when he was caught in the rain without an umbrella, shot 74 and made the cut on the number.

The next morning, Woods withdrew with the flu and never returned.

He’s not the same player he was then. His father died a few months after that 2006 tournament, and after Woods missed the cut for the first time in a major at the U.S. Open, he went on to win his final six PGA Tour events of the year, including the last two majors.

There was one stretch at the end of 1999 and early in 2000 when Woods won or was runner-up in 10 out of 11 starts on the PGA Tour. The exception? He finished seven shots behind in a tie for 18th at Riviera.

The dynamics are different now.

Woods is 42 and has played just 17 times on the PGA Tour over the last four years dating to his first back surgery a week before the 2014 Masters. He hasn’t won in nearly five years. He is No. 550 in the world.

While the goal is to win — that hasn’t changed — the expectations have tempered through time and reality that he is learning a …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

      

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