Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Tiger to Play in This Year's Genesis Open

Elusive Riviera Awaits

 

January 17, 2019

Mention Tiger and they will come. Tiger Woods has committed to playing in the 2019 Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club, February 14-17. Tiger has already committed to playing in next week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, San Diego. The real winners are the legion of SoCal golfing fans that still flock to catch a glimpse of the PGA Tour's 14-time Major champion.

Just a few days earlier, the world's 4th ranked golfer, Justin Thomas, also committed to playing in the 2019 Genesis Open, a tournament he's played in for the past four years. His best finish at Riviera was last year when he tied for 9th at -7. The 2017 PGA Championship winner was the top-ranked golfer midway through last season. He has nine PGA Tour wins.

I'm looking forward to being back in Los Angeles for the Genesis Open," said Woods. "It's always great to be able to play at Riviera and I am very proud of the impact the Genesis Open has been able to make on education through my foundation."

Underrepresented students are also a winner. Tiger's TGR Foundation is a major benefactor of the event with the proceeds supporting student development, STEM and college-access programs in Southern California. The foundation offers students support and resources instrumental in contributing to their potential and future success.

Despite the hoopla, Tiger has yet to win the Genesis Open (previously the Nissan Open when he competed the first time as a 16-year old amateur) He never played at Riviera when the tournament was known as the Northern Trust Open starting in 2008. Luxury auto manufacturer Genesis partnered with Tiger's company, TGR Live, starting in 2017.

Tiger's track record at Riviera nestled in Santa Monica Canyon is a mixed bag. He missed the cut the first two times he entered, albeit as an amateur in 1992 and 1993. He finished 3-under and tied for 20th in 1997. It was his first go as a professional at the classic course designed by George C. Thomas, Jr. and William P. Bell and debuted in 1926.

He had his best finish in 1998 when he finished 2nd, losing in a playoff to Billy Mayfair. That year the tournament was held at the Valencia Country Club due to Riviera hosting the U.S. Senior Open. Back to Riviera in 1999, he finished tied for 2nd with Davis Love III and Ted Tryba, two strokes behind winner Ernie Els.

The following seven times he literally was fit to be tied: finishing tied for 18th, tied for 13th, tied for 5th, tied for 7th, tied for 13th, missed cut and missed cut. He also played last year for the first time since 2007, after coming back from major physical health issues that threatened his career... and he missed the cut. Rather remarkable is that he's now missed the cut the last three times he's tackled Riviera, the track that gave him his start.

Without a doubt, this is one tournament outside of the Majors that Tiger truly yearns for. Both born and raised in Southern California, it seemed a match made in heaven. The Spanish revival Clubhouse that sits high above the siren course with the Pacific breeze blowing offshore still waits to call his name.

 

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