November 18, 2018, 7:41

Tiger Woods not getting ahead of himself as he prepares for Genesis Open at Riviera

Tiger Woods not getting ahead of himself as he prepares for Genesis Open at Riviera

Tiger Woods is still taking things one step at a time as he prepares to play alongside Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas at the Genesis Open.

Woods, McIlroy and Thomas will play together for the first two rounds at Riviera, a course Tiger has not played at in a tournament since 2006 and has a patchy record at in general.

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But Woods returns to what could be termed his home event in Los Angeles buoyed by a 23rd-place finish at last month’s Farmers Insurance Open, which was his first official tournament in 12 months.

However, the former world No 1 and 14-time major champion says he cannot afford to look too far ahead as he continues to hone his game after multiple surgeries on his back.

Speaking at a Riviera press conference, Woods said: “Eventually I’d like to win tournaments and I am trying to get through that process, go through that process to get to that point.

“I was telling [Justin Thomas] last night when we were flying out here is that it’s interesting that I’m making small, little, subtle changes in my posture and my game and my swing because I’m starting to understand my body a little bit more.

Tiger Woods returns to Riviera Country Club for the Genesis Open, where he made his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old

“This back is just different than what it used to be – and those are things that I could never have figured that out on my own not in a tournament setting, because in a tournament setting things are revved up and I could feel some of things that were off and was able to work on them.

“The more tournaments I play in, the more I’ll be able to get a better understanding of that but also I don’t want to play too much. This is still all new to me and I just want to be real smart about it.

“I’m just starting back. I’ve been away from the game for a very long time and I’ve basically played two tournaments so I’ve got a lot of room for improvement and a long way to go.”

Tiger Woods was happy with his fighting qualities after closing out his comeback with a level-par 72 at the Farmers Insurance Open

Woods says time away from playing at Riviera has not helped him figure out why his record was so poor compared to most other stops on the PGA Tour.

He added: “I love the golf course, I love the layouts, it fits my eye and I play it awful. Very simple.

“So it’s just one of those weird things. It’s a fader’s golf course for a righty. A lot of the holes you can hit a nice soft cuts and I used to love to hit soft cuts and for some reason I just didn’t play well.

“The old yardage books are out the window. This is a whole new game. Everything’s bigger now. The bunkers are deeper, they seem to be bigger. The greens have got more pin locations than I remember. They’ve added a few sections around here.

“So I’ve got to do a bit more homework tomorrow during the pro-am. I did some nice work on the back nine today. I’ll concentrate pretty hard on the front nine, make sure I get everything kind of situated and on the back nine I’ll just do a little touch up.”


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