Why Tiger Woods hasn’t won at Riviera — in his own words

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Alot has changed about Tiger Woods as he makes his latest return at the 2024 Genesis Invitational, but one thing hasn’t, and likely never will: his singular focus on winning.

Despite his age, and the pileup of injuries over the years, Woods still thinks he can win. Even this week. At a course where he has never won. In fact, it’s that detail — that he has never won a tournament at Riviera Country Club, where he made his Tour debut — which seems to be providing extra motivation for the 15-time major champion, who is otherwise just grateful to be competing on Tour again.

And that was on full display during his pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday, where his winless record at Riviera was on his mind early and often.

Tiger Woods runs hot and cold at U.S. Open - PGA TOUR

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Take his response to the moderator’s innocent question about Tiger’s goal for the week, just moments after the session began.

“A nice W would be nice, right? I haven’t ever won this event,” Woods responded. “I played in this event since ’92 and the years I’ve played I still have never won this event. Hopefully I can figure something out and get myself in there in contention and maybe get a W at the end of the week.”

Including his debut as a 16-year-old at what was then called the Nissan Open, Woods, who grew up in the L.A. area, has made 14 Tours starts at Riviera. He’s missed the cut three times, though two of those were when he was still a teenager. He’s recorded 8 top-25 finishes, among them three top 10s.

But why hasn’t Tiger, winner of 82 PGA Tour events, ever lifted a trophy at historic Riviera, where he now hosts the tournament that benefits his TGR Foundation?

He provided some detailed insight into that question on Wednesday, placing the blame primarily on his putting performances.

“I have traditionally not putted well here,” Woods said. “This is a fader’s delight, most of the holes are, for a righty, run left to right. I’ve driven it well here. There are small greens and traditionally throughout my entire career my iron game has been pretty good, but I have never really gotten hot with the putter at this course. Generally they’re bumpy poa, so it’s been a little bit tricky.”

Woods is famous for a near-immaculate memory of every tournament he’s played, and every shot he’s hit in every tournament. He flashed that sterling knack for recall, too, remembering the closest he came to winning at Riviera, at the 1999 Nissan Open, when he finished runner-up to Ernie Els.

Tiger Woods returns to Riviera to play 1st event of the year – WPRI.com

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“For some reason it just has never compiled to a hot week. I had one where I had a chance, I guess Ernie [Els], and hit a foul ball on the last hole,” Woods recalled. “Other than that, I really haven’t had that many opportunities for some reason.”

Later in the press conference, Tiger spoke on the subject for a final time, when asked if his record at Riviera had caused any frustration.

“It is frustrating in the sense that this is a golf course that has been to me been very comfortable visually,” Woods replied. “As I said, it’s a fader’s delight from the tee shots and I have, as I said, been a pretty good iron player, but for some reason I just haven’t put it together at this event other than one time with a chance. For some reason it just hasn’t happened.”

But he finished on an optimistic, familiar note.

“Hopefully, it will be this week.”


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