Tiger Woods returns to Riviera Country Club for Genesis Open

Doug Mendoza
February 14, 2018

For Dustin Johnson, last year's victory at the Genesis Open was all about his golf game coming around at the right time.

Tiger Woods continues to play down expectations as his return from back surgery takes its next step at the Genesis Open.

"We could all see how bad I was driving it [at Torrey Pines], so I was able to clean that up a little bit and still keep my putting sharp, " Woods said of his recent practice sessions. "So the old yardage books are out the window". Some will try to drive the razer-thin green with two deep bunkers guarding either side, while others will lay up in the fairway. He remembers sitting with Nicklaus for more than two hours the first time they talked.

"A lot of that's me because I got hurt and didn't play, but he's obviously gotten a lot better, he's worked on his game, he's won tournaments while I've been out". Thomas, who like Woods lives in Florida, hitched a ride with Woods on his plane for the flight out to Los Angeles.

To say Woods, at 42 years of age, is a new man would be an understatement. "I'm not used to walking".

It's an ironic place for him considering Woods, with his run of dominance that lasted for almost two decades, spent so much of his career putting his peers in position to have to catch up to him.

While Woods is dealing with the challenge of beating players like Thomas and Jordan Spieth, he's hoping there will be a day soon when he can show today's young players how great a player he can be. Dating back to the first event of the season in the fall, Steele has not finished outside of the top 30 in any of his six events played.

"Oh, I'd just love that", he said when asked about him getting back to competing with the best. "For a while there that wasn't the case".

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Before then, "I was just a person they could bounce ideas off of". "They pick my brain". Could DJ start another epic run at this year's Genesis Open?

Hoffman ranks sixth on the PGA Tour at 72 holes per eagle, which means plenty of opportunities to move up the Genesis Open leaderboard.

It's the only tournament he has played so often and never won.

With five top 11 finishes in his last 10 tournaments in California, he thrives in the Golden State and, after a couple of missed cuts to start 2018, he found a groove again to shoot 68-67-68-68 and take T9 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on his last start.

He also acknowledged last week that Riviera is "a flawless course" for those that are striking it well.

Woods doesn't have an answer for his struggles at Riviera.

It's a far different golf course than the one he played the last time he entered this event in 2006. The Genesis Open has been around for more than 70 years, witnessing several name changes from the Los Angeles Open to the Northern Trust Open, and its longevity has been secured thanks to it being parked at this sublime golf course. I'm used to being in a cart playing 36 holes. He played well at the Farmers Insurance Open a few weeks ago.

"He's just a great kid, he really is", Woods said ahead of an event that benefits his foundation.

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