"Last year at this time I just had competed in basically one Tour event, and I was just trying whether or not I can make it to Florida", said the 43-year-old at his pre-tournament press conference.
"It is certainly a love-hate relationship", Woods said Wednesday after getting through his pro-am ahead of the rain. Riviera also is the PGA Tour course he has played the most times - nine - without winning.
"Hopefully I can finally play this golf course well". Other collegians who played the event included Wake Forest's Cameron Young, Texas' Steven Chervony and Oklahoma State's Hayden Wood. I've always enjoyed watching him play, how he's developed and the amount of tournaments he's won and the majors and the margins he's won. He has logged 41 par-or-better rounds and posted five top-10 finishes. Woods went on to win the tournament for his 80 career PGA TOUR victory and first since the 2013 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Woods missed the cut here past year in just his second full-field PGA Tour start after undergoing spinal fusion surgery, but he has high hopes of contending for his 81st career title on a course that remains one of his favourites despite his lack of success.
Expectations are slightly higher, though it's still early in the season. "So I'm in a very different position now, having played an entire season - I know what my body can and cannot do and so I'm looking forward to this week". He is in the same group as Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, just like a year ago, when Woods missed the cut for the only time in 2018 at a regular PGA Tour event. It includes Phil Mickelson, a two-time victor at Riviera who is coming off a victory at Pebble Beach last week.
So does Bubba Watson, the defending champion and a three-time victor, though his main infatuation is that it's not far from Hollywood and all the movie stars.