Tiger Woods had kind words on Tuesday for Riviera Country Club, the historic track that’s home to the Genesis Open, LA’s longtime PGA Tour stop.
“I love the golf course. I love the layout,” Tiger said.
But it’s unrequited love. The 14-time major winner has a painful history of poor finishes and no finishes at Riviera. Woods hasn’t teed it up in an event here since 2006.
“It fits my eye, and I play awful,” Tiger added. “It’s very simple. It’s just one of those weird things. It’s a fader’s golf course for a righty. 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.”
While Woods has made 10 career starts at Riviera, none of his 79 PGA Tour victories have come on the historic layout often called “Hogan’s Alley” because golf legend Ben Hogan won multiple times at Riviera, including the 1948 U.S. Open.
Tiger will play the first two rounds with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. To do well this week, he’ll need to hit more fairways than he did three weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open. He finished in a tie for 23rd at Torrey Pines playing out of the rough 70 percent of the time.
“I felt we could all see how bad I was driving it. So I was able to clean that up a little bit and still keep my putting sharp.”
Tiger being Tiger, he can’t help but talk about winning. But, in truth, his second 2018 start is more about progress than perfection.
“I’ve basically played two tournaments,” he commented, “and so I’ve got a lot of room for improvement and a long way to go.”
No matter what happens at Riviera, Tiger will be around for the weekend. After all, he is the tournament host and his TGR Foundation is tied to the event.
UPDATE: Tiger shot a 1-over 72 in Thursday’s opening round of the Genesis Open.