Tiger Woods details “frustrating” reason for Genesis Invitational struggles

Tiger Woods has dominated numerous courses throughout his renowned career. Torrey Pines in San Diego, Bay Hill in Orlando, and Firestone in Ohio all come to mind, but one iconic venue has stumped Woods for over three decades.

That would be Riviera Country Club, the site of this week’s Genesis Invitational.

Woods has never conquered Riviera, the course known as “Hogan’s Alley.” Funny enough, Jack Nicklaus never did either, but plenty of other legends have, like Ben Hogan, who won his first U.S. Open there in 1948. That marked Hogan’s third victory at Riviera in less than 18 months, hence the nickname.

Alas, Woods’ best performance at Riviera came in 1999, when he finished two strokes behind Ernie Els in what was then called the Nissan Open.

Since then, he has played in this tournament 10 times, finishing no better than fifth.

But after all these years, Woods revealed why he has struggled to conquer Hogan’s Alley on Wednesday.

“I have traditionally not putted well here,” Woods said.

Tiger Woods, PGA Tour, The Genesis Invitational

Tiger Woods stands next to new caddie Lance Bennett ahead of the 2024 Genesis Invitational.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images

“[Riviera] 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 on this course. Generally, they’re bumpy poa, so it’s been a little bit tricky.”

Since 2018, Woods has played in the Genesis Invitational on four occasions. His best finish came in 2019, when he tied for 15th. But during these four events, Woods has lost a preposterous 7.021 strokes on the greens.

His worst performance came in 2020, when Woods finished dead last. He lost over eight strokes to the field putting that week.

“It is frustrating in the sense that this golf course has been very comfortable visually to me,” Woods added.

“For some reason, I just haven’t put it together at this event other than one time with a chance. It just hasn’t happened. Hopefully, it will be this week.”

If Woods wants to contend at the Genesis Invitational this week, his putter must catch on fire.

He needs plenty of bounces to go his way, too, including his body’s ability to withstand the elevation changes that Riviera offers.

Tiger Woods, Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills, The Genesis Invitational

Tiger Woods played in Wednesday’s Pro-Am with Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images

Of course, after the Genesis Invitational three years ago, Woods was in a single-car accident that resulted in multiple fractures in his leg. He almost had to have his leg amputated, too.

“Do I feel it physically? Yeah, I do… each and every day,” Woods said of the accident.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of having surgeries and rehab. But I’m excited about this week, and I’m excited about competing and playing.”

Woods had surgery on his ankle last April, as doctors fused it together. He also has a fused back.

“My ankle doesn’t hurt anymore because no bones are rubbing [against it] anymore. But then again, it’s different,” Woods explained.

“Other parts of my body have to take the brunt of it. Just like my back is fused, so other parts of my body have taken the brunt of that. I have two different body parts that are now fused.”

Despite these injuries, the 15-time major champion is excited to compete on the PGA Tour again. He even believes he can win.

But for him to get that illusive, record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour victory at Riviera, he will need his putter to cooperate.

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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