Tiger Woods calls Hideki Matsuyama’s Genesis Invitational win “truly special”

What Hideki Matsuyama did on Sunday at Riviera will live on in the history books forever.

He waltzed around the course known as “Hogan’s Alley,” shooting a 9-under 62 to race past the field and steal the Genesis Invitational trophy from the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, and Will Zalatoris.

Matsuyama’s incredible 62 marked the lowest final-round score ever shot at Riviera, a place steeped in history.

And very few people in golf know more about this sport’s history than Tiger Woods, the host of the Genesis Invitational. Woods even made his PGA Tour debut at Riviera in 1992.

“Congratulations to [Hideki Matsuyama] on an incredible win at the Genesis Invitational,” Woods posted on X Sunday evening.

“I was watching all day, and seeing a record-breaking 62 and coming from six shots back is truly special.”

Typically, Woods is on site for the trophy presentation at Riviera each year, standing alongside the champion in the winner’s circle.

But Woods withdrew from this year’s Genesis Invitational on Friday, citing an illness. He later confirmed he had a case of influenza.

Woods was last seen on the Riviera property late Friday following his withdrawal. He then left the clubhouse in a courtesy car, not an ambulance, as was initially suspected. Paramedics arrived at the club immediately after Woods withdrew, leading to plenty of questions and raised eyebrows among fans and media alike.

Nevertheless, Woods’ illness meant that he could not participate in this year’s trophy presentation, much to Matsuyama’s dismay.

Hideki Matsuyama, PGA Tour, The Genesis Invitational

Hideki Matsuyama speaks to reporters after winning the 2024 Genesis Invitational.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images

“A little disappointed that I wasn’t able to take a picture with Tiger today,” Matsuyama said at his post-victory press conference.

“To win in this tournament was one of my goals ever since I turned pro. After Tiger became the host, that goal became a lot bigger.”

Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion, earned his ninth career PGA Tour victory at Riviera, thus becoming the winningest Asian-born player in tour history. He previously sat in a tie with South Korea’s K.J. Choi.

“Reaching nine wins and passing K.J. Choi was one of my big goals,” Matsuyama explained.

“After my eighth win, I’ve been struggling with my back injury. There were a lot of times when I felt I was never going to win again. I struggled to reach the top 10, but I’m really happy that I was able to win today.”

Sunday was a special day for Matsuyama, who has had to overcome so much adversity over the past two years because of lingering back and neck injuries.

Woods knows all about injuries, too, and considering his esteemed resume, for him to call Matsuyama’s win “truly special” carries significant weight—perhaps more so than any other compliment in golf.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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