Tiger Woods gets ready to tee it up at Riviera again

  • Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. (Photo by John McCoy)

    Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Bryson DeChambeau hits an iron from the 17th fairway while playing a practice round with Tiger Woods. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Bryson DeChambeau hits an iron from the 17th fairway while playing a practice round with Tiger Woods. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the green from the 17th fairway. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the green from the 17th fairway. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the 17th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the 17th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the 17th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the 17th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods walk up the 17th fairway during a practice round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods walk up the 17th fairway during a practice round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods looks relaxed as he walks the 18th fairway. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods looks relaxed as he walks the 18th fairway. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods practice some puts on the 18th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods practice some puts on the 18th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Bubba Watson shakes hands with Tiger Woods after playfully asking him to autograph his visor. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Bubba Watson shakes hands with Tiger Woods after playfully asking him to autograph his visor. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods practice putts on the 18th green after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods practice putts on the 18th green after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods held a press conference after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods held a press conference after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Jake Olson, who is a blind football player for USC, talks with Tiger Woods after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Jake Olson, who is a blind football player for USC, talks with Tiger Woods after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

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A new sign planted along the first-hole fairway at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open this weekend gives visitors a quick history lesson right out of the main gate.

“Tiger Woods makes his PGA Tour debut in 1992 at the Rivera Country Club with a long drive off the famous first tee,” it reads.

And what ever happened to Cypress-born sophomore from Western High in Anaheim, eventually voted “Most Likely To Succeed” by his senior class?

Long story very short: A Masters title at age 21, a career Grand Slam by age 24 – a “Tiger Slam,” they called it – and 836 weeks at No. 1 before …

Tuesday morning, the 14-time major champion and 79-time winner on the PGA Tour was inching his way back to the 550th spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. But he didn’t need any special signage to remind everyone who he once was, and what he’s still trying to become, at a reconstructed age 42 after all sorts of personal, physical and career-threatening setbacks.

“I’d eventually like to win tournaments,” he admitted before dozens of reporters and TV cameras inside a tent on the other side of the famous first fairway at Riviera. “I’m trying to get through that process, get to that point.”

Woods circles back to these comfortable home-feel surroundings, two weeks removed from finishing tied for 23rd at the Farmers’ Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Reporters tried different ways to gauge his current abilities and disabilities as he still is recovering from spinal fusion, as well as the mental adjustments that come with playing with pros who weren’t even born when he won his first major.

Asked what was most sore after that four-day experience north of San Diego, Woods said: “My feet. I’m not used to walking. I’m used to being in a cart playing 36 holes. It’s a good sore, yes, but it’s just different.”

After he played the back nine at Riviera on Tuesday for practice with Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas, Woods says he still notices the “small subtle changes” in his posture and swing as he is trying to “understand my body a little bit more because this back is just different than it used to be.

“Those are things that I could never have figured out on my own, not in a tournament setting, because in a tournament setting things are revved up and I could feel some of the things that were off and was able to work on them. The more tournaments I play in I’ll get used to that.

“But I don’t want to play too much. This is all still new to me. And I want to be smart about it.”

Woods’ first participation in a tournament at Riviera comes after a dozen-year disappearance – he tried in 2017 but had to bail out because back spasms, prior to more surgery last April. As much as he says he loves Riviera, it hasn’t loved him much back. He is 0-for-10 at this Palisades private track, still the most starts on any course on the PGA Tour without a win.

He missed the cut in ’92 and ’93 as a teenage amateur. He left after 36 holes in 2006 because of illness. He has six Top 20 finishes and scrambled to tie for second in 1999. The only time he nearly won the L.A. event only happened because it was moved to Valencia Country Club in 1998, and he lost a playoff to Billy Mayfair.

“I love the golf course and it fits my eye,” he said of Riviera. “And I play awful.”

Once upon a time, Woods said he would be “seriously upset” if he went his entire career without winning at Riviera. At this point, he’s just hoping to make it every which way to Sunday, starting with a Hollywood-type pairing on Thursday at 7:22 a.m. on the first tee with Thomas and Rory McIlroy. It flips to a 12:02 p.m. start on the 10th hole for the second round, where Golf Channel coverage will document whether or not he’s able to make the cut.

Woods’ appearance Tuesday coincided with a rebranding announcement of his TGR Learning Center in Anaheim, which opened 12 years ago and now, as Woods admits, is full of kids who may know his name but not what he does.

He still meets players who still get star struck in his presence, like Haotong Li, the 22-year-old from China who got an exemption from Woods — his company runs the Genesis Open, and his foundation benefits from the proceeds.

“He’s the first guy (who) makes me nervous on the Tour, pretty much my golfing hero,” said Li, who finished third at the British Open last season. “It’s such a big honor to meet him.”

Woods got a welcome-back embrace from Channel 2 reporter Jim Hill, who has known him since he was a couple years old, before a TV interview with him on the clubhouse balcony above the first tee box. KLAC-AM’s Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith also got radio time with Woods, peppering him about his best rounds as a kid at El Dorado, Long Beach Rec and the old Los Alamitos course, where Woods recalled being able to launch balls into the quarter horse stables and rattle some hoofs.

As Woods tries to reacquaint himself with how the poa annua pulls and the kikuyu can kill your wrists, he says he forgets “how much tug there is down toward the ocean.” He revisits holes where “the bunkers are deeper .. the greens have gotten more pin locations that I remember … I’ve got to do a little more homework in the pro-am.”

That would be the first to start at the first tee at 6:40 a.m. Wednesday. Tournament host still has its privileges.

2018 GENESIS OPEN INFORMATION

Where: Riviera Country Club (1250 Capri Drive, Pacific Palisades)

Schedule:

Wednesday: Pro-Am begins at 6:40 a.m.; gates open at 6 a.m.
Thursday and Friday: First two rounds begin at 6:40 a.m.; gates open at 6 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Final two rounds begin at 8 a.m.; gates open at 7:30 a.m.

The course: Par 71 on a layout of 7,322 yards (75.6 rating, 137 slope). Opened in 1927. Designed by George C. Thomas Jr., updated by William P. Bell. Greens are a mix of bentgrass and poa annua. Fairways are kikuyu. Course website: www.therivieracountryclub.com

Prize money: $7.2 million ($1.296 million to the winner and a Genesis G80 Sport)

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson

The field: The 144 players include current World No. 1 Johnson, No. 3 Jordan Spieth, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 10 Rory McIlroy. Past champions include Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Ernie Els, Bill Haas, James Hahn, Charles Howell III, Adam Scott and John Merrick.

Weather forecast: No chance of rain and a mix of partly cloudy and sunny all four days of the tournament Thursday-Sunday with highs between 65 and 72. Partly cloudy Wednesday with highs of 65.

Tickets: All information and purchases at www.GenesisOpen.com

Public parking: Downtown Santa Monica parking structures S1 through S8 are open 24 hours and include a complimentary shuttle. The pickup and drop off locations are on Wilshire Boulevard, between 2nd and 3rd Street. Shuttles run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The shuttle ride from Santa Monica to the Riviera Country Club main gate is about four miles.

The Metro Express line riders can exit at the Downtown Santa Monica station and walk 10-to-15 minutes to the shuttle pick up and drop off spot. More info: www.metro.net.

Ridesharing: Pick up and drop off locations for Uber or Lyft is at Paul Revere Charter Middle School at 1450 Allenford Ave., L.A.

Television: Golf Channel is live Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., with repeats later in the day. KCBS-Channel 2 is live Saturday from 1-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m. Live streaming as well at PGATour.com

History: The PGA Tour professional stop in Los Angeles goes back to 1926. It has rotated among several Southern California courses until staying at Riviera as the home course since 1973 (with diversion to Rancho Park in 1983 and Valencia Country Club in 1998). It has previously been known as the Northern Trust Open, the Nissan Open and the Glen Campbell L.A. Open.

Records: 72 holes – 264 by Lanny Wadkins in 1985 at Riviera; 18 holes – 61 by George Archer (third round, 1983, at Rancho Park), Ted Tryba (third round, 1999, at Riviera)

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