Tiger Woods’ opening act to playing professional golf began on a historic stage in the shadow of Hollywood in 1992.
Act III of his latest comeback begins in the same theatre starting Thursday.
Riviera Country Club, where legends such as Hogan, Nelson, Snead, Watson, Faldo and Mickelson were all victorious, is the California setting for the Genesis Open and Woods’ continued return to facing the best players in the world.
It was at Riviera where Woods made his pro debut as a sophomore in high school 26 years ago. Playing as an amateur, he missed the cut but left with a wealth of knowledge he’d tap into as he pursued his dream to play as a pro.
The winner of 79 PGA Tour titles and 14 majors is still learning ahead of his first start at Riviera since 2006. After spinal fusion surgery to his troublesome back last April, Woods continued to educate himself on what he can and cannot do with his new body. He learned a bit when he tied for ninth in the unofficial Hero World Challenge in December and learned a tad more last month when he finished tied for 23rd in the Farmers Insurance Open, his first start on the PGA Tour in a year.
“Eventually I’d like to win tournaments,” Woods, now 42, said in a press conference Tuesday after a nine-hole practice round with Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau. “I am trying to get through that process to get to that point. I’m making small, subtle changes in my posture and my swing because I’m starting 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…